To the editors:
If you’ve heard that the Oklahoma Democratic Party is on the way out in Oklahoma, let’s review Democrats’ success in special elections right here in our state.
In April 2015, voters elected former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Matthews to represent Senate District 11 in a special election. His departure left a vacancy in House District 73, which Democratic Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa) filled in another special election.
In September 2015, Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-Oklahoma City) won a special election in House District 85, flipping that district to the Dems for the first time in 50 years. Rep. Munson won again in 2016.
In another special election January 2016, Sen. J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) became the first Democrat elected to Senate District 34 since 1990. He replaced Republican Sen. Rick Brinkley, who was convicted of stealing $1.8 million from his employer to support his gambling habit and lavish lifestyle.
More special elections are on the way after two Republicans accused of wrongdoing resigned within 90 days of each other. News broke in December 2016 about former Rep. Dan Kirby’s sexual harassment charges and the $44,500 settlement paid by taxpayers to his former assistant. Then, former Sen. Ralph Shortey, District 44, surrendered to authorities in March after police arrested him with marijuana and a male teen in a motel. Shortey was charged with child prostitution.
Apparently, Democrats do pretty well if voters have the facts, even in Oklahoma. They’ve won four special elections in a row, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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