by Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY, Tuesday, April 5 – The sound of crickets enjoying the approach of spring may be louder than the voices of voters coming and going at polling sites for today’s county-wide elections in Oklahoma City and the surrounding jurisdictions that make up Oklahoma County.
A county-wide race?
The election results from the resignation of incumbent Court Clerk Tim Rhodes, who left the post to assume to become director of administration at the statewide Corporation Commission. As The Oklahoman’s William Crum reported in December, “The court clerk’s primary responsibility is maintaining court documents and collecting as much as $70 million a year in costs, fees and fines.”. The nominees for the two parties were chosen on Super Tuesday (March 1).
That election saw more activity on the Republican side. Warren gained less than 50 percent over Linda Amick Dodson. In fact, only 709 votes separated the main competitors.
Warren, who owns a real estate construction company, snagged 45.87 percent, while Dodson, who has served as deputy court clerk, garnered 44.95 percent. A third candidate, attorney Owen Garretson, had the balance, 9.18 percent. Although 76,786 people voted, Warren’s plurality would normally have triggered a runoff.
However, under special election provisions, Warren’s plurality was sufficient for the GOP nod. (If the race had been on a regular general election cycle, a runoff would have resulted.)
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Anastasia Pittman edged former state Rep. Charles Gray for the nomination. That race was low-key, with only scattered distinguishing issues. In the end, Pittman prevailed roughly 2-1 over Gray. The final tally was 66.34 percent for the victor, and 33.66 percent for her foe.
In that primary, a total of 63,760 people voted.
Saying the turnout is low for the special general election is an understatement:
At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning (April 5), only five people had voted at the precinct located at the Nazarene Church, just north of Crown Heights. At the Santa Fe Family Life Center, no one had voted as of that hour. Unless things pick up for today’s ‘general’ election, the winner could prevail with a few hundred votes.
The polls are open through 7 p.m. Tuesday.