Paula Sexton was so fixated on Tuesday’s primary election she forgot her husband Sid’s birthday.
Sexton easily held off challenger Eugene Blankenship, 5,066 to 1,767, to retain the Muskogee County Court Clerk’s office. Sexton won the seat outright, as no Republicans filed.
“I completely forgot it was his birthday,” Sexton said. “It shows you how myopic you get and how focused you are. But he got a good birthday present, he said.”
In other Muskogee County races, incumbent Dianna Cope beat Tanya Staggs to retain her county clerk position, and incumbent Kelly Garrett retained his county treasurer position, holding off Muskogee City Councilman Randy Howard.
Sexton has served Muskogee County as its court clerk since she won a special election in 2002. Tuesday’s was the first election she drew an opponent since originally running for office.
“You never forget how to get out and work, and you never forget how to work hard,” Sexton said. “It’s nothing but hard, hard, hard work.”
Sexton said it will be business as usual today.
“I’ll be a happy person to be at work (this) morning,” Sexton said. “It’s hard work, but it’s all worth it because it’s for something I truly believe in. You have to have the help of the people who care about you. God knows I did, bless their hearts — my family, friends and people at work. They worked so hard.”
Cope beat Staggs 4,385 to 2,374. It was the first race for both women. Cope was appointed in October to serve former County Clerk Karen Anderson’s unexpired term after working in the office for nearly three decades.
“I’m just honored that the taxpayers trust me enough to put me back in here for four years,” Cope said. “I look forward to serving the next four years.”
She said the race made her a stronger person.
“I’ve met a lot of nice people, and I couldn’t have done it without my family and friends and co-workers,” Cope said. “They’ve worked really hard, and if it hadn’t been for God I wouldn’t be here doing this.”
It was the first race for Garrett as well, after being appointed in 2011 to replace the late Glen Scott.
Garrett beat Howard with more than 71 percent of the vote, 4,837 to 1,903.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” Garrett said. “It’s just been a great night for us. It’s sure going to make going to work (today) a whole lot easier than the last three months.”
Garrett said he was amazed at how much work went into an election.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a job in my life that is as hard as that,” Garrett said. “It is very rewarding. It’s incredible to watch this unfold. I want to congratulate Randy on a real clean race. I was real pleased about that too.”
Reach Mike Carrels at (918) 684-2922 or mcarrels