Oklahoma elections: Political newcomer gets Republican nod for Debbe Leftwich's old seat

Political newcomer gets Republican nod for Leftwich's old seat.
BY JULIE BISBEE Published: August 25, 2010
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A political newcomer who quit his job to run for office won the Republican primary runoff election in a southern Oklahoma City district Tuesday.

Ralph Shortey beat James Davenport with about 58 percent of the vote for the Republican nomination in Senate District 44. Davenport, the co-owner of a martial arts studio and a former chief of staff to a county commissioner, received about 42 percent of the vote.

Shortey, who worked as an oil and gas production consultant, said he and his family have been living on savings since he filed for office in June.

Shortey walked door-to-door in his district, which was once represented by Sen. Debbe Leftwich, a Democrat. Many voters wanted change, he said.

"They're frustrated, they feel neglected and they feel they've had no representation," Shortey said. "They're want something done about illegal immigration and they want something tough."

Leftwich announced on the last day of the legislative session that she would not seek another term. The race to fill Leftwich's seat has drawn attention as prosecutors look into allegations that she agreed not to seek re-election in return for a state job with annual salary of $80,000. Leftwich has denied any wrongdoing.

Shortey will face Democrat Randy Rose, a retired firefighter, in the November election. Rose did not have a primary opponent.

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