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Oklahoma election-year ballot reads like retention slate

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: April 25, 2012

These are good times for incumbent politicians. Any notion of a throw-the-bums-out sentiment is discounted by the fact that many incumbents will get a free ride this election year.

Not only did nearly 60 percent of state House members and about a third of state senators draw no opponents, but more than half of county offices were uncontested. The slate of public officials will thus be much the same a year from now as it is now.

Challengers play off voter discontent with incumbents. Apparently there isn't much discontent. When the three-day candidate filing period closed on Friday the 13th, only a few name-brand incumbents were unlucky enough to face an election.

One of them is Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, now seeking his fifth term. Despite being a Democratic sheriff in a Republican-dominated county government, Whetsel has survived election after election. He faces Republican Darrell Sorrells in November.

County Clerk Carolynn Caudill, a Republican, drew no opponent. The open court clerk seat, held by retiring Democrat Patricia Presley, drew five candidates — all Republicans. GOP County Commissioner Brian Maughan drew only one challenger, also a Republican.

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