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Rhodes beats Key for Oklahoma County Court Clerk

In Oklahoma County's court clerk race, Tim Rhodes, 15-year chief deputy court clerk, won handily against nine-term state Rep. Charles Key. Del City voters approved sales tax extension by a large margin.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: August 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm •  Published: August 28, 2012
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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.

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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 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. Without the extension, it was set to expire.

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