Oklahoma Voters Reject White Supremacy
Photo Credit: The National Guard

Oklahoma Voters Reject White Supremacy

Judd Blevins ran for City Council in Enid, Oklahoma. Problem is he participated in a rally gathering Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

Judd Blevins is a veteran of the Iraq War. He performed manual labor in Tulsa before returning home to Enid, OK, to take over his father’s roofing business. Blevins proclaims himself to be a man of God, and when running for the city council in Enid, he touted the city as a place where “traditional values” remained the norm.

Election day was February 14, 2023, coincidentally on Valentine’s Day—two weeks before the vote at a campaign event. Two elderly white women hoped to ask Blevens a question while he was on stage but didn’t get the chance. They approached him afterward with an enlarged photo of himself participating in the “Unite the Right” rally, a gathering of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in 2017 in Charlottesville, VA. Connie Vickers recognized Blevins in an Internet photo and confronted Blevins immediately after the rally with her friend, Nancy Presnall. Blevins’s campaign manager whisked him away.

“He ran away from two little old ladies,” said Presnall.

The association of Judd Blevins with white nationalists didn’t immediately register in Enid, a town of about 50,000 people. The 1980 census reported Enid as 90% white; by 2020, that number had fallen to less than 75%. Like the rest of America, Enid is becoming more diverse. A month before the election, Enid News & Eagle published a news story documenting Blevins’ ties to a white nationalist organization known as Identity Evropa/American IdentityMovement. The newspaper reported the research on Blevins done in 2019 by Right Wing Watch, which operates under People for the American WayThe article documented photos of Blevins and social media posts he made under a pseudonym about his participation in the Aug. 12, 2017, Unite the Right rally where marchers chanted, “Jews will not replace us!” Blevins labeled the article a hit piece and was elected anyway with 422 votes over his opponent’s 386 votes.

A known white supremacist on the City Council didn’t sit well with the community. Not that his voting record distinguished him from other council members. He was giving the town a bad name. People seem to dislike being called racist more than the perpetuation of racism. It didn’t help that white supremacist groups publicly took pride in Blevins’s position as one of their own. In social media posts under a fake name, Blevins encouraged other white supremacists to run for lower offices where they could "fly under the radar."

Related: The White Supremacy Handbook Has Been Updated

Ultimately, enough signatures were obtained in Enid to require a recall election to determine if Blevins would serve out his term. Blevins got immediate support from Wade Burleson, the retired pastor of Enid’s largest church and the former head of Southern Baptists of Oklahoma. He said attempts to unseat Blevins are a “race-bait trap,” an attempt by “communists” and the “mainstream media” to “divide the world over race.”

The organizers of Unite the Right publicly supported Blevins, along with the racist website American Renaissance and the skinhead group the American Freedom Party, who posted, “Join us to run for office under a pro-White banner today!” The recall election became as simple as either being for white supremacy or against it.

In a private meeting with the city manager and city attorney. Blevins acknowledged it was he in the photos showing himself carrying a tiki torch and marching with the white supremacists. Blevins admitted having posted the text messages attributed to him. He refused to answer when asked if he was still associated with the groups in question, which the city attorney took as a yes.

Related: White Supremacist Recruiters Can't Resist A Place Called Whitestown

The recall election was held on April 2, 2024. With a turnout of just under 1,400 citizens, Blevins lost by 268 votes, almost a 20% margin. Supporters of the winner, Republican Cheryl Patterson, declared the vote a “win over racism” and a return to normalcy. But was it?

Over one in three voters were for the white supremacist. Perhaps in 2023, they didn’t know, but this time, it was unavoidable. Enid citizens are hopeful that shortly, Google searches will turn up something other than their white supremacist councilman as the first several items. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce can promote the good news, “Enid, Oklahoma, only 40% racist.” We still have a long way to go before achieving a post-racial America. It’s a low bar to proclaim victory after a racist fails to get reelected.

This post originally appeared on Medium and is edited and republished with author's permission. Read more of William Spivey's work on Medium. And if you dig his words, buy the man a coffee.