OKC council candidate posts pro-Trump rhetoric; has never voted in a city election
Council candidate repeated election fraud claims
An Oklahoma City Council candidate acknowledged Friday he posted a #STOPTHESTEAL2020 graphic on social media referencing Donald Trump's unfounded presidential election fraud claims and warning "this will be handled."
Joshua Debolt also acknowledged he has never voted in a municipal election, including the 2017 race for the Ward 1 seat he is seeking.
Debolt said the graphic was one he found elsewhere and copied onto his Facebook page in November. He said he thought at the time the president's fraud claims deserved to be investigated.
However, the graphic ominously read, "This will not be allowed to happen. One way or another, this will be handled."
It included hashtags reading #PB, #Activate, #AmericaFirst and #Trump2020. Asked whether #PB referred to an extremist organization like Proud Boys, Debolt said he thought it meant "Patriots and Brothers."
He said he now agrees the Nov. 3 presidential election was free and fair and President-elect Biden was the winner. He said he disagreed with last week's assault on the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.
Debolt, 37, co-founded with his brother the Edmond marketing, advertising, and brand development firm Sociallutions Media Group in 2013. According to the firm's website, clients include Bob Moore Auto Group and HeyDay Entertainment.
- Related to this story
- Article: Oklahoma members head to safety as Capitol is mobbed
- Article: Manufacturers group calls for Pence to invoke 25th Amendment removing Trump from power
- Article: Pro-Trump rally in OKC has much different feel than Washington, D.C.
- Article: Opinion: A sad spectacle at the U.S. Capitol
- Article: 'Violence never wins': Congress reconvenes to continue Electoral College count after pro-Trump riot at Capitol
- Article: Inhofe describes chaos as Trump rioters mobbed Capitol
- Article: Sen. Jim Inhofe says Mike Pence told him he was hurt that Trump turned on him
- Article: After riot, most Oklahoma lawmakers still vote to reject two states' electoral votes
- Article: US Capitol quiet after night of unprecedented assault: 4 dead, 52 arrested, FBI seeking information
- Article: Amid recriminations, Lankford, Bice say they weren't trying to overturn Biden's election
- Article: President Trump won't attend Joe Biden's inauguration
- Article: Rep. Tom Cole: Impeachment of Trump would mean more national trauma
- Article: Trump bears some responsibility for encouraging mob, Oklahoma lawmakers say
- Article: How Oklahoma teachers talked about the Capitol riot with students
- Article: Futile effort to help Trump may help shape some lawmakers' legacies
- Article: Chris Christie: Trump mob incitement an 'impeachable offense'
- Article: Republican blocks House from bringing up 25th Amendment bill, forcing vote
- Article: House passes measure calling on Pence to invoke 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office
- Article: Cole speaks against resolution urging Pence to invoke 25th Amendment
- Article: Pence refuses to invoke 25th Amendment
- Article: Rep. Tom Cole opposes impeachment of Trump, calls for healing
- Article: Inhofe withholds comment on House impeachment case, cites upcoming trial
- Article: Oklahoma legislators advised to avoid the Capitol this weekend due to possible protests
- Article: Donald Trump impeached for 'incitement' of mob attack on US Capitol
- Article: US Capitol siege has echoes of the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building
- Article: Skydance bridge in Oklahoma City glows red, white and blue, honoring inauguration
- Article: Watch Garth Brooks singing 'Amazing Grace' at President Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony
- Video: Pro-Trump rally in OKC had much different feel than Washington, D.C.
Debolt said he had been too busy with the business to pay attention to city government, or to vote.
While Debolt is a registered Republican, city council races are nonpartisan. The primary is Feb. 9.
To vote: Friday is the deadline to register to vote or update voter registration for the Feb. 9 city council primaries in Wards 1, 3 and 4. Contact county election boards including Oklahoma County at 713-1515.
The mayor's view
"We always oppose any preemption of local governments and their ability to serve and protect their residents."
— Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt, remarking on a legislative proposal by a Broken Arrow Republican to block cities and towns from adopting or enforcing local mask ordinances. Holt said city leaders "do not expect that proposal to advance."
Of note: Holt said on Twitter last week that the post-Christmas spike in new COVID-19 cases, while not a surprise, was troubling. Rising numbers of COVID-19 patients continue "to seriously stress our health-care system," he wrote. Friday's OKC emergency management office COVID-19 situation report listed 719 metro-area hospitalizations, up 43 from the day before.
Council will consider mask ordinance extension
A proposal to extend Oklahoma City's mask ordinance is expected to come up for a vote at the Jan. 19 city council meeting. Seven of the nine council members have consistently favored renewal of the ordinance since it was first adopted July 17. The ordinance requires masks to be worn indoors, in most public places. Without agreement on an extension, the ordinance would expire Jan. 22.
Worth noting: According to Oklahoma City's emergency management office, state statistics have shown slower rates of coronavirus spread in cities with mask ordinances.
The city council meets at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 19 at City Hall, 200 N Walker Ave. Find the agenda under the Government tab at okc.gov.
• The mayor's Law Enforcement Task Force meets at 1:30 p.m. Thursday. The meeting will be carried live on the city's YouTube channel.
The mayor and all eight city council members attended last week's meeting.
Staff writer William Crum. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter:@williamcrum. For civic news and more, subscribe at oklahoman.com.