By Tonya Little
Of the three Democratic candidates running for the State House District 95 seat, there were two watch parties happening in Midwest City Tuesday night across town from one another.
David Williams and his friends and family gathered to watch the votes come in at the new Bricktown Brewery on 29th Street, while Kelly Albright and her party watched it unfold at S&B Burgers on Douglas. Both events were filled with optimism, laughter and encouragement as supporters surrounded their candidate in hopeful anticipation.
Albright’s evening ended with celebration as she locked up the Democratic nomination with more than 70 percent of the vote. She finished with 2,531 votes to Williams’ 699. Anthony Vandyousefi was third with 339.
District 95 voters will return to the polls Nov. 6 for the general election. Albright will face Republican Jack Beal Jr. and independents Paul Brewbaker and Rashard Bickham.
The seat is currently held by Roger Ford, R-Oklahoma City, who chose not to seek re-election after one term in office.
Albright, a 3rd grade teacher at Dove Science Academy said she decided to run after being frustrated with the inaction of the legislature during the teacher walkout.
“A lot of people were feeling really defeated after the walkout and I thought, I’m not done. I thought if I can deal with angry parents at Parent Teacher conferences, then I can probably handle dealing with other angry adults and constituents,” said Albright. “I just felt like I have the skills of a teacher and a parent and I have the perspective to help inspire a spark for a change, and that’s what I am going to do.”
Williams, an attorney who has lived in Oklahoma for the last 20 years said he’s always wanted to be involved with helping families and children, and running for the legislature seemed like a good way to do that.
“I wanted to run for a while. I already had developed a budget plan, I already had things that I wanted to tackle that I had seen, things that I had already mapped out that I wanted to accomplish, so we just jumped in and started doing it,” said Williams.
Vandyousefi, whose primary goal is to get back to grass roots politics, was also running for seat 95.
“I entered this race because I was tired of the status quo. Tired of the individuals who go into this field to become career politicians. These are the same individuals who we currently have representing us. The same people who vote based off the lobbyists and PAC’s that buy their election,” said Vandyousefi on a Facebook post to his campaign page.
The numbers started trickling in at about 7:30 p.m. and continued to do so for the next couple of hours. After 9 of the 11 precincts reported with Vandyousefi having 9 percent, Williams having 19 percent and Albright having 71 percent, it seemed to be a landslide.
“We worked hard and knocked on close to 4,000 doors, I knocked about 2,800-3,000 of those myself. We did a lot of work to get out and meet people. We led an honest campaign with integrity, and we can be proud of that,” said Williams.
Across town Albright served cake in celebration to her watch party attendees.
“It’s really exciting. I felt like a lot of people were really behind me, but it’s always a question at the polls. I was nervous but I’m really happy that people are behind the teacher movement and education and all the things that were my platforms,” said Albright. “I guess it shows what spoke to the people more. I connected with the people really well. Most people know a teacher or have a teacher in their family, so I think it makes me really relatable and really trustworthy, so I think that’s really something people can get on board with.”
Next the Albright family have a little R&R planned to recover from this first leg of the process.
“We’re going to go on a little vacation and then back to the doors on Monday. I have quite a race cut out for me now with a Republican, a Libertarian and an Independent candidate, so I’ve got to get to work,” said Albright.