Jan. 7—Ward 2 McAlester City Council candidate Justin Few has successfully challenged the candidacy of fellow Ward 2 candidate Richard "Rick" Dominic.
Members of the Pittsburg County Election Board voted unanimously to strike Dominic's name from the ballot after he did not show up to contest Few's allegations that Dominic was not qualified by law to become a Ward 2 City Council candidate.
Few alleged that Dominic had not met the requirements of the McAlester City Charter and had not resided in the city for at least two years.
Election Board members took the vote during a hearing held 2 p.m. Friday in the Training Room on the third floor of the Pittsburg County Courthouse.
District 18 District Attorney Chuck Sullivan advised Election Board members that state law says with Dominic not showing up to answer the allegations regarding the residency requirements, he is determined to have confessed they are true.
Joining Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tanya Barnes in voting "yes" to strike Dominic's candidacy were Election Board members Ted Kennedy, representing the Republican Party, and Peggy DeFrange, representing the Democrats.
With the striking of Dominic's candidacy, Few and fellow Ward 2 City Council candidate Myles Lear Jet are now the only remaining candidates for the Ward 2 seat left on the ballot. They're set to face each other during the Feb. 8 Primary Election. The two are vying for for a four-year term in the office currently held by McAlester Vice Mayor/Ward 2 Councilor Cully Stevens, who did not file for reelection to the post.
Following the hearing, Few spoke of how his protesting Dominic's candidacy came about.
"It was brought to my attention he may not have lived in town for the required two years," Few said. "I did some investigation and asked the election board for verification."
Voter registration records checked by the News-Capital in the Pittsburg County Election Board Office show that Dominic registered to vote on June 3, 2020.
Few had to present a certified check for $250 in order to contest Dominic's candidacy for the Ward 2 seat. If Dominic had attended the hearing to respond, he also would have been required to present a certified $250 check.
Barnes said that since Few's challenge was successful, he will get part of the check back — minus $35 each for the Republican and Democrat representatives on the election board. Another $50 will be deducted for the cost of service from the Pittsburg County Sheriff's Office, meaning Few should have $130 refunded.
In another race on the Feb. 8 ballot, current Ward 4 City Councilor Randy Roden and former McAlester Mayor Kevin Priddle are both seeking the Ward 4 Council seat. Roden won a September election to fill the unexpired term of longtime Ward 4 Councilor and Vice Mayor James Brown, who died in February 2021 while being treated for COVID-19. They are seeking a four-year term in the Ward 4 office.
Two more city council candidates won city council seats after they were the only ones to file for the post they were seeking.
Cliff House won the Ward 3 city council seat, left vacant by the resignation of Steve Cox, after he was the only candidate to file for the office.
Kevin Beaty was the only candidate to file for the Ward 6 post, with current Ward 6 Councilor Zach Prichard not filing for reelection.
Early voting in the Feb. 8 city council election is set for 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Feb. 3 and 4, which is the Thursday and Friday before the election, at the Pittsburg County Election Board Office in McAlester.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.