Two Muskogee County Democrats were forced Tuesday night into a runoff for the party’s nomination in the state House District 14 race.
Local rancher Jerry Rains snagged 41.61 percent, or 1,436, of the 3,451 ballots cast in Tuesday’s primary election. Bobby Jefferson, Muskogee High School’s wrestling coach, earned the support of 31.51 percent of District 14 voters with 1,075 votes.
Another Muskogee High School teacher, Jack A. Reavis, trailed the front-runners with 940 votes, or 27.24 percent of the total. Reavis, who teaches history and government classes, said he is going to “take what I learned to the classroom.”
Rains said he was pleased with his victory Tuesday but acknowledged the Aug. 28 runoff is “going to be a hard race.”
“They are two very well-known school teachers, so I thought we did a really good job,” Rains said of his opponents. “It’s going to be an uphill battle — we’ve got two hard months in the heat ahead of us.”
Jefferson, who predicted a runoff election was probable, said he is “thankful to be in the runoff.”
“I know Oklahoma City is about 150 miles away, but we’re one step closer to being there,” Jefferson said about his second-place finish. “We’ve got to get back out there and go to work — that’s the bottom line.”
Both candidates said they will work the next two months getting out their messages. Rains is running on a promise to return power of government into the hands of the people. Jefferson promises to be an advocate for public education.
Jefferson and Rains said part of the battle leading up to the primary will be funding their campaigns. Tapping into his pockets, Jefferson led his opponents in fundraising with contributions totaling $16,909. Rains reported total contributions of $4,700 through June 11.
Fort Gibson Republican Arthur Hulbert, a physical therapist competing for the seat left vacant by state Rep. George Faught, has raised nearly $40,000 for his campaign. Hulbert, who has $15,526 on hand, was unopposed in the Republican primary.
“Money is always an issue,” said Rains, whose campaign had $2,228 on hand June 11. “Fundraising will be tough, and dollars are tight right now.”
Jefferson, who reported $11,389 on hand during his most recent filing, said he believes his campaign “spent wisely and did all the things we needed to do to get where we are.”
“We’ll get out there and start beating the path again to do what we need to do to get things done,” Jefferson said.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot
Unofficial primary results
House District 14 — Jerry Rains, 1,436, 41.61 percent; Bobby Jefferson, 1,075, 31.51 percent; Jack A. Reavis, 940, 27.24 percent.