Administrative experience trumped political experience in the Republican primary runoff for Oklahoma County court clerk.
Tim Rhodes trounced his opponent, Charles Key. The final vote count was 9,020-6,102.
No Democrat filed for the seat, and so Rhodes will take over as clerk on Jan. 1.
It's an office with which he is familiar, having worked 15 years as second-in-charge under Oklahoma County Court Clerk Patricia Presley, who is retiring.
Rhodes, 55, campaigned on a platform of administrative experience, saying from the outset that he wanted to use the position to continue the work initiated during Presley's reign — using technology and proactive thinking to provide court services with less staff and with less funding.
On Tuesday, with the support of county voters in his favor, he again stood by that promise.
“There's nothing else to do but to continue the work that we've been doing, and it's a continual effort to try and do better,” he said, speaking from the Oklahoma City restaurant where he gathered with supporters. “We're going to see the current projects through to completion and do our best to provide support to our third branch of government.”
Early on, it appeared the race would be closer. In fact, Rhodes and Key were neck and neck after the five-way primary in June.
Key, a nine-term member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, had name recognition in his favor.
The 58-year-old, who is term-limited from seeking re-election to the House, also had more experience in politicking. He accused Rhodes of being a spend-happy liberal in Republican's clothing and promised he would use his position on the county budget board to fight new taxes and spending.
Rhodes, more restrained in his campaign, gently reminded voters that Key advocated a half-million grand jury inquiry into the Oklahoma City bombing on the backs of state taxpayers. After the bombing, Key said he thought the government had prior knowledge of the attack.
Rhodes said the clerk's position is an administrative one, and that his experience in the office was more important than Key's political experience. And in the end, he brought in more political endorsements.
“We've very, very pleased,” he said on Tuesday. “We worked hard, and we think the voters heard our message. Fairness and impartiality, doing a good competent job, being good stewards — I think those are all of our themes and I'm really please and gratified the voters of Oklahoma County heard that and responded.”
Del City OKs sales tax
Also in Oklahoma County, voters in Del City overwhelmingly approved a sales tax extension, 1,009-289.
The 1.5 cent tax will be used to fund a new library, a female veterans memorial project in Patriot Park, a sports complex, a public works administration building, a number of street repairs and new vehicles for the city's police and public works departments.
The sales tax previously had been used to construct the city's fire and police stations and City Hall. It was set to expire without voter approval.
Del City voters extend sales tax
Also in Oklahoma County, voters in Del City overwhelmingly approved a sales tax extension, 1,009-289. The 1.5-cent tax will be used to fund a new