By Conrad Dudderar
A three-term Canadian County commissioner will take office in November as Oklahoma’s new District 18 state senator.
Yukon’s Jack Stewart defeated Hunter Zearley by a 54.8% vote majority to win the June 28th Republican primary election.
With all 25 polling precincts reporting, Stewart earned the victory with 4,160 votes compared to Zearley’s 3,431 votes.
Since Stewart and Zearley were the only candidates to file, this race has been decided and Stewart will serve the next four-year term in the 48-member Oklahoma State Senate.
District 18 is a “new” seat in eastern Canadian County and western Oklahoma County.
“I look forward to the tremendous opportunity afforded me to serve the citizens of the new Senate 18 district,” Stewart said. “I’m excited to get started.”
Stewart, of Meadow Run Court in Stone Mill, has spent the past 12 years as Canadian County’s District 3 commissioner. He has been a registered professional civil engineer for more than 40 years.
“I do have a great deal of regret about giving up District 3 commissioner,” Stewart added. “It has become part of me. I love the people and I love the territory.
“It’s going to be sad giving that up but I’m also very much excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish in the future with the new Senate district. The district is centered on this area.”
After legislative redistricting, Senate District 18 will officially move from eastern Oklahoma after the 2022 election cycle.
District 18’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.
Sen.-elect Stewart realizes this week’s victory could not have been obtained without a “tremendous team effort.”
“There were so many people involved – a lot of family and a lot of friends – who were committed and showed up almost every time we had something scheduled to do,” he said.
“There were so many loyal family and loyal friends who were eager for this victory for the district, as well as for me personally. And I am so appreciative.”
New state legislative district lines go into effect this November after the general election.
When Stewart takes office, District 18 will cover most of Yukon city limits – except for south of Interstate 40 and west of Mustang Road.
District 18 has covered parts of Cherokee, Mayes, Muskogee, Tulsa, and Wagoner counties.
MAKING DISTRICT A ‘BETTER PLACE’
Zearley, of Rutland Terrace in Westbury South, congratulated his opponent after the results were tallied.
“I hope he and I can work together going forward to help make District 18 an even better place,” Zearley said of Stewart. “I may be disappointed in the results, but I want the people of District 18 to know even though I will not be their senator they can always reach out to me to help them.”
He welcomes people to contact him at (918) 645-6368.
Zearley works at the Oklahoma State Capitol, serving House Speaker Charles McCall as Republican leadership as appointments director and leadership assistant.
“I want to serve this community and it may not be in the capacity of a senator, but I will do what I can for my district,” he added. “I met so many great individuals the last few months and that is worth it to me.”
Zearley thanked the 3,431 people who trusted him with their vote and confidence to serve District 18. He also expressed gratitude to all his friends and family who gave up their time during the last six months to help him on the campaign.
“People of District 18, we have a lot of great years ahead of us,” Zearley said. “Let’s work together to make this a great place! God bless.”
‘HUNGRY FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT’
As Tuesday’s primary winner, Stewart will succeed Kim David (R-Porter) as District 18 state senator. David could not seek another term due to term limits.
Oklahoma’s state senators may not serve more than three consecutive, four-year terms.
Sen. David’s third term will end Nov. 23, 2022, and Stewart will assume office within two weeks representing Senate District 18.
The District 18 senator-elect thanked his constituents for their sincerity when he met them on the campaign trail.
“They are hungry for good government, and I’m ecstatic that they decided to support me to see that gets done,” Stewart said.
The incoming state senator will meet with other legislators and attend interim legislative studies as he prepares to take office this fall.
“Hopefully, I’ll ‘hit the ground running’ when I swear-in this November,” he said.
Meanwhile, Stewart will help Canadian County District 3 Commissioner-elect Tracey Rider transition to her new role.
“We’ll plan some trips to help get her familiar with the district, so she’ll hit the ground running when she comes in,” Stewart said.
He’ll also offer his advice as needed while Rider is commissioner.
Referring to his successor’s accounting background and El Reno City Council experience, Stewart said “she will be great at the job.”
The next four-year District 3 commissioner term starts Jan. 1, so Stewart will have to leave office early to take his oath as the next District 18 state senator.