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  OK 5: Mayor’s Entry Makes Primary a Clash of GOP Titans
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Last EditedArmyDem  May 25, 2006 02:20pm
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News DateMonday, May 15, 2006 08:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy Rachel Kapochunas
12:12 PM
May. 15, 2006

The addition of Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett to an already crowded field has made the contest to succeed outgoing seven-term Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook something of a battle of 5th District Republican all-stars.

Cornett joins two statewide elected officials, Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode and Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin; two state representatives, Fred Morgan and Kevin Calvey; and one lesser-known candidate, surgeon Johnny Roy on the roster for the July 25 Republican primary.

There is a good explanation for this surge of interest in the Republican primary: This central Oklahoma district is a GOP stronghold — President Bush drew 64 percent of the vote there in 2004 — and the primary winner is almost certain to succeed Istook, who is running for governor.

But with so many candidates, it appears probable that the nominee won’t be identified before an Aug. 22 runoff between the top two primary vote getters. The first-place finisher would need a majority vote on July 25 to win the nomination outright.

When asked Friday if he was concerned about having to play catchup in fundraising, since some of his opponents began collecting contributions last year, Cornett told CQPolitics.com that it’s par for the course in his political career. “I was outspent in my city council race and mayor’s race ... so I’m used to that,” said Cornett, who stressed that he will “raise enough money to be competitive.”

Despite his late entry, Cornett’s candidacy announcement last Thursday came well ahead of the state’s June 7 filing deadline. He had let it be known that he was contemplating a run, and one supporter, small business owner Ed Lynn, even set up a “Draft Mick” committee.
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