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OKG Newsletter


The givers

By Scott Cooper May 3rd, 2008

In what might be the most contested of the high-profile elections this year in Oklahoma, campaign reports for all three corporation commissioner candidates were posted. The seat, currently held by Democrat Jim Roth, is up for grabs this year since Roth was appointed to the position nearly a year ago.

Roth is the only Democrat in the race, but two Republicans are vying for the spot.

While knowing how much each candidate raised, I'm more interested in who gave. I like to see which well-known and well-connected Oklahomans decided to write a check for an office seeker.

Roth has some pretty big names in his bank account. Two names that jump out are Barry Switzer and Clay Bennett. Switzer has become a regular to state politics since hanging up his football coaching career. Bennett, the most hated man in Seattle, brings his personal wealth and celebrity status as owner of the SuperSonics basketball team to Roth's campaign.

Other Roth supporters of note: Tulsa mayor Kathy Taylor, former governor George Nigh and FOX 23 KOKH weatherman Scott Padgett. Roth also has two publishing families in his camp. Journal Record publisher Mary Melon and James Everest, husband to The Oklahoman publisher Christy Gaylord Everest. That's very interesting.

On the Republican side, state Rep. Rob Johnson of Kingfisher has former governor Henry Bellmon, former Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys and Love's Stores CEO Tom Love backing his candidacy.

The other Republican candidate, Dana Murphy, can tout a former Miss America and popular local television news anchor Jane Jayroe as a supporter.

This race might get the most attention come the fall. Very few statewide offices are on the ballot. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is up for re-election, but he has won landslide victories in his three previous election battles. -Scott Cooper

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