Democrat Candidate Dies, May Force Special Election

Among the numerous races still yet to be decided in the aftermath of last week’s midterm GOP wave is one in which the Republican candidate won overwhelmingly, but circumstances are forcing him to run all over again.

Oklahoma Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin won decisively in Tuesday’s election with over 70% of the vote. The problem is his Democrat opponent Earl Everett, who was involved in a car wreck the week before the election, ultimately passed away from his wounds the Friday before the vote, according to The Oklahoman.

Though thousands of voters had already cast early and absentee ballots and that most voters had no idea of Everett’s passing, Democrats are calling for a special election in hopes they may field a better candidate who might peel away some of those 70% of Mullin voters.

Though a special election has not yet been declared, Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General Scott Pruitt is expected to render an opinion on whether state law requires a special election in these particular circumstances.

Oklahoma Republican Chairman Dave Weston explained that there is no precedent for these circumstances and that state law does not provide for a special election, “This situation is different from a situation where a candidate has passed away before voting has started wherein the candidate can be replaced. It is also different from a situation where a candidate who has been elected passes away after which there would be a vacancy in the office.”

Though the Oklahoma Democrat Party is already surveying a number of candidates to select for the special election, few who know the district well expect Mullin can be defeated. The Oklahoma second congressional district is the seat formerly held by stalwart conservative Republican Tom Coburn.