By Jim EllisMarch 10, 2022 — The lawyer who defended 1995 Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, the perpetrator who was later executed in 2001, has petitioned the Oklahoma Supreme Court challenging the state’s new special election law.
Last year, the Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that now allows US Sen. Jim Inhofe (in this case) to irrevocably declare that he would resign his position at the end of the year in order to conduct a concurrent special election to coincide with the current election calendar. Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) signed the bill into law.
Attorney Stephen Jones, himself a former US Senate candidate — he challenged then-Sen. David Boren in the 1990 Democratic primary and attracted just 17 percent of the vote — filed his challenge late Monday, and asked the high court to freeze the current Senate candidate filing period with respect to the special election. The legal move was made just after Gov. Stitt officially set the special election to run concurrently with the 2022 regular midterm election calendar.
Individuals have until April 15 to file for this year’s elections, and several, US Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville), state Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow), former National Security Council staff head Alex Gray, and Inhofe former chief of staff Luke Holland, have already announced that they will enter the special Senate election. The Oklahoma primary is June 28. If no candidate receives majority support, the top two finishers advance to an Aug. 23 runoff election.
The legislature passed the bill last year, and Gov. Stitt signed the legislation that created the current system — which is, that if a letter is filed with the proper state authorities prior to March 1 of an even-numbered year containing a date certain as to when the office holder will officially resign, the succeeding special election to replace that person can proceed within the regular election calendar even though the person affected remains in office. Sen. Inhofe met those required conditions.