John Tyler Hammons (born September 4, 1988) is an American politician who served as the 47th Mayor of Muskogee, Oklahoma from 2008 to 2012. He gained national attention when he was elected on May 13, 2008, as a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma, after winning 70 percent of the vote in a runoff election against 70-year-old, three-time former Muskogee mayor Herschel McBride. Hammons was reelected on April 6, 2010, in a four-way race.
John Tyler Hammons
|47th Mayor of Muskogee|
May 19, 2008 – February 20, 2012
|Preceded by||Wren Stratton|
|Succeeded by||Bob Coburn|
|Born||4 September 1988|
Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA
|Spouse(s)||Courtney Elizabeth Hammons|
|Alma mater||University of Oklahoma|
|Occupation||City Attorney of Checotah, Oklahoma|
First elected at the age of 19, Hammons was among the youngest mayors in United States history. After serving two terms, Hammons, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, commenced studies in summer 2012 at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. Hammons served as assistant attorney general for the Cherokee Nation from 2015 to 2017 and was appointed city attorney of Checotah, Oklahoma in January 2019.
Life and educationEdit
John Tyler Hammons was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma on September 4, 1988 and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. Hammons graduated from Muskogee High School in 2007. Before beginning his senior year, Hammons was a delegate to the Oklahoma Boys State. During his senior year, Hammons was his high school's student body president and was president of both the Young Republicans and Young Democrats at Muskogee High School.
After graduating, Hammons attended the University of Oklahoma for his freshman year of college. He transferred to Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in the fall of 2008. In 2010, Hammons enrolled at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, where he graduated in 2012. Hammons later graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, and passed the Oklahoma Bar Examination in July 2015.
Hammons declared his candidacy for mayor of Muskogee on January 29 and filed for office on February 5. By the end of the filing date, Hammons was one of six candidates vying to be mayor, including a former Muskogee mayor and a former city councilor. On election night on April 1, Hammons won the popular vote by coming in first place with 42% of the vote. Herschel McBride came in second place with 38% of the vote. The remaining 20% was divided among the four other candidates. With the general election failing to deliver a candidate with an absolute majority, the Muskogee City Charter required Hammons and McBride to face one another in a run-off election to determine who would serve as mayor. Vote tallies showed Hammons carried the east side of Muskogee while McBride carried the west side. At the May 13 run-off election, Hammons had captured 70% of the vote, winning the largest popular vote total of any candidate in Muskogee history and the largest margin of victory in Muskogee County history. The election was the largest shakeup in the city government since 1952. On May 19, 2008, Hammons was sworn in as 47th (and youngest) Mayor of the City of Muskogee.
At a press conference held on November 30, 2009, at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, Hammons announced that he would seek a second term as mayor of Muskogee. Hammons drew three opponents: local businessman and cousin of sitting US Senator Tom Coburn Bob Coburn, local travel agent Chris James, and local volunteer Teresa Garris. On election day, April 6, 2010, Hammons handily won reelection to a second two-year term, receiving just over 51% of the vote in the four-way race, defeating his nearest opponent by 20 percentage points. In the election, Hammons carried 17 of the City's 18 voting precincts.
On November 3, 2011, Hammons announced his plans to step down at the end of his second term, decided to attend the University of Oklahoma College of Law rather than seek a third term in office. As one of his last acts, Hammons changed Muskogee's decades old electoral system from one in which all City Council members are elected by the city at-large to one where each member is elected only by the voters in the electoral district they represent. In his farewell address in February 2012, Hammons, calling Muskogee a "shining city on the hill", listed enacting permanent funding for economic development, road improvements, and tourism promotion as his top achievements while in office. Councilman Bob Coburn, Hammons' 2010 challenger, was elected to succeed him in office.
2008 presidential electionEdit
Hammons endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani early in the 2008 Republican presidential primaries. When Giuliani withdrew from the race, Hammons endorsed Arizona Senator John McCain. Hammons was also Oklahoma's youngest at-large delegate to the 2008 Republican National Convention. While at the RNC, on his 20th birthday and the final day of the RNC, Hammons had the opportunity to meet Giuliani.
- Hammons appeared on Fox TV's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, on October 24, 2008, winning $25,000 for his charity after missing the following question: "What is the name of the first American woman to travel to outer space?". Unsure of the correct answer, he "copied" the 5th grader's answer, which was wrong.
- Hammons was the opening joke for Bill Engvall's 2009 album "Aged and Confused".
- The magazine Cosmopolitan named Hammons as one of seven sexy young politicians in January, 2010.
- Associated Press (2008-05-14). "College Student, 19, Elected Mayor of Oklahoma City of 38,000". Fox News.
- Muskogee Phoenix Staff (2010-04-06). "Hammons wins re-election". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- The Oklahoman (2008-05-17). "19-year-old mayor puts Muskogee on the map". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- "Hammons sets his law school schedule". Muskogee Phoenix. March 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-17.
- Brooks, Kenton (January 19, 2019). "Hammons chosen as Checotah city attorney". Muskogee Phoenix. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
- Murphy, Sean (May 16, 2008). "Muskogee, Okla., teen ready for mayoral challenge". Fox News. Associated Press. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
- Friedman, Emily (2008-05-15). "Teen Mayor Talks Politics, Roommate". ABC News.
- Oklahoma Board of Bar Examiners (2015-06-27). "Applications for July 2015 Oklahoma Bar Exam." Oklahoma Bar Journal vol. 86 no. 17, p. 1335.
- "July 2015 Oklahoma Bar Exam Results". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-02-06). "Three more file to run for mayor". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-04-02). "Mayor's race down to two". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-05-14). "Youth trumps experience: 19-year old wins mayoral race". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Smoot, D. E. (2008-05-18). "New faces to be sworn in". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- McMahan, Liz (2009-11-30). "Hammons: I'll run for 2nd term". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Spaulding, Cathy (2010-04-07). "Mayor stays, the rest go". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Slipke, Darla (2010-04-07). "Win surprises young Muskogee mayor". Daily Oklahoman.
- Smoot, D.E. (2011-11-03). "Mayor won't seek new term". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D.E. (2011-11-15). "Council OKs ballot measures". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Smoot, D.E. (2012-02-14). "Fond Farewell". Muskogee Phoenix.
- Associated Press (2008-05-21). "Muskogee's teen mayor". NBC News.
- McMahan, Liz (2008-12-17). "Woman plans to witness historic moment". Muskogee Phoenix. Archived from the original on 2013-01-29.
- Womble, Ashley (2010-01-29). "7 More Politicians We'd Like to See Shirtless". Cosmopolitan.