Oklahoma Corporation Commission candidates head for runoff elections

Wednesday, August 28th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ It's going to take five races to replace one resigning commissioner after both parties' candidates for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission advanced to runoffs.

Jeff Cloud will meet Dana Murphy again next month after neither gained the majority necessary to win Tuesday's GOP primary in the race to succeed Ed Apple, who decided not to seek another term on the commission.

Keith Butler fell just short, with 49 percent of the votes, of winning the Democratic primary outright but must meet Jeff Tomlin, who received 37 percent at the polls, again on Sept. 17.

The runoff winners will face each other and Libertarian Roger Bloxham, who was not opposed Tuesday, in the Nov. 5 general election, which comes after two primaries and two runoffs.

In other races, Oklahoma Republicans selected Denise Bode as their candidate to challenge two-term Attorney General Drew Edmondson while Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin won a chance at a third term.

Jim McMahan, who was endorsed by 20-year State Auditor and Inspector Clifton Scott over two other auditor office employees, won the Democratic nomination to replace him. He meets Gary Jones in the Nov. 5 general election.

Commissioner of Labor Brenda Reneau Wynn outpaced state Rep. Tim Pope, R-Mustang, in the race to lead the Department of Labor, which Pope had promised to abolish if he won. Lloyd Fields won the Democratic nomination in that race.

Cloud, who is chief of staff for Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, outpolled Murphy, an Oklahoma City geologist and commission administrative law judge, by just 400 votes in the primary. Mark Snyder, a 15-year state senator who garnered 20 percent of the vote, was defeated.

The Democrat Butler is a former municipal judge who has operated a trucking company and owned a telecommunications company, two businesses regulated by the commission. Tomlin, 40, of Muldrow has said his priorities include stopping electricity deregulation from being enacted in Oklahoma.

The Libertarian Bloxham of Tulsa is a former race car driver and yacht broker who previously ran for the commission calling for lower utility rates.

Bode, the chairwoman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, defeated Guthrie attorney Tim Green, 59 percent to 41 percent despite his claims that she was inexperienced.

Bode, a former president of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, said her victory Tuesday was a prelude for her contest with Edmondson, who was unopposed Tuesday and is seeking a third four-year term.

``Our people are hardened and prepared for a battle for Oklahoma values,'' Bode said.

Fallin, who in 1994 became the first woman elected lieutenant governor in Oklahoma, outpolled Edmond vocational-technical teacher Jim Clark 4-to-1.

The Tecumseh Republican now faces former Democratic state House member Laura Boyd of Norman in the general election. Boyd was unopposed Tuesday and was her party's nominee for governor in 1998.

McMahan, 42, and a 14-year auditor's office employee from Tecumseh, beat Rod Dillard and John K. Fodge by about a 3-to-1 margin in the Democratic primary battle between former auditor's office employees.

Jones, McMahan's opponent in November, is an accountant and former Comanche County commissioner from Cache.

Wynn will face Fields, a heating, air and plumbing contractor from McAlester, in the general election as she seeks a third four-year term as commissioner of labor.

Wynn, who countered Pope's claim that the department was an ineffective bureaucracy by calling it a model of governmental efficiency, defeated Pope 64 percent to 36 percent.

Fields outpolled Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner of Wagoner 66 percent to 34 percent.