Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hungry Democrats Pick between Settle, Carson

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hungry Democrats Pick between Settle, Carson

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Second Congressional District Democrats decide Tuesday whether to reward veteran officeholder Bill Settle or put their chances for recapturing the seat in the hands of political newcomer Brad Carson.

The winner will face Republican Andy Ewing, a longtime Muskogee area car dealer, in a November general election race that could figure prominently in the Democratic drive to recapture a majority in the U.S. House.

It is the highlight of a runoff ballot so lean that it leaves many Oklahomans in other parts of Oklahoma with no reason to go to the polls.

There are no other congressional contests nor any statewide races. Only six legislative races are on the runoff ballot.

Lance Ward, state Election Board secretary, is not making a prediction on the vote total statewide, other than to say it will be extremely low.

Carson or Settle will emerge as the favorite for the general election, even though the 2nd District post has been held the past six years by Republican Rep. Tom Coburn, a Muskogee physician who is keeping his pledge to return home after three terms.

The two Democratic candidates wound up in the runoff when a third candidate, Jim Bob Wilson of Tahlequah, got 16 percent of the vote in the Aug. 22 primary.

Settle, 62, is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a former Muskogee City councilman, U.S. attorney and teacher.

Carson, 33, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and is a former aide to the secretary of defense in Washington. He worked as an intern for the late Mike Synar, longtime 2nd District Democratic congressman.

The contest has divided the loyalties of Oklahoma Democrats. Settle is backed by the leaders of the Democratic majority in the House and Senate, along with incumbent lawmakers throughout the 18- county district.

Carson is getting help from such well-known Oklahoma Democrats as Laura Boyd, who ran for governor two years ago, and former Gov. David Walters.

It has been a campaign of images and contrasts, for the most part.

Carson says he's the candidate of new ideas trying to fix a broken political system. …

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