(Update: On Tuesday, June 28, Nick Archer won the election to represent House District 55.)
After 12 years in the Oklahoma Legislature, Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) has reached his term limit and is now running to be state treasurer. Three Republican candidates are running to replace him as the representative of House District 55 in western Oklahoma.
No Democrat or third-party candidates filed to run, so the winner of the primary will become the next representative. If no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote on June 28, the top two finishers will go head-to-head in a runoff on Aug. 23.
District 55 contains all of Washita County and the easternmost part of Beckham County, including Elk City. It also contains small sections of Canadian, Blaine and Caddo counties.
The following overview of the candidates is derived from publicly available information and is presented in alphabetical order. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Town: Elk City
Background: Archer was born in Sayre but moved to Elk City as a young child. He has lived there ever since, and he currently serves as the city’s mayor. Previously, he was also on the city’s Zoning Commission. Archer graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in architecture. For the past nine years, he has worked for Great Plains Analytical Services, a company that provides emissions testing for oil and gas companies. He also founded and owns HFJ Outdoors, a firearms retailer.
Platform: One of Archer’s stated top priorities is improving the quality of life for rural Oklahomans. On his website, he says that he intends to promote tourism to rural areas in order to promote economic growth. Archer also says that he wants to improve rural health care, especially in long-term health facilities. As a gun manufacturer, he is also passionate about opposing gun control. In February, Archer welcomed the People’s Convoy, an American protest group inspired by the Freedom Convoy in Canada, to Elk City.
Archer is endorsed by the State Chamber Political Action Committee.
Background: According to an interview with the Cordell Beacon, Boone was born in Norman, but his family moved to Cordell when he was a child. After elementary school, he moved to Elk City, which is where he graduated high school. He went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in environmental industrial technology. He is currently a city councilman in Cordell.
Platform: The Watonga Republican reported that one of Boone’s initiatives is to pass legislation to make child custody cases more fair and to streamline their appeal process. Boone believes that fathers in the state are often discriminated against in custody battles. He is also a proponent of making health care costs more transparent to the public. Boone describes himself as pro-gun and advocates for eliminating gun-free zones in the state. He is also critical of Nick Archer’s leadership, saying that Elk City has “declined” during Archer’s time as mayor.
Background: Sawatzky is a farmer and cattle rancher. He is a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, and he was previously a board member of USDA Conservation District 86. He also served as a volunteer firefighter for 20 years.
Platform: In a submission to the Cordell Beacon and on pamphlets he has distributed, Sawatzky described the United States as being “under attack by racial liberals.” In his submission to the Cordell Beacon, Sawatzky said, “I will defend the U.S. Constitution, stand for the Second Amendment and fight for the rights of the unborn.” On his website, Sawatzky says other issues important to him are protecting land and water quality in the state and standing by former President Donald Trump.