Another low vote?

Less that 20 percent of the registered voters in Rogers County bothered to vote in the July 25 primary. In all probability an even smaller percentage will turn out for the Aug. 22 run-off.

Other than apathy, why?

In addition to the wave of voter lethargy that is sweeping the nation, the Aug. 22 run-off in Rogers County offers of the excitement of a three-legged turtle race.

Statewide, the November gubernatorial face-off has already been decided. Democrat Gov. Brad Henry will be opposed by retiring Republican Congressman Ernest Istook. Henry has a commanding lead in the polls so this campaign could become torrid and ugly.

The hottest race on the ticket for Aug. 22, however, will decide the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, which, historically has created little interest outside the candidates’ immediate families.

For some reason Sen. Scott Pruitt, Tulsa, and Rep. Todd Hiett, Kellyville, have decided that the next lieutenant governor will have a step up on being elected governor in 2010. These two went after each other like old fashioned Democrats during the primary, and will probably keep it up for the run-off. With their eye set on the governor’s chair in four years, this could be this year’s dirtiest race.

Perhaps political trends are changing in Oklahoma, but only three governors in state history have previously served as lieutenant governor, two of those in the 1920s. The run-off between Pruitt and Hiett will be the only race on the Republican ballot.

Democrats will also pick a lieutenant governor nominee at the Aug. 22 run-off. Term-limited Rep. Jari Askins, of Duncan, and political newcomer, Pete Regan, of Afton.

County Democrats will also pick a District 1 County Commissioner candidate, choosing between Dan Delozier, of Chelsea, a 28-year employee of the district, and Shawn Payne, Claremore, a Cherokee Casino blackjack dealer and son of retiring commissioner Gerry Payne.

Democrats in the western side of the county will be asked to nominate a candidate for District 74 State Representative between Wayne Guevera and Carl Weston.

Those who can’t, or would rather not go to the polls to vote in the run-off may vote absentee if they apply for absentee ballots before 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 16. Application forms are available at the County Election Board office, 216 South Missouri. Absentee ballots must be returned by mail in time to reach the Election Board no later than 7 p.m. on election day.

Good for Stoops

Oklahoma University Football Coach Bob Stoops is already highly respected nationally for his coaching abilities. Following his swift actions last week in dismissing two star-caliber players from his squad for rules violations should earn him the respect of all Oklahomans, football fans and otherwise.

He is the type of man who should be in charge of molding young people.

Pre-season All American Quarterback Rhett Bomar and soon-to-be star lineman J.D. Quinn used their athletic celebrity to land posh jobs with a Norman automobile dealership, and were paid handsomely for practically no work in return.

This is an absolute NCAA “no-no,” and an unpardonable violation of rules in place at the University of Oklahoma. For their sins, they were summarily banished from the University’s athletic program with no chance of ever returning.

It was not that the two players did not know the rules. They did, and so did the automobile dealer who tendered unto the illegal offer of “free” money. The dealership has been sold, but the culprit who made the deal with the two players is still around. He should be banned from the OU campus for life.

The coaches are responsible for controlling the young men, and they have a 510-page manual in place to guide almost their every move, but the coaches cannot possibly be with them every moment of their college life. If they were, few kids would even want to play college football.

So what can be done to keep this from happening again? Nothing.

If idiotic fans like the automobile dealer continue to whisper sweet deals in the ears of impressionable young athletes, no matter how bright they are, some are going to fall for the offers.

And when it happens, it’s good that the University has a Bob Stoops to deal with it.

Senator flees GOP

Sen. Nancy Riley of Tulsa bolted from the Republican party on Thursday and reregistered as a Democrat.

Her reasons for leaving the Republicans, she said, “The treatment I received from the Republican Party during the last legislative session and during the primary election was abhorrent.”

Riley, who is in the middle of her second four-year term, was given 23.5 percent of the vote in the three-way Republican primary for lieutenant governor, forcing House Speaker Todd Hiett of Kellyville and Sen. Scott Pruitt of Broken Arrow into an Aug. 22 runoff.

Although she received almost a third of the votes cast for the lieutenant governor nomination, Riley said she was “totally disregarded” by the Party. “I received no support, either monetarily or with endorsements or volunteers, from any of the Republican Party ...”

A former school teacher, Riley said that moderate Republicans are being pushed aside for the supreme right-wing agenda of the Party.

The move potentially would help the Democrats maintain the majority in the Senate — where they now out number Republicans 26-22 — during the fall elections.

The old curmudgeon

The Time Warner Corp. has reported a second quarter profit of $1 billion.

Funny, I didn’t even know Time Warner sold gasoline.

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