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House District 51
Brad Boles, left, and Dustin Payne, right, are Republican candidates for House District 51. (NonDoc)

Residents in parts of Grady, McClain and Stephens counties will be able to vote today in a Republican primary for House District 51. Former Rep. Scott Biggs vacated the HD 51 seat in early November 2017 after the Trump administration appointed him state executive director of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oklahoma.

A narrow field of two face off today for the HD 51 seat, which is anchored by the municipalities of Chickasha, Duncan and Blanchard. The winner of today’s contest will go on to face 71-year-old Marlow resident Charles Murdock in the general election March 6.

Brad Boles, 34, Marlow

Profession: President of family’s machine-shop business, Wilco Machine & Fabrication, Inc.
Experience: Mayor of Marlow since 2014 and member of the Oklahoma State Chamber board of directors.
Platform: Boles touts his business-related degrees as well as real-life business experience as the basis for his qualifications to address the state budget crisis. In addition, education, jobs and health care feature prominently on the candidate’s Issues page. With regard to the latter, The Oklahoman’s Ben Felder quoted Boles in a story published Monday as saying, “Immediate access to health care is a big deal in my district.”
Links: Website | Facebook

Dustin Payne, 35, Chickasha

Profession: Owner and operator of family’s chain of burger restaurants called Paw Paw’s.
Experience: In a campaign image on Facebook, Payne places himself in the “not a politician” category. As such, he emphasizes his experience running his family’s business and the life he has sought to build for his wife and kids.
Platform: Specific details about policy positions are scarce on the candidate’s public-facing media, but the general themes of outing “career politicians” and providing “new direction” run throughout the self-described conservative Christian’s messaging.
Links: Facebook

The regular 2018 legislative session is scheduled to start on Feb. 5, and a map of House District 51 is embedded below. Voters can use the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website to determine their legislative districts.

House District 51 map