Geronimo mayoral race decided two days after election - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Geronimo mayoral race decided two days after election

(Source: KSWO) (Source: KSWO)

GERONIMO, OK (KSWO) - After two days of confusion, Katherine Rice is the mayor-elect of Geronimo.

Rice won Tuesday's contest with 46% of the vote, but since neither she nor the other candidates received the required 50%, there was uncertainty in declaring a winner.

After talking to the state election board and the city’s attorney about a runoff, which they said wasn't allowed because it was a special nonpartisan election, 7NEWS called Rice to get an interview about the winning the race.

To our surprise, she hadn't been notified by anyone in Geronimo or the city attorney that she had won the race.

"It was a roller coaster of emotions," she said.

Rice assumed she would know if she was elected mayor on Tuesday, but that wasn't the case.

"After that celebration of ‘Oh my gosh I actually got the top vote.’ We were kinda disappointed because we didn't know what happens next,” she said. “And people were asking ‘Are you mayor now?’ Is there a runoff?’"

City Attorney Grant Shepherd said he was called by council members who asked the same question.

"There is nothing within the city ordinances, within the City of Geronimo that you have to have a majority vote to become mayor we decided that a runoff wasn't necessary or required here," he said.

Shepherd said that decision did not come easy;  he spent two days pouring through law books and city ordinances. 

"It required us to do a little digging and make sure we followed all the proper channels," Shepherd said. “Based on what we discovered, it seems like majority ruled here or winner-take-all for Mrs. Rice."

Once the confusion was over, Rice said she was able to breathe a sigh of relief. 

She said she couldn't have won without the residents of Geronimo.

"Thank you for all of your support,” Rice said. “Thank you for believing in me, and for trusting me, and for granting me this honor of serving you. I will do my best to not let you down. And if I do, feel free to criticize me. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So I welcome any criticism and suggestions."

Rice will be sworn in at the next City Council Meeting on December 7th.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved.

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