Hopefuls Challenge Candidacy Of Oklahoma Opponents

Monday, April 23rd 2018, 12:30 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Some candidates who filed for office last week are finding themselves kicked off the ballot today.

Out of all the races coming up this fall, 15 candidates contested their opponents.  Five of them were races with ties to Tulsa.

The State Election Board heard Monday the extraordinary case of whether Oklahoma’s sitting Attorney General was qualified to run for office.

Mike Hunter was appointed to the job after spending most of the last decade residing in Virginia.

“It was where I spent most of my time because I was working in Washington, D.C.,” stated Hunter.

Tulsa Attorney Gentner Drummond is challenging the candidacy of sitting Attorney General Mike Hunter.

Drummond claims Hunter is not eligible to seek the office because he purchased a home and resided in Virginia within the last decade.  This is the first time Hunter's residency qualification has been questioned.

After Hunter testified that he kept a home and always voted in Oklahoma, the board determined he did meet the residency requirements and could run for office.

Hunter worked for about 10 out of 12 years in Virginia.  He maintained a house and connections to Edmond during that time and also bought a house in Virginia.

“The Oklahoma Constitution is clear.  It’s not ‘am in North Tulsa or South Tulsa.’  It’s ‘was I a resident of Oklahoma for the last 10 years,’ and Attorney General Hunter was not,” stated Drummond.

The election board was also making residency decisions for several House candidates.

Tulsa representative Carol Bush contested the candidacy of John Martin over his registering to vote in the district just before he filed to run for office.

Martin says, “going into this, we knew it was going to be an uphill battle and that my name would likely be struck from the ballot.  We thought, however, it was important to challenge it.”

Tulsa representative Melody Blancett is challenging the registration of her opponent Cindy Gaete, also based on not satisfying voter registration requirements.

The board disqualified both Martin and Gaete over rules requiring candidates be registered to vote in the district for at least six months before filing.

Wagoner County's Nick Mahoney challenged incumbent Kevin McDugle's residency, but the election board decided he was qualified for the ballot.  McDugle was in the public eye during the teacher walkout when he published a Facebook Live video saying he was through supporting Oklahoma teachers, then quickly deleted the same.

4/4/2018 Related Story: Veteran Teacher, Law Officer Challenge Rep. McDugle For Wagoner County Seat

Mahoney, a Wagoner County deputy, and teacher Cyndi Ralston are challenging McDugle for House Seat 12.