Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Democrats Choose between Newcomer, Veteran Officeholder

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Democrats Choose between Newcomer, Veteran Officeholder

Article excerpt

Democrats will choose between youth and experience on Sept. 19 when they pick a nominee for the crucial 2nd Congressional District race in northeastern Oklahoma.

The 2nd District is considered the best hope for Democrats to break the Republican hold on Oklahoma's congressional offices.

The veteran in the race is state Rep. Bill Settle, 62, a five- term House member who also has been a Muskogee city councilman and Muskogee County Democratic chairman.

The new kid on the block is Brad Carson, 33, of Claremore, a Rhodes Scholar who finished ahead of Settle, D-Muskogee, in the Aug. 28 primary. The two landed in a primary when a third candidate, Jim Bob Wilson of Tahlequah, got 16 percent of the vote.

The winner will meet Andy Ewing, longtime Muskogee car dealer who gathered an impressive 60 percent of the vote to win a seven- candidate Republican primary without a runoff.

Ewing was recruited for the race by Republican Tom Coburn, the Muskogee physician who is keeping his promise to leave Congress after three terms.

Democrats think they can recapture the seat, which traditionally had gone Democratic before Coburn's victory six years ago. Republicans are outnumbered in registration in the district, 5-2.

Carson won 12 of 18 counties in the primary, getting 45 percent of the vote. Settle got 39 percent, winning six counties.

Settle thinks he can turn the race around.

"We've been working real hard," he said. "I think we're doing a good job at turning some people around and holding on to the votes we got. I really think that with our organization, we can get the votes out."

Settle, who had stints as a U.S. attorney and teacher to go with his service in elective office, was a high achiever in the Legislature, becoming chairman of the important House Appropriations Committee.

Carson is trying to paint Settle as an entrenched politician who is relying on his support from his colleagues in the Legislature to win a place in Congress. …

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