John Whetsel wins fifth term as Oklahoma County sheriff

John Whetsel beats Republican challenger Darrell Sorrels nearly 2-1 to win re-election as county sheriff. The results mark the widest margin of victory for the sheriff in 16 years of campaigns.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: November 7, 2012 at 1:10 am •  Published: November 6, 2012
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Sorrels could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

Pat Hall, Whetsel's campaign manager, said it was clear from the outset that the sheriff would need support from both sides of the aisle to win.

“That was always our strategy,” Hall said Tuesday night. “Educated people and others have crossed over and will vote for Democrat in this environment if they believe they're doing a good job.”

The results of the sheriff's race will have an impact on county business almost immediately. A design plan for a new county jail could be put before county officials as early as this month; and, if supported, a sales tax to finance the estimated $330 million project could be on a ballot as early as this spring.

Whetsel said throughout his campaign that he would wait to see the design proposal and estimate before deciding whether to support a new jail.

Three other Oklahoma County races were decided previously. Carolynn Caudill, the incumbent county clerk, ran unopposed in her bid for re-election; Brian Maughan, the incumbent District 2 commissioner, won re-election in a July primary; and Tim Rhodes, the current deputy county court clerk, won a runoff election in August to take over a vacant seat for county court clerk.

All four county seats are for four-year terms that begin Jan. 1.

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