McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

September 20, 2013

No runoff in special election for Pittsburg County District 3 commissioner

By James Beaty
Senior Editor

McALESTER — With seven Democrats and two Republicans on the Oct. 8 Special Primary Election Ballot in the District 3 Pittsburg County commissioner’s race, some are expecting a runoff election to follow in the packed Democratic field to determine the party’s nominee for the November General Election.

That won’t be the case this time, though.

The Democratic and Republican candidates who are certified to have received the most votes during the Oct. 8 Special Primary Election will advance to the Nov. 12 General Election —even if they get only one more vote than their opponents.

That’s because the Oct. 8 election is a special primary election, not a regular primary election.

“In a regular election a candidate would have to receive at least 50 percent, plus one,” of the ballots cast in a primary election to avoid a runoff, said Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Cathy Thornton.

However, the Oct. 8 election is a special primary election called by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, to be followed by the Nov. 12 General Election. No runoff election has been scheduled following the Oct. 8 Special Primary Election —regardless of how close the final results are.

Ballots for the Democratic and Republic candidates will be tallied after the polls close at 7 p.m. on Oct. 8, and the top vote-getters will be announced. The results will not become official though, until certified by the election board.

Candidates from both parties will have until 5 p.m. on the Friday following the Oct. 8 election to ask for a recount or to challenge the election results.

Once the Democratic and Republic primary winners are certified as winners, they will proceed to the Nov. 12 General Election as their respective party’s nominees to determine the new District 3 county commissioner.

The election is to determine who will succeed the late Ronnie Young, the one-time District 3 Commissioner who died in August. His death remains under investigation.

Meanwhile, no candidates withdrew or contested another candidate’s candidacy prior to the Sept. 13 deadline, so the  official ballot is set, according to Thornton.

Since the deadline has passed, even if a candidate should decide to drop out of the race, the candidate’s name will still remain on the election ballot.

Republican candidates who will be on the Oct. 8 Primary Election ballot for  District 3 Pittsburg County commissioner are Greg McNall, 56, of  McAlester, and Miles Cathey, 52, of Indianola.

Democratic candidates who will be on the Oct. 8 Primary Election ballot are Donald Mathis, 59, of the Indianola area; Jerry Donathan, 66, who lives on Pyle Mountain; Ross Selman, 49, of the Haywood area; Trent Myers, 54, of Tannehill Loop Road; Paul Watkins, 65, of McAlester;  Larry Partain, 58, of West Hereford Lane, and Kenneth Hall, 59, of Shady Grove.

Since the deadline has passed, even if a candidate should decide to drop out of the race, the candidate’s name will still remain on the election ballot, county election officials said.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.