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Republicans square off in Oklahoma Corporation Commission primary race

Longtime Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony faces Brooks Mitchell, a former commission administrator, in Tuesday's primary. No Democrats filed for the post.
by Paul Monies Published: June 22, 2012

Two Republicans with inside knowledge of the workings of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission are competing for a six-year term on the regulatory panel that covers everything from oil and gas to public utilities and trucking.

Bob Anthony, 64, is seeking his fifth term on the panel, while former commission administrator and certified public accountant Brooks Mitchell, 51, is making his first run for statewide office.

No Democrat filed for the post, so the winner of Tuesday's GOP primary will take office in January. The race is the only statewide office on the Republican primary ballot.

Anthony touts his education and business experience, and has raised his profile in recent years as hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells became a national — and sometimes controversial — issue.

Mitchell said his experience as the commission's top administrator gives him a fresh perspective on the post.

“I've got a lot of people who want good government and who are out there working for me,” Mitchell said. “They just feel like Bob's been there too long.”

Anthony said he's amassed a strong record in his 23 years at the commission, including helping to clean up after a bribery scandal involving Southwestern Bell in the late 1980s and dealing with changes in the long-distance calling market in the 1990s.

More recently, Anthony has spoken to national and international groups about Oklahoma's regulation of hydraulic fracturing.

“Right now, what's most economically important for Oklahoma is the oil and gas industry,” Anthony said. “For it to be under attack for what I call advanced drilling techniques is a place for me to continue the fight and continue the education efforts I've already started.”

Anthony was first elected in 1988 and is a former top executive with the family-owned C.R. Anthony Co. retail chain.

Mitchell, a Seminole native who now lives in Oklahoma City, was an aide to former Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud. He also worked in the petroleum storage tank division before taking over as director of administration. Mitchell resigned from that position in January to run for office.

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by Paul Monies
Energy Reporter
Paul Monies is an energy reporter for The Oklahoman. He has worked at newspapers in Texas and Missouri and most recently was a data journalist for USA Today in the Washington D.C. area. Monies also spent nine years as a business reporter and...
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