By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
A few races began to take shape Monday as candidates filed declarations for 13 area municipal elections.
Monday was the first of the three-day filing period. Elections are April 2.
Election officials said there are some contests for which nobody has declared candidacies. Other races drew only one candidate — in some cases the incumbents — without a challenger.
Muskogee County election officials said the first day of filings was fairly brisk despite a bomb threat at the courthouse that resulted in beefed-up security. In all, 13 people declared candidacies in nine of the 23 contests slated for six of the seven municipalities where elections are scheduled.
Carole Hayes of the McIntosh County Election Board said the day was pretty busy, as municipal elections are scheduled in Checotah and Eufaula.
“We have one race in Eufaula that is shaping up,” she said. “And we’ve had five or six people file in Checotah, but nobody there has filed to run against each other.”
Hayes said no candidates have filed for the unexpired two-year term for the Ward 3 post in Eufaula. In Checotah, no one has declared a candidacy for city treasurer, an office that carries a four-year term.
Two contests are shaping up in three municipal elections in Wagoner County. But six other posts up for election this year drew no interest Monday. Election officials there reported no filings in the Wagoner City Council Ward I race or the unexpired two-year term for Ward 2.
In Okay, which has three at-large trustee positions up for election, only one person filed Monday. In Porter, where three candidates filed for two at-large trustee seats, no declarations were filed for town treasurer or for one unexpired two-year term for town trustee.
All of the municipal elections are nonpartisan and do not require filing fees. However, prospective candidates must meet eligibility requirements.
State law requires candidates to be registered voters “at an address (located) within the municipality, or of the ward where the office is from a ward, for at least six months prior to filing a declaration of candidacy.” Filing a declaration of candidacy in a nonpartisan municipal election has no effect upon a filer’s party affiliation.
Election officials said declarations may be filed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday and ending Wednesday in the appropriate counties. Challenges or candidate contests must be filed by 5 p.m. Friday.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.