As the candidates for Tulsa County Sheriff have jockeyed for position heading into March 1’s primary election, they — to varying degrees — have relied on social media to help get the word out.

There’s an old journalism saying that goes something like this: If no one is particularly happy with you, you’re probably being fair to everyone.

In that vein, let me point you to a story I wrote last week detailing how much money was being raised (and spent) by the various Tulsa County Sheriff candidates.

It’s always interesting when covering politics to see where the money is going, but in this case it was doubly so. Whoever becomes the next sheriff will only officially hold that title for a few short months before having to file to run again for the full four-year term. Is incumbency really worth thousands of dollars?

It appears the answer to that is unequivocally yes. More than $200,000 was reported as being raised by the eight candidates who filed reports (most of that by Tulsa Police Department Sgt. Vic Regalado.)

When my story ran, it raised some hackles. For instance, some candidates were upset that our story seemed to be equating money raised with being a favorite in the election. On the other hand, the discovery that Regalado had far outpaced his competitors in donations made him a public target of several other candidates.

In the end, do we know more now than we did before those documents were filed?Probably. Is the man with the most money king? It’s not as simple as that, but it is a fact that money buys exposure — more signs, more commercials, etc. — and in a primary election where the campaigns expect only about 80,000 votes to be cast, that type of publicity is incredibly valuable.

“Who is going to win?” the primary election is something I’m asked just about every day. Part of that is my fault, because I’ve allowed the race to basically consume my work life. But part of that is just out of general interest from the public in who the next sheriff is going to be.

So, who is going to win?

I have no idea. I’ve asked around and have yet to find any type of trustworthy polling being done, so looking at money raised seems to be a fair, if unscientific, way to gauge public support.

Which brings me to the point of this blog. If we’re looking at one unscientific register of public support, why not look at another?

So let’s see which candidate is winning the social media game.

For the most part, the men seeking the republican nomination have focused on Facebook as their platform of choice, though several have Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Most candidates have focused on Facebook, receiving much more interaction there than on any other social media platform.

The benefits of a social media campaign are obvious. Not every candidate can spend $80,000 on commercials, but with just a few simple clicks, their message can potentially be seen by thousands of people, all at far less cost.

Now, is there any bang for that thriftier buck? I guess we’ll find out March 1.

  • Instagram
    Vic Regalado/323
    John Fitzpatrick/114
    Brandon Hendrix/72
    Tom Helm/40
    (Jason Jackson, Dan Miller, Bill Reaves, and Luke Sherman do not have Instagram pages. Randy Pierce has 194 followers on his page, but has posted no pictures.)