Edmond mayoral candidate withdraws from race
EDMOND — Mayor candidate Saundra Naifeh pulled out of the April 4 Edmond mayoral race Tuesday, but her name will remain on the ballot.
Naifeh, a former Edmond mayor, was challenging incumbent Mayor Charles Lamb for a two-year term overseeing the five-member council.
"I thank you for your support," Naifeh, 67, wrote in a news release thanking her supporters. She said it was a difficult decision, "but best for my family."
“After a great deal of thought and discussion with my husband, I am withdrawing my candidacy for mayor," Naifeh stated. "Our family has had a difficult year with the loss of our son.
“While I continue to be passionate about the people of Edmond and the future of our great city, I have come to realize that the stress and time commitment of running a campaign is more than we can undertake at this time.
"My husband and family need me beside them and that is where my heart knows it needs to be. I have decided to end my campaign for mayor so that we can spend more time to focus on our healing," Naifeh said.
Naifeh said she plans to return all campaign funds to her contributors.
"My commitment to beautification and love for the city of Edmond will never change and I look forward to continuing to work for the future of Edmond as time allows," she said.
Lamb, 70, and Naifeh were the only candidates in the race.
Oklahoma County Election Board Secretary Doug Sanderson said it is too late for Naifeh to officially withdraw from the race, so her name will be on the April 4 ballot.
The latest she could have withdrawn from the race was 5 p.m. Feb. 17, following the Feb. 14 general election, Sanderson said.
"We will hold the election and certify the results," Sanderson said. "Others can do as they wish."
Lamb said he is not sure whether to continue campaigning.
"I have never been in a position like this before," he said. "It is another new experience."
Lamb said he received a telephone call Tuesday morning from Naifeh.
"I think she is doing what is best for her family," Lamb said. "I wish her well.
"Saundra and I have been friends for 40-plus years and she was the mayor I served the longest with. I know she champions Edmond and has been a builder of many great things in our community. I look forward to working with her more in the future."
Lamb was appointed mayor in 2011 to fill the unexpired term of resigning Mayor Patrice Douglas. In 2013, he was elected to a full two-year term. This is Lamb's ninth time to seek city office. He formerly was Ward 3 councilman.
Naifeh, a local executive and community volunteer, was mayor from 2001 to 2007, serving three two-year terms.