3 file for commissioner, sheriff’s races

Mike ErwinJournal-Capital
3 file for commissioner, sheriff’s races

Osage County voters should have three-person races for sheriff and county commissioner to ponder in 2016, according to declarations of candidacy made Wednesday through Friday at the county election board.

Political campaigns will continue heating up for June 28 primaries — with possible Aug. 23 runoffs — and the general election in November.

Two Osage County office-holders drew no opponents during the filing period. County Clerk Shelia Bellamy was uncontested for another term, which will run from 2017-20. Jennifer Burd received a four-year term as court clerk.

The top assistants of retiring Sheriff Ty Koch were among the trio of candidates seeking to succeed him as head of the Osage County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Charlie Cartwright and Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown are headed for a dual in the Democratic primary. Winner of that contest will advance to the Nov. 8 general election and a showdown with former Osage County deputy Eddie Virden, a Republican.

Meanwhile, Osage County’s Republican primary voters will decide which Skiatook challenger will face incumbent Osage County District 2 Commissioner Scott Hilton in November. Kevin Paslay, 59, and Joel R. Blankenship, 58, each have made previous bids to unseat Hilton, a 57-year-old Skiatook Democrat who has been District 2 commissioner since 1997.

Cartwright, a 62-year-old Fairfax resident, has been in law enforcement since 1979 and began working at the Osage County Sheriff’s Office in 1997. He was jail administrator for two years before joining the Investigations Division in 2004 and earned promotion to chief criminal investigator the following year. As Chief Deputy since 2008, Cartwright supervises all OCSO criminal investigators and patrol officers.

Brown, 61, of Skiatook, has been in law endorcement since 1989. She began working with the OCSO as a communication’s supervisor in 1998 and became a field deputy the same year. Promoted to investigator in 2002, Brown was appointed undersheriff in May 2005. She also is active with the Democratic Party of Osage County.

Virden, 49, is a rural Pawhuska resident, is ex-Osage County investigator who formerly headed drug task forces for Osage, Pawnee, Washington and Nowata counties. He has been in law enforcement since 1988.

Koch announced retirement plans earlier this year. The Fairfax lawman, who has served 25 years with the OCSO, was first elected as sheriff in 2006. Osage County Commissioners had appointed Koch to the position on April 25, 2005, following the death of Sheriff Wes Penland.

Bellamy has worked in the county clerk’s office for more than 15 years. The 59-year-old Pawhuskan was appointed county clerk in December 2011 upon the retirement of Denny Hutson. She defeated foes handily in the 2012 Democratic primary and general elections.

Unopposed in the quest for a first full term as court clerk was Burd, a 44-year-old Pawhuska Democrat. Burd was appointed in November 2014 to succeed her retired predecessor as court clerk, Angie Bruce.

A couple filings of local interest also occurred last week at the Oklahoma State Election Board in Oklahoma City.

Former longtime Pawhuska City Council member Cathy Ross filed as a Democratic candidate for the District 36 House of Representatives set currently held by Hominy Republican Sean Roberts. Also seeking the seat will be Chuck Bretanus, a Republican from Skiatook.

District 3 U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-Cheyenne) drew a Republican foe in Desiree Brown of Hennessey and a Democratic challengers in Frankie Robbins of Medford.