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Spencer Bernard Tops Opponents Early in Race for Lieutenant Governor

John Greiner Published: August 25, 1982

Lt. Gov. Spencer Bernard captured the Democratic nomination Tuesday night in the first round of his bid for a second term.

Bernard, who jumped into an early lead and held onto nearly 58 percent of the vote most of the night, swamped his two opponents, John Rogers, former secretary of state from Oklahoma City, and Rodney Ray of Jenks.

With 2,102 of 2,395 precincts reporting, Bernard, of Rush Springs, had 197,920 votes to 77,309 for Rogers and 72,094 for Ray, according to unofficial returns.

In the race for the GOP nomination for lieutenant governor, Republican state Sen. Norman Lamb of Enid and Tulsa Sen. Warren Green appeared headed toward a runoff.

With 1,930 of 2,394 precincts reporting, Lamb had 35,906 votes, or 45 percent. Green had 26,955 votes, or 34 percent, while Michael Williams of Bethany had 16,624 votes.

Clifton Scott of Tecumseh and Allen Greeson of Guthrie also appeared headed toward a runoff for the Democratic nomination for state auditor and inspector.

With 1,797 precincts reporting, Scott led with 110,913 votes, or 41 percent. Greeson followed him with 73,284 votes, or 27.5 percent.

Former House member Bob Parris of Sallisaw was in third place with 63,094 votes, and W.B. Obuch of Sayre had 21,232 votes.

Bernard, 67, served 18 years in the state House of Representatives before running for lieutenant governor four years ago.

He operates a peanut-processing plant and a farming and ranching operation in Rush Springs.

During the campaign, he stressed his agricultural and business experience, noting he has been able to arrange for more than $14 million in agricultural exports to Taiwan since he became lieutenant governor.

Ray, 36, is on leave of absence from his job as executive director of the Independent Electrical Contractors Association.

The Vietnam War veteran served on the staff of former U.S. Rep. Ed Edmondson of Muskogee. Ray also served two years as director of Community Development Service for the state and was city manager of Jenks five years.

He has said that, if elected, he would call for immediate action to stop the U.S. Corps of Engineers from closing park and camping areas at state lakes.

Rogers, 53, served as secretary of state from 1967 to 1975, resigning just 11 days before he was to have gone on trial before the state Senate, which was to sit as a Court of Impeachment.

Rogers had been a key government witness in the extortion-bribery trial that led to conviction of former Gov. David Hall. Rogers maintained his problems with the state House, which voted articles of impeachment against him, stemmed from his being a witness against Hall.

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