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Ex-mayor defeats dead incumbent in Oklahoma election

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — A former mayor of the Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond on Tuesday defeated a candidate who died in December but who still advanced to the general election following a Facebook campaign supporting him.

Former Mayor Dan O'Neil defeated the late Mayor Charles Lamb, according to unofficial results posted by the Oklahoma State Election Board. O'Neil, who had called the mayoral race "awkward," won 67% of the vote to Lamb's 33%.

"It's been an intriguing and fun campaign," O'Neil said days before the election. "I think everybody understands what's going on." Lamb came in second to O'Neil in a three-candidate primary in February. The city charter calls for the top two vote-getters in a race of more than two candidates to advance to a general election, regardless of the vote totals in the primary, said city spokesman Casey Moore.

If Lamb had won Tuesday, the City Council would have appointed a mayor. Edmond resident Michelle Schaefer started the #Voteforcharles Facebook campaign, and campaign signs for Lamb remained in place in the city of nearly 92,000.

Schaefer did not immediately return a phone call for comment Tuesday and previously referred questions to City Councilman Nick Massey, who Schaefer said she hoped would be appointed mayor by the City Council in the event that Lamb won.

Massey had said he would be "honored" to accept the appointment, but he did not campaign for people to vote for Lamb. Instead, he said he would "let the citizens do what they think is right." When Lamb died it was too late to remove his name from the ballot or to add anyone else, according to Moore.

Carolyn Hines, 76, said she would have voted for Lamb had he not died, but instead cast her ballot for O'Neil. "I don't like that feeling of uncertainty in letting the council choose the mayor. I just was not comfortable with that," Hines said.

O'Neil served one term as mayor from 2007 to 2009 before losing re-election to former Mayor Patrice Douglas. Douglas resigned in 2011 after being appointed to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and the City Council appointed Lamb, at the time a city councilman, to the remainder of the term that ended in 2013.

Lamb was elected three subsequent times to the two-year post.

Associated Press writer Terry Wallace in Dallas contributed to this report.

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