Incumbent congressional officials did well in Ottawa County Tuesday, claiming high percentages of voter turnout.
Locally, however, voters gave their nod to fresh faces as newcomers were elected to posts within Ottawa County Commission District 2 and the City of Commerce.
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe claimed 78 percent of the 317 Republican votes casting in the primary election.
At the state level, unofficial results indicate that Inhofe earned more than 84 percent of the Republican vote with 116,349 casting ballots in his favor.
“Serving the people of Oklahoma in the United States Senate is a distinct honor and a humbling privilege. I take great pride in our state and strive every day to honor the trust Oklahomans have placed in me. Without regard to party, I will continue to fight for Oklahoma's interests in Washington,” Inhofe said as unofficial results were released. “I look forward to an issues-oriented campaign with my Democrat opponent. I am concerned that many Oklahomans unfortunately choose to be uninvolved in the political process because the discussion often strays from issues that are relevant and important. Voters want and deserve a substantive debate on the challenges and opportunities facing our state and the nation as a whole.”
Inhofe will face Democratic primary winner Andrew Rice and Independent candidate Stephen Wallace in the Nov. 4 general election.
On the U.S. House side, Dan Boren of the 2nd Congressional District retained support in Ottawa County as 83 percent of Democratic voters showed him favor.
Boren earned 85 percent of votes cast in his district and is now preparing to meet Republican Raymond J. Wickson of Okmulgee on the general election ballot this fall.
“We are exstatic about the winning percentatge,” Boren said late Tuesday.
“We wanted to send a message that we are not going to take an election off,” Boren said. “We don't believe in coasting to a win.”
Today, the two-term congressman and his staff will begin to analyze election data to identify areas where he fell short of votes.
“You can't win them all, but you certainly try to do your best to let your constituents know that you are working hard and that you are working for them,” Boren said.
Boren, like most campaigning this year, said the overwhelming concerns among constituents are rising gas prices and the struggling economy.
“The war is still on people's mind - and it will always be an issue - but gas prices have risen so fast and so sharply it is a bigger issue.
Boren campaigned in Oklahoma this week but returned to Washington, D.C., Tuesday to get back on the congressional floor where he is working on legislation to increase the use of natural gas vehicles in America over the next ten years.
By providing an array of incentives for drivers, manufacturers and fuel providers, the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act establishes a framework for achieving the goal of increasing the percentage of natural gas vehicles on the road to 10 percent of all vehicles by 2018, according to release issued last week from Boren's office.
“By fully utilizing our nation's vast natural gas resources, we have a real opportunity to make a positive and sweeping impact on our energy and economic future. Coming from a producing state, I believe this legislation will spur economic growth and job creation. Most importantly, it will increase the nation's energy independence while providing hard-working Americans with a cheaper, cleaner alternative to the rising cost of gasoline,” Boren said. “There are also provisions that greatly encourage market development so that current and future NGV owners have more locations that serve their vehicles.”
Highway Dist. 2 Commissioner
o Kenneth Palmer - 468
o Gary Wyrick - 548
o Michael Hart - 148
o Kenneth Leggett - 103
Newcomer Gary Wyrick claimed victory Tuesday as unofficial results put the 11-year county employee 80 votes ahead of incumbent Kenneth Palmer.
“I feel great,” Wyrick said. “I'm very happy about the outcome and glad it's over.”
Wyrick has said through his campaign that he will be a full-time commissioner and will be out among the people of his district, available to hear their concerns.
“Come the first of January, I will hit the ground running,” Wyrick. “I've heard many complaints about the road conditions and I plan to make a lot of changes to both improve the roads and save the tax payers money.”
In Commerce, 25-year-old Michael Hart earned 148 of 251 votes cast in Tuesday's special election.
Kenneth Leggett Jr., a former city councilman, was defeated in his bid to fill the unexpired term of the late Mayor Kenneth Dubois who died in February.
Hart said he sees a lot of things that can be improved within the City of Commerce and he is ready and willing to listen to the people.
“I'm definitely excited about the outcome,” Hart said. “I'm looking forward to the job and the opportunity to serve the community.”
Hart said the people of Commerce are what the city is all about and he's confident that he can complete the challenging task of seeing that the people are heard.