By Conrad Dudderar
In a surprise move, a Canadian County commissioner has decided against running for a fourth term and instead will seek a state legislative seat.
District 3 Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart will not file for re-election in April.
Stewart, 72, said he intends to run for the “new” Oklahoma Senate District 18 in this year’s election cycle. Senate District 18 will officially move from eastern Oklahoma on Nov. 23 after the 2022 elections.
The district’s revised boundaries will include a significant part of the Yukon area and Oklahoma City in eastern Canadian County and Bethany and Woodlawn Park in western Oklahoma County
Although the filing period is still two months away, Commissioner Stewart isn’t the only potential candidate who’s already told people he wants to be the next District 18 senator.
Oklahoma state employee Hunter Zearley, who lives in south Yukon inside Oklahoma City limits, also has indicated his intentions to file for the elected office. Zearley, 27, is appointments and leadership assistant for the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Both Stewart and Zearley are registered Republicans.
Members of the Oklahoma State Senate are elected to serve four-year terms. Senators have a base annual salary of $47,500 and a $165 per diem.
The current District 18 senator, Kim David (R-Porter), cannot file for a fourth term due to term limits. She has been in office since Nov. 17, 2010.
WHO WILL IT BE IN DISTRICT 3?
The contest for Canadian County’s District 3 commissioner will now be wide open.
Stewart, of Yukon, has been District 3 commissioner since April 2010 when he succeeded the late Grant Hedrick Jr. after winning a special election for to complete the final eight months of an unexpired term.
A former 31-year employee of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Stewart is in the final year of his third, four-year term on the three-member Canadian County Commission.
The incumbent earlier indicated he would seek one more term representing District 3 but recently changed his mind.
Calumet small business owner Daniel Pugh announced last week he would file for the District 3 commissioner post. Pugh has previously challenged several times for Stewart’s seat, garnering almost 40% of the vote in the November 2018 election.
Pugh, 70, ran as an Independent four years ago after changing his political party affiliation from Republican. He changed back to Republican in January 2021.
Longtime El Reno Mayor/City Council Member Matt White and former Canadian County Commissioners’ Chief of Staff John Johnson have been mentioned as possible candidates to succeed Stewart.
Candidate filing is April 13-15 for county, state and federal offices. The primary election will be June 28 (run-off Aug. 23) and the general election is set Nov. 8.
Other Canadian County offices up for election in 2022 are District 1 commissioner, assessor and treasurer. All county officers are elected to serve four-year terms.
Also up for election this year will be all members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes districts 41, 43 and 60 that cover Yukon and surrounding areas. House members are elected to two-year terms.