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Politics and Government

From Right Wingers To Realists, Oklahomans Vote Their Conscience

Warren Rohner

Here is a collection of voter voices from Tuesday's runoff election in Oklahoma:

In Edmond, retiree Steve Pierce, 71, voted for Republican Patrice Douglas in the 5th Congressional District runoff. Pierce noted that Douglas is a former Edmond mayor and said she has "done a remarkable job in all of the positions she's had."

"I think she has a proven track record. I felt she was better prepared to enter the fray," he said.

"She's had experience in politics, but also in business, finance. I think with her background on the Corporation Commission that will bode well, I think, for the state on issues that come up in the oil and energy industry."


Drew Smith, who insures physicians, also voted for Douglas in Edmond.

"I didn't find much difference between the candidates, but she is the mayor here. She's been on the Corporation Commission. Her experience seems to be a better fit," he said.

Smith acknowledged that Douglas was a "little inflammatory" during the campaign. He said her attack on President Barack Obama's health care law was "kind of silly," but said she still seemed to be a better fit for the job.

Though Smith said he thinks Douglas' GOP rival Steve Russell could also do a good job, he noted Russell's voting record in the Oklahoma Senate was "a little sketchy."

"When you elect somebody, you expect them to vote," Smith, 56, said.


Ray Prescott, a 53-year-old land surveyor who lives in Logan County, said he plans to vote by candidate instead of party line in November.

"You have to keep an open mind," he said.

He said the most pressing issue facing Oklahomans is for Republicans to reclaim the U.S. Senate in order to "control this president," who he said is "taking us in the wrong direction."


Democrat Michelle Hamrick, 34, said there wasn't a particular race that drew her to the polls, though she's a fan of school chiefs candidate Freda Deskin.

Hamrick said she plans to vote by candidate instead of party line in the fall.

"I don't feel any particular political ideology is the best thing for anyone," said the Logan County resident.


Forty-three-year-old Michael Davis, who is in banking in Oklahoma City, said he voted for Russell because of Russell's military background.

"I like his military service, and I value that over political careers," Davis said.

Asked about Russell's voting record in the Senate, Davis said he didn't know how to answer that, but added: "Both campaigns have kind of done some things that are a little marginal, so somewhat discount that," he said.


Phil Defree, a retired civil servant, voted for Connie Johnson in the Democratic primary for the 5th Congressional District. He said it's time for Republicans to get out of office because they aren't doing a good job. Asked if he was confident going into the November general election that a Democratic candidate would win, Defree, 64, said: "Oh no! Not in Oklahoma. I'm a realist."


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