The Duncan Banner

Local News

April 11, 2014

Russell withdraws from District Judge race

Says he can't risk losing

DUNCAN — Stephens County Associate District Judge G. Brent Russell on Friday changed his mind and decided to seek re-election rather than reach for the higher post of District Judge.

Russell made the switch on the last day candidates could declare their intentions.

The entrance of Lawton attorney Ken Graham into the race on Thursday caught Russell by surprise, leading him to weigh the political and financial risk he would run by staying in the race, he said.

“The race is very likely to be decided by the public in Comanche County,” Russell said. “He’s known there and I’m not.”

The U.S. Senate candidacy of state Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, will substantially increase voter turnout in Comanche County, one of four counties that comprise Judicial District 5, Russell said.

With a contested, four-county campaign expected to cost  $200,000,  Russell, who still has one child in college, said he also had to weigh the financial risk of staying in the race.

He thanked his supporters in Stephens and Comanche counties who said they could raise the campaign funds needed and urged him to remain in the race.

“Their patience and understanding was priceless,” he said.  “Ken Graham has the luxury of being financially independent. The bottom line is if I lose, I’m out of a job. He doesn’t have that concern.”

Russell said he struggled with his decision while standing in line at the state election board at 4:15 p.m. Friday, 45 minutes before the close of candidate filing.

“It’s been a whirlwind the last three days,” he said. 

Russell announced on Tuesday he would seek the District Judge seat that will be vacated on Jan. 11 with the retirement of Joe Enos.  He filed his declaration of candidacy in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, the first day candidates could file.

On Thursday,  Graham, who lives in Duncan and practices in Lawton, filed his candidacy for the judgeship.

Graham, 68, said Russell called him on Friday afternoon to tell him about his decision.

“He and I still have a good relationship,” Graham said.

Even with Russell’s withdrawal, Graham still will have an opponent in the nonpartisan primary to elected a District Judge.

Joshua A. Creekmore, 37, a Duncan attorney, filed his District Judge candidacy on Friday.

When Russell filed for District Judge,  Marlow attorney Clinton D. Russell filed for the office at the behest of the Stephens County Bar, according to Judge Russell.

After he told the Marlow attorney he planned to seek re-election and drop out of the race for District Judge, Clinton Russell said he will happily withdraw his candidacy, the judge said.

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