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Enns gets Piedmont opponent, four seek state Senate seat

Lucas, Landford all draw opponents, Murphy, Morrissette square off in Corporation Commission race

Roger Pugh

Dist. 41 State Rep. John Enns, 49, (R-Enid), who represents all of the Piedmont-Surrey Hills area, Cashion, and rural eastern Piedmont and western Okarche, drew a Republican primary opponent when Jeremy Coleman, 27, of Piedmont filed for office last week. Enns is seeking his final term before being term limited.

Dist. 59 State Rep. Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher), whose represents Okarche and many residents between Okarche and Piedmont in a district that abuts Enns’ district, will serve another term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives after no other candidate filed to oppose him, during the statewide filing period which ended last Friday.

Sanders, 40, has been in the legislature since 2008.

Four candidates filed to replace term-limited Dist. 23 State Sen. Ron Justice(R-Chickasha) whose sprawling district includes Okarche runs to the west side of Piedmont.

Jumping into the Senate race to fill Justice’s seat were Republicans Matt Stacy, 36, of Blanchard, Lonnie Paxton, 47, Tuttle, and Kevin Crow, 48, Chickasha. They will meet in the June Primary election for the right to oppose Democrat Larry Wasson, 55, Chickasha in November.

More candidates filed for the state, federal and legislative offices up for election during the three-day 2016 candidate filing period that ended Friday than in any presidential year in recent history, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

A total of 417 candidates filed for office this week, a significant increase from the 275 candidates who filed in 2012 and the 296 who filed in 2008.

The highest number of candidates to file in a presidential year in recent history was in 2004, when 412 candidates filed. That was also the first year legislators were subject to term limits, which resulted in an unusually high number of offices with no incumbent candidate.

“We had record turnout in the Presidential Preferential Primary last month and a record number of candidate filings this month,” Ziriax said. “It’s exciting to see so much interest and enthusiasm in this election cycle.”

Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford, 48, Oklahoma City who is completing the unexpired term of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, drew six opponents during the statewide filing. Two Democrats, Steve Perry, 63, Oklahoma City, and Mike Workman 65, Tulsa, will meet in the June 28 primary election for the right to face Lankford, 48. The Libertarian Party will also have a primary to send a candidate into the November general election to try and unseat Lankford. Libertarians Dax Ewbank, 40, Guthrie, and Robert T. Murphy, 68 of Norman face off in that June party’s primary. Independents in the Senate race are Sean Braddy, 44, of Norman, and Mark T. Beard, 56, of Oklahoma City.

Incumbent Dist. Three U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, has a Repbulican Primary opponent, Desiree Brown, 32, of Hennessey. The winner of that primary takes on Frankie Robbins, 70, of Medford in the Nov. general election.

Democrat State Rep. Richard Morrissette, 59, of Oklahoma City, who has been critical of the Corporation Commission’s response to man-made earthquakes, is opposing Republican incumbent Dana Murphy, 56, Edmond. Neither candidate drew a primary opponent so they meet in the Nov. general election.

There are also contests stacking up in several other nearby legislative districts. In House Dist. 60 Democrats Dennis Purifoy, 64, Yukon, and Trey M. Gourley, 22, El Reno, go after the Democrat nomination for the seat being vacated by Republican Dan Fisher after one term in office. Four Republicans want the job. Filing for the GOP nomination were Matt Von Tunglen,El Reno, Rhonda Baker, 47, Yukon, Patrick Case, 56, Yukon, and Chad Slane, 30, El Reno.

In House Dist. 43, two Democrats, along with two Republicans and one Independent want the job currently held by Republican incumbent John Paul Jordan, 35, Yukon. Yukon Democrats Monica Eason, 42, and Mike Bounds, 56, seek the Democrat nomination for the seat, while Jordan faces Scott Colbert, 31, and Travis Hart 38, both of Yukon in the GOP primary. Sooner Davenport, 26, of Yukon, is running as an Independent.

Candidate interest was especially high in State Senate races, with 99 candidates filing for the 25 State Senate seats on the ballot. All 101 State House of Representative seats are on the ballot, with 285 candidates filing for those offices. In all, the state’s five U.S. House of Representative seats attracted 24 candidates.

Candidate withdrawals and contests of candidacy had to be filed by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 19. The Oklahoma State Election Board will hear contests of candidacy April 25.

With the filing period over, Oklahoma State Election Board staff members will begin preparing, testing and printing up to 2.5 million ballots for the June 28 Primary Election.

Some of the important dates to remember for the June 28 Primary include: June 3 is the deadline to register to vote. June 22 is the last day to request an absentee ballot and early primary election voting will be June 23-25.

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