The attorney for one of the candidates claiming victory in this month’s contested House District 71 election says time is of the essence in resolving the dispute. Really? The seat has been vacant since December, when former Rep. Dan Sullivan bailed out to become head of the Grand River Dam Authority. Republican Katie Henke and Democrat Dan Arthrell are tussling over who won the April 3 election, which had a razor-thin margin first for Arthrell, then for Henke, and now involves once-missing ballots that could sway the result again. Henke’s attorney told the state Supreme Court that voters in the Tulsa-area district need representation during the final month of the session. That’s “crunch time” in approving a budget and dealing with other important issues, he said. And he’s right. But expecting Henke or Arthrell to be able to get up to speed and really contribute to that process is a stretch.
The House chamber near the end of session, May 2011. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman