TULSA - Former mayoral candidate Bill Christiansen spoke publicly Thursday about the mayors race.
The former Tulsa city councilor says he will not endorse either candidate for the position, at least not yet.
Christiansen said Bartlett isn't a real Republican conservative, he's often absent and not transparent.
"I'm a real conservative, and Dewey Bartlett is not," he said. "He is a tax-and-spend liberal, he has supported a permanent new tax increase and proposed the largest levels in city spending in our history and he has worked to grow government and the bureaucracy."
In the course of Christiansen's comments, he referred to the current mayor as a RINO, a "Republican In Name Only."
Christiansen added Bartlett took shots at his wife during the campaign and said since the primary the mayor has repeatedly asked for an endorsement.
On the other hand, Christiansen said he's also not prepared to endorse former Mayor Kathy Taylor and he may never make an endorsement.
Taylor released a statement Thursday in response to Christiansen's announcement. Read the full statement below:
Former Mayor Kathy Taylor responded today to an announcement by former candidate and City Councilor Bill Christiansen that he does not endorse Mayor Dewey Bartlett for re-election.
"Earlier this year I joined former Councilor Christiansen in this race because we both believe Tulsa needs leadership," said Taylor. "Through the years we have agreed on core principals such as the need for an accountable and open government. Bill and I also agree with some two-thirds of voters in the last election who voted for a new mayor"
Christiansen and Taylor cite a lack of accountability and transparency at city hall as illustrated by the failed green waste program and the ensuing cover-up and deception as reasons to change leadership at city hall.
"We must be able to trust our government and currently that trust is fading with every revelation – like suddenly withholding 911 tapes and more than a month's delay to answer requests for Open Records," said Taylor. "Tulsans have the right to ask questions of our government and we have the right to information."
As a former City Councilor, Christian and then-Mayor Taylor partnered on many projects including developing the Fix Our Streets package in 2008.
"Councilor Christiansen knows that I managed the budget conservatively, protected the reserve fund for emergency needs, prioritized core city services, identified ways to cut costs and inefficiencies and protected public safety," said Taylor.
"Citizens understand this race is about accountability in the Mayor's Office. They want a leader in City Hall who will get back to the basics and make it clear that redundancy, lack of communication, and wasting time and tax dollars, won't be tolerated."
"I admire anyone willing to put his or her name on a ballot especially when a candidate must withstand the type of vicious, negative personal attacks like Bartlett made against Christiansen in the first election this summer."
When asked if Christiansen's announcement today changes the face of the campaign, Taylor replied, "It further validates the same issues that I've heard from Tulsans – that Mayor Bartlett is careless with taxpayer dollars and he refuses to be accountable or open with citizens about their government."
Taylor says her campaign platform remains the same after today's announcement.
"Again, the last election proved some two-thirds of Tulsans want a different mayor. They want a hands-on leader who is focused on getting back to the basics, reducing crime, improving education and growing jobs," said Taylor.