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Voters return incumbents to Canadian County offices

And Chris Eversole


Canadian County’s two incumbent commissioners were easily re-elected to their posts Tuesday, each carrying more than 60 percent of the vote.

The most competitive race of the day was for District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart of Yukon, who faced a stiff challenge from Daniel Pugh of Calumet. Pugh was a familiar opponent for Stewart, who was seeking his third full term in office.

Previously, Pugh had challenged Stewart as a Republican. However, this year, he ran as an Independent to allow all voters to make the decision for county commissioner District 3.

Pugh focused much of his campaign on the current commissioners’ plan to relocate the county fairgrounds as well as their lack of effort to improve the county jail.

Stewart, meanwhile, focused his efforts on improving roads and infrastructure. And he did say that he supports a plan to relocate the fairgrounds.

Stewart said it would not be a one-time expenditure but would rather be a long-term project that would be paid for with existing revenue streams.

Voters approved Stewart’s re-election, giving him 7,782 or 60.48 percent of the vote. Pugh carried 5,085 votes or 39.52 percent.

Meanwhile, Republican Marc Hader easily carried his race for county commissioner in District 1. He received 11,119 votes or 72.5 percent of the vote compared to Libertarian Marcus Hall, who received 4,217 votes or 27.5 percent.

Hader said Hall faced an uphill battle because of is political affiliation. Hall is a Libertarian.

“The numbers were going to be challenging. I appreciate Marcus. I’ve been advocate for better access to the ballots for multiple parties. I want him to stay engaged,” Hader said.

Hader was seeking his second, four-year term in office.

Hader said his goal was for people to see that he is a person of his word.

“I feel I have kept my word and that is indictive of this race,” he said.

Hader also favors the fairground move, and pointed out that despite comments to the contrary, the project has been handled openly.

“We had 20 different meetings and made ourselves accessible. We had the public rollout at the (Canadian Valley) technology center where almost 300 people attended. … Enough people believed in us and our integrity that they didn’t take those things to heart. As we move forward, we are using a funding stream that is in place. We’re going to do it in pieces as we can afford it. It’s hard for me to imagine that the public wouldn’t be happy with that,” Hader said.

Meanwhile, Hader’s wife, Denise Crosswhite Hader was overwhelmingly elected to the state House of Representatives to represent District 41.

Crosswhite Hader, who works at the state House in an administrative position, defeated Jennie Scott, a school teacher. Crosswhite Hader carried 11,416 votes or 66.67 percent. Scott received 5,706 votes or 33.33 percent.

The office was previously held by John Ennis, who was term-limited.

“It feels good, but it wasn’t a one-man job. I appreciate everyone who helped,” she said. “It was a team effort.”

“This all started with nine people in this race who wanted to make the state better. We all worked to make the other candidates better,” Crosswhite Hader said.

District 43, which is mainly in Yukon, also has a new lawmaker. Jay Steagall, a local business owner, defeated information technology specialist Chantelle Cory.

Steagall, a Republican, received 9,631 votes, or 68.03 percent, while Democrat Cory received 4,527 votes or 31.97 percent.

Steagall replaces John Paul Jordan who did not seek re-election because he planned to run for a newly created judge’s seat. However, he later suspended his campaign after finding that he wasn’t eligible for the office.

Meanwhile, in District 47, voters chose Republican Brian Hill over Democrat Sarah Carnes.

Hill received 10,237 votes or 66.77 percent compared to Carnes’ 5,095 votes or 33.23 percent.

Hill replaces Leslie Osborn, who was elected as the state’s labor commissioner.

Steagall, Crosswhite Hader and Hill will begin their duties almost immediately. They will be sworn into office next week.

In the lone Canadian County Senate race, incumbent Stephanie Bice was easily re-elected to represent District 22.

She defeated Democrat William Andrews with 68 percent of the vote. Bice received 23,927 votes compared to Andrews’ 10,975.

Canadian County had two judicial races, both of which had candidates who suspended their campaigns.

Associate District Judge Bob Hughey narrowly defeated local attorney Rachel Bussett to retain his seat on the bench.

Bussett, who stepped away from her campaign late last week after discovering she had a conflict of interest with the Department of Human Services, lost by 1,681 votes.

Hughey received 19,897 votes or 52.21 percent. Bussett received 18,216 votes or 47.79 percent.

The newly created position of District Judge Seat 2 was handily won by Special Judge Jack McCurdy, who defeated Jordan. McCurdy received 26,226 votes, or 68.90 percent. Jordan, despite suspending his campaign, still received 11,836 votes or 31.10 percent.

Both Jordan and Bussett remained on the ballot because their decisions to withdraw came after the state election board deadline of Aug. 1.

Had either of them won, the governor would have needed to appoint a replacement.

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