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Businessman Brent VanNorman enters Tulsa mayoral race

Businessman Brent VanNorman announces his mayoral campaign at the Tulsa Country Club on May 30, 2024.
Ben Abrams
Businessman Brent VanNorman announces his mayoral campaign at the Tulsa Country Club on May 30, 2024.

The Michigan-raised investment executive grabbed a high-profile endorsement and is now the second Republican candidate in the race following a city councilor's withdrawal.

Tulsans will see another name on their ballots this August.

At the Tulsa Country Club Thursday night, businessman Brent VanNorman announced his mayoral bid.

VanNorman is now the second Republican candidate in the contest after City Councilor Jayme Fowler withdrew his bid last week. He faces fellow GOP hopeful Casey Bradford as well as Democratic challengers Karen Keith and Monroe Nichols.

VanNorman kicked off his campaign with an endorsement from Former Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor.

"He knows how to responsibly prioritize large budgets and serve others with honor," O'Connor said.

Hailing from Michigan, VanNorman said he moved to Tulsa to be closer to his son, who began attending Oral Roberts University in 2008.

VanNorman is President of TriLinc Global, an investment company based in Manhattan Beach, California. He said he's a CPA, attorney and former pastor.

In terms of policy goals, VanNorman said he wants to prioritize attracting businesses to the city, addressing crime, bolstering the police force and tackling homelessness.

He floated a marketing plan to recruit officers from other cities.

"What I would like to do is have a public relations campaign where we go to those cities that are defunding the police and we recruit their best and brightest and we bring them to Tulsa," he said.

Calls to "defund the police" came during nation-wide protests in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd in 2020, though many U.S. cities have not made budget cuts to their police departments.

VanNorman said he wants to focus on widespread mental health issues to tackle homelessness, saying that "homelessness is not primarily a housing issue."

In early May, VanNorman filed paperwork to run for City Council District 2, but said was convinced to end that bid and instead run for mayor.

VanNorman said he’s confident his late entrance into the mayoral race won’t hurt his chances.

"Getting name recognition out there— there’s plenty of time for that," he said.

Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.