Concerns arise amongst December 12 District 27 Senator Special Election

Staff Writer

A special election is coming up quickly for the Oklahoma Senate District 27 seat, and concerns have been raised from citizens on what the implications of this election could mean not only for the senate district, but for Oklahoma Representative District 61 as well.
The election on Dec. 12 will only cover the primary for Republicans; a special election for the seat will take place on Feb. 13. This time around, the decision carries more weight than just choosing who will represent these districts.

There are six Republican candidates on the Dec. 12 primary ballot for the Senate District 27 seat:
• Jeff Hall of Mooreland (Woodward County)
• Carolyn McClarty of Mutual (Woodward County)
• Travis Templin of Seiling (Dewey County)
• Casey Murdock of Felt (Cimarron County)
• Tommy Nicholson of Mooreland (Woodward County)
• Michael Medill of Woodward (Woodward County)

Of the six Republican candidates, only Murdock lives within the Oklahoma Representative District 61 boundaries. The only portion of Woodward County in District 61 is Fort Supply. This means the five other candidates - Hall, McClarty, Templin, Nicholson, and Medill - live in Senate District 27 and are not residents of Representative District 61, and will not be able to run for the District 61 seat.
The sole Democratic candidate for the seat, Amber Jensen, is a Woodward resident. All the candidates from Woodward reside in Oklahoma Representative District 58. Travis Templin, who lives in Dewey County, resides in Oklahoma Representative District 59.

The question has been raised: If Murdock is elected to the seat for Senate District 27, who will represent the constituents in Harper, Ellis, Cimarron, and Texas counties, as well as Fort Supply?
The answer to this question comes with the regular Nov. 6, 2018 election. Should Murdock be elected, he must vacate the District 61 seat as a representative before he is sworn in as senator. It has been verified that a special election will not be called to fill Murdock’s seat, and an appointment is not expected be made to complete the term.

A representative can be chosen by voters in the Nov. 6 election, but this will be past the regular 2018 Oklahoma legislative session. That elected representative will not be sworn in until the beginning of 2019. This scenario would leave Oklahoma District 61 without a representative for a year.

We would like to thank the Texas County residents who have contacted us with concerns about how this election will affect representation for the Panhandle.