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Oklahoma Supreme Court will not hear judge's candidacy challenge

The state Supreme Court will not hear the case of an Oklahoma County district judge asking his opponent to be thrown from the ballot.
by Matt Dinger Published: July 3, 2014
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The state Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case of an Oklahoma County district judge who is asking that his opponent’s name be removed from the ballot.

District Judge Donald Deason had asked the court to examine the case after the state election board denied his candidacy challenge. At the heart of Deason’s argument was that attorney Orenthel Denson hoped to catch some errant votes due to the similarity of their names.

Justice Joseph Watt dissented with six other judges who chose not to hear the case. Chief Justice Tom Colbert and Justice Noma Gurich did not take part in the decision.

In April, the election board voted unanimously that Denson would remain on the ballot.

At the hearing, Deason’s witnesses included two other Oklahoma County judges. He argued that a state statute requires a hearing to show good faith of a challenger if they have a similar name as an incumbent. The board decided such a hearing was not required.

Deason declined to comment Wednesday.

“I said all along that the names speak for themselves and they truly do. I'm not surprised by the verdict. I think the state election board had it right the first time,” Denson said.

by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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