Claremore Daily Progress

Our View

July 1, 2014

Primary election reflections

CLAREMORE —

As I was driving home from Claremore late Tuesday night, I heard the Eagles’ classic — “I’ve got a peaceful easy feeling....”  — playing on the radio.
After Tuesday’s election, I believe the majority of Rogers County residents share that feeling.
My thoughts about what led to constituents turning out incumbents in Rogers County:
• Changing parties in attempt to win the nomination is not always a successful strategy. Four years ago, District Attorney Janice Steidley ran as a Democrat but switched parties earlier this year. County Treasurer Cathy Pinkerton Baker did the same. Unlike Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton, who won as a Democrat and then changed his affiliation to   Republican, won his re-election bid. Steidley and Baker, however, lost their re-election bid. 
Prior to the primary election, Matthew Ballard also switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican. Changing parties, may or may not, secure a victory.
Julie Dermody, Election Board Secretary, said from September 2013 until May 2014 there were 575 people who jumped from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.
Rogers County has turned much more red in the past seven years and continues to get deeper red with more and more people joining the Republican Party.
• Republicans were not satisfied with incumbents. The three incumbents — District 3 Commissioner Kirt Thacker, Steidley and Baker — have been the subject of the multicounty grand jury investigation and report or state audits. 
These reports and audits caused voters to say it is time for a change. Each of the incumbents lost, (two of the three) — Thacker and Steidley — decisively. What voters said with their votes was they wanted calmness and professionalism to return to county government.
• Rogers County residents understand the restrictions on the sale of alcohol on Sundays and holidays needed to be removed. Their vote was not about morals, but about economic development. Could it be this restriction has been holding back the possible development of a nationwide chain restaurant from opening in Rogers County. Times are changing.

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