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Oklahoma elections: County Commissioner District 1 race gets two candidates with clear victories

Veteran county commissioner Willa Johnson cruised to victory Tuesday in the Democratic primary for the District 1 seat on the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners. Johnson, 75, will defend her seat against Republican Daren Ward in the Nov. 4 general election.
by William Crum Modified: June 25, 2014 at 12:06 am •  Published: June 24, 2014

Willa Johnson had a big night.

The veteran county commissioner cruised to victory Tuesday in the Democratic primary for the District 1 seat on the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners.

Johnson, 75, will defend her seat against Republican Daren Ward in the Nov. 4 general election. Ward, 39, took an easy victory in the race for the GOP nomination.

Ward, an Oklahoma City general contractor who specializes in storm, water and fire restoration, said his goals were to use technology to modernize and streamline county business and to “be there for the people.” He said Johnson too often was absent from county board meetings.

“I don’t where he’s getting that information,” Johnson said. She acknowledged she has missed some meetings but said “everybody on that commission has missed some” because of conflicts with other county business.

Bidding for her third full term after serving more than 14 years on the Oklahoma City Council, Johnson said Tuesday’s primary victory was her biggest yet. “It was a landslide win, and I’m really pleased about that,” she said.

With 88 of 91 precincts reporting, Johnson, of Oklahoma City, had 9,816 votes, or 75.4 percent, to 3,206, or 24.6 percent, for Ronald Henry, 63, of Luther.

In the Republican primary, Ward had 6,725 votes, or 63.4 percent, to 3,886, or 36.6 percent, for Earl Davis, 62, of Choctaw.

Johnson said she wanted to keep her focus on roads and bridges, and on serving the small towns and unincorporated areas of the district, which generally covers eastern Oklahoma County.

“I want to do just what I’ve been doing, and that’s making District 1 a progressive district,” she said.

In Oklahoma County races without primaries:

Republican incumbent Ray Vaughn will face Democrat Thomas Parkhurst Jr. for the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat in November. Vaughn, 66, of Edmond, was elected in 2006 and re-elected in 2010. Parkhurst, 49, also lives in Edmond.

The longtime Oklahoma County treasurer, Republican Butch Freeman, will face Democrat Stephen Covert, 65, of Midwest City, in November. Freeman, 70, of Choctaw, was elected treasurer in 1993 in a special election and has been re-elected five times.

Oklahoma County Assessor Leonard Sullivan, a Republican, and District Attorney David Prater, a Democrat, were unopposed and will be elected to new four-year terms.

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by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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