Oklahoma elections: Republicans fight to fill Oklahoma Senate District 17 seat left vacant by Democrat

An August 28 runoff will decide the winner of the empty seat of incumbent Sen. Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee, who announced early he would not seek a third term at the state Capitol.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND mrolland@opubco.com Published: August 12, 2012
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Voters in southern Oklahoma County and parts of Pottawatomie County will select their senator on Aug. 28 in the primary runoff between two Republican candidates.

Since no Democrat filed for the newly redistricted seat, the winner of the runoff will take office, replacing the incumbent Sen. Charlie Laster and giving the GOP one more seat in their super majority hold of the Senate.

The two candidates are both from Shawnee.

Ed Moore, a senior pastor at Pecan Valley Baptist Church, had a slight edge in the four-way Republican primary in June over Ron Sharp, a now retired Shawnee High School government teacher.

Moore, 59, received 34 percent of the vote, while Sharp, 60, received 31 percent of the vote.

Because neither candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates advanced to the runoff.

Sharp said he worries that voter turnout will be even lower than it was in the primary when 4,300 Republican voters turned out.

“It's probably going to be only about half the people that vote,” Sharp said. “We're just trying to get the word out to the voter to let them know that there is an Aug. 28 runoff.”

Moore said he is going door to door among registered Republicans attempting to get the word out that there is an upcoming election that will determine who the senator is for District 17.

The district has been substantially redrawn to include more of Oklahoma County and less of Pottawatomie County.

Laster, who chose not to seek re-election, said the redistricting took the seat from being one that was a toss up between two political parties to one that was almost certain to go Republican.

On the issues

Moore emphasized his opposition to the policies of President Barack Obama, particularly the national health care law.

“We're going to be guided by the philosophy that local control is better,” Moore said. “Ronald Reagan actually endorsed my candidacy back then in 1980. He's long gone but I still revere what he stood for: limited government, individual responsibility, strong national defense, and national sovereignty, as opposed to what we're seeing today.”

Sharp said his number one priority is economic development and job creation.