McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

April 16, 2014

Cuttin' it close: Karr files for Ward 4 seat, barely beating deadline

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — Three minutes.

Former Ward 4 City Councilor Robert Karr filed his declaration of candidacy for the vacant Ward 4 seat, filled out the papers, got them notarized and back into the  Pittsburg County Election Board office just three minutes before the deadline to do so elapsed at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“I file-stamped his paper at 4:57,” said Election Board Clerk Carla Morris.

Although it won’t become official until 5 p.m. Friday, Karr is now set to automatically win a new four-year term as the Ward 4 city councilor, since no one else filed for the office.

He certainly cut it close.

Speaking with the News-Capital minutes after filing his papers, Karr said “I called and nobody had put in, so I told my wife somebody had to do it.”

Karr said his wife, Tammy, told him if he felt like he needed to file for the office, then to go ahead.

“I said ‘I’m going to do it!” Karr said.

Still, he had to race to beat the clock before the deadline expired.

Asked about getting his candidate papers filed only three minutes before the deadline elapsed, Karr said “I just thought I would wait and see if anybody else would step up.” Karr said he knew of a lot of good people in Ward 4 who were qualified, but it apparently wasn’t their time to run for the office.

Karr also noted something he felt glad about after filing.

“I’m glad I won’t have an election,” he said.

McAlester’s Ward 4 City Council seat has been empty since the March 4 city election, when Karr completed his first four-year term in office.

At that time, Karr had not sought re-election to a second four-year term, saying he had other things he wanted to do.

However, no one else filed as a Ward 4 candidate for the March 4 election —which made it necessary for the city council to pass another election resolution and set the candidate filing period in Ward 4 for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

If Karr had not beat the clock to file as a candidate  Wednesday, the city council would have had to pass another election resolution and set another candidate filing period.

City councilors could not have simply appointed Karr or anyone else to fill the Ward 4 seat if he had missed the filing deadline Wednesday.

The city charter allows for the possibility of filling the seat by appointment only when there’s a year or less until the next regular election for the office —and Ward 4 was open for a four-year term.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.