Editor's Note: Profiles of the other three candidates in this race ran Sunday on Page 15A in The Oklahoman, but Ernest Clark's comments were not included in that story.
Ernest Clark, a retired school superintendent from Shawnee, is one of four Republicans in the race for Senate District 17 that represents southern Oklahoma County and parts of Pottawatomie County.
No Democrats are running for the empty seat of incumbent Sen. Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee, who announced early he would not seek a third term at the state Capitol.
The primary election June 26 will determine the winner, but there could be a runoff in August between the top two candidates if no one is able to receive a majority of the votes.
Clark will face Ron Sharp, 60, a high school teacher from Shawnee; Ed Moore, 59, a pastor at a Baptist Church from Shawnee; and Mike Jestes, 59, an Oklahoma City businessman. Clark said his leadership experience as well as his political involvement set him apart from his competition.
“I have never run for state office, but I have been active in my county party,” he said. “I will always make the effort to do the right thing for my constituents and Oklahoma.”
He said his top priorities are encouraging economic growth, promoting local involvement in education and addressing public safety and immigration issues.
“We can't tax ourselves to prosperity,” Clark said. “Lowering taxes and government spending and eliminating harmful regulations on small business will continue to spur economic growth in Oklahoma. Stop the bailouts and handouts.”
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