Since the June 26 primary, four candidates have withdrawn from their respective Oklahoma legislative races, giving two candidates a spot on the general election ballot and leaving one candidate unchallenged in November.
“You know, I can’t give you an explanation on that,” said Bryan Dean about the candidate withdrawals. Dean is the public information officer for the Oklahoma State Election Board.
“There are a million different reasons why someone might try and withdraw,” he said.
In HD 91 and SD 16, the candidates withdrew after forcing a runoff and defeating a third candidate on the primary ballot, meaning Oklahomans will decide two fewer runoff primaries on Aug 28.
“If someone makes the runoff and withdraws from the runoff, then the other person who was in the runoff wins the nomination,” Dean said.
House District 91
Democrat Sonya Fergeson withdrew from the HD 91 Democratic runoff-primary against Amanda Jeffers on June 29. Fergeson said she dropped out of the race because her family is busy opening a hormone therapy clinic on OKC’s south side. She also said she is good friends with her then-runoff opponent.
“I really hated for us to spend our limited resources battling each other when the goal is November,” Fergeson said about Jeffers. “I am giving my 100-percent support to Ms. Jeffers. I plan to door-knock for her later.”
Senate District 16
Ed Crocker, the Republican front-runner in Norman’s Senate District 16 race, withdrew on June 29. As a result of Crocker’s withdrawal, Republican Becki Maldonado will face either Mary B. Boren or Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-Norman) in November.
While he did not return a phone call from NonDoc, Crocker discussed his withdrawal in a Norman Transcript article.
“I was up against a primary opponent who spent a lot of money and never even filed a candidate committee registration with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission,” Crocker wrote. “The Norman Transcript never reported a single story on this flagrant violation of the Ethics law.”
According to Ashley Kemp, executive director of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, a candidate has only committed a violation if they raise or spend over $1,000 and do not register a committee. Filing fees count towards the total.
House District 33
Brandon T. Phillips, a Democrat, withdrew from his House District 33 race on June 27, leaving Republican John Thomas Talley with no opponent for the general election. Talley beat Rep. Greg Babinec (R-Cushing) in the primary and is now the functional representative-elect for HD 33. There will be no general election for HD 33.
House District 79
Teresa Marler, an independent, withdrew on July 5 from the HD 79 race. Candidates typically have until the Friday after an election to withdraw from the next ballot, but Marler would not appear on a ballot until November.