SULLIVAN changes his mind about an early election

Friday, July 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(TULSA) - An Oklahoma legislator has changed his mind about an early election date to fill the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Steve Largent.

State Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, who is running to succeed Largent, had expressed concern that setting an early date for a special election would not give voters enough time to get to know the candidates and their issues.

``If we can get something going in November, where we aren't without a congressman, that would be something I probably could support,'' Sullivan said Thursday.

Largent, R-Okla., announced in June his intent to resign from Congress Nov. 29. He wants to focus his time on running for governor of Oklahoma.

Largent's announcement was aimed at encouraging Gov. Frank Keating and state lawmakers to use the upcoming special legislative session to change state law and allow a special election date to select his successor.

Largent said he does not want to leave his seat vacant.

Presently, the governor could not set a special election date until Largent officially resigns in November. That could delay the election of a successor until February or March of next year.

First lady Cathy Keating and state Sen. Scott Pruitt, R-Broken Arrow, who also are hoping to succeed Largent, both backed his request.

They say it is important to make sure the district does not go without a vote in Congress.

Mrs. Keating, Sullivan and Pruitt are the only announced Republican candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat so far. The district covers all of Tulsa County and a small part of Wagoner County.

Doug Dodd, a Tulsa attorney and school board member, is the only Democratic hopeful.