After more than a decade representing House District 52, Rep. Charles Ortega (R-Altus) has hit the term limit. A pair of Jackson County Republicans will square off to claim the vacated southwestern Oklahoma seat in the June 30 primary.
Ortega first came to office in 2009 and is currently the chairman of the Appropriations and Budget General Government Subcommittee. In 2018, he unsuccessfully challenged Speaker of the House Charles McCall (R-Atoka) for the speakership.
Looking to step in as Ortega exits are Republicans Gerrid Kendrix and Scot Simco. Kendrix has worked as a certified public accountant in Altus for more than 30 years. Simco has previously served on both the city council and chamber of commerce in Altus.
With no other parties running candidates, the election will be decided by the June 30 Republican primary. The following information was derived from publicly available sources.
HD 52 at a glance
Outgoing office holder: Rep. Charles Ortega
Zip codes represented: 73521, 73526, 73532, 73537, 73539, 73544, 73547, 73549, 73550, 73554, 73556, 73559, 73560, 73564, 73566, 73571, 73651, 73655
Counties represented: Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa
Cities/Townships represented: Altus, Blair, Duke, Eldorado, Elmer, Friendship, Gould, Granite, Headrick, Hollis, Lone Wolf, Mangum, Martha, Mountain Park, Olustee, Snyder
Gerrid Kendrix (R)
Profession: Certified Public Accountant
Platform: Touting himself as “a conservative voice for southwest Oklahoma” on his campaign website, Kendrix writes that his three decades of experience as a CPA will allow him to “assist the state as it comes out of this very difficult economic time.”
Kendrix says on his website that Oklahoma’s economy his first priority in the short term, because “every other issue” can be solved only if there is funding available.
The second issue Kendrix lists on his website is protecting “constitutional freedoms,” adding that the COVID-19 pandemic “has shown we have a lot of work to do in that area.” Kendrix goes on to write that the government should “protect those that are more vulnerable,” but must also “respect an individual’s freedom to operate their business.”
Kendrix also writes government “is too big and wasteful” and that he would prioritize reducing existing “cases of inefficiencies” in state government to secure more funding rather than introducing new taxes or raising existing ones.
Kendrix has been endorsed by the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors and Oklahomans for Health and Parental Rights, which advocates for “family choice” on health issues like vaccinations. Kendrix is currently an independent CPA in Altus.
More Info: Website | Facebook
Scot Simco (R)
Profession: Owner of Val’s Restaurant and Pub, former Altus city councilman
Platform: Simco lacks a campaign website, and his social media accounts offer few specifics on his policy positions. His campaign slogan, “committed to the community,” emphasizes Simco’s past public service experience. Simco is a former Altus city councilman, former member of the Altus Chamber of Commerce, and a local business owner.
According to a Facebook post, Simco will prioritize “rural health care, education and infrastructure” if elected.
During his stint on the Altus City Council, Simco writes in the same Facebook post, he helped expand local roads and improve local Hoyt Shadid park. Simco has also served as the board president for ACMI House, a nonprofit shelter for victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence and stalking.