Chris Reding will be the next county commissioner for Payne County’s District 2.
With 59 percent of the vote, Reding defeated Ruth Stover in the Republican primary. District 2 Commissioner Democrat Gloria Hesser announced she would retire this spring. No Democrat candidates filed, making Reding the de facto winner. Elected Payne County officials have a salary of $60,468.
Stover told supporters that she tried her best and was happy with how she ran her campaign.
“(I) didn’t waste any time or effort,” she said. “I don’t regret anything I’ve done.”
In all, 474 voted in the District 2 Republican primary. Stover said she wished that number was higher.
“I am disappointed at the voter turnout,” she said. “I felt it was rather low.”
Stover said it was too early to say whether she would run for public office in the future, but said anything was possible.
Oklahoma enacted a new campaign law in 2012 designed to give more time for overseas troops to send in absentee ballots. The law lengthened the election calendar significantly leading up to the Nov. 6 election, which means that while Reding knows he will take office, he will wait until Jan. 1 to be sworn in.
Reding thanked his family and campaign volunteers at a Stillwater home Tuesday night. He said that he will use the time to learn the job and prepare.
“The nice thing about having six months before I take office is I’ll have a chance to learn the building, learn the people, get more familiar with what’s going on and what ideas are in the works so that when I get in there I can hit the ground running,” Reding said.
He added he hopes to get an accurate picture of how the county operates so he has no misconceptions once he is sworn in. Payne County’s District 2 falls nearly entirely within Stillwater city limits, covering more than 25,000 residents. Because most roads in the district are owned and maintained by the city of Stillwater, the primary responsibilities for the District 2 commissioner focus on administration, representing Payne County on a number of boards and committees and the upkeep of the county administration building, jail and courthouse.
During the campaign, Reding said he wants to see the county take an active role in spurring economic development. Tuesday night, he reinforced that as a priority.
“A lot of the things we want to do ... (are on) the economic development side,” Reding said. “That’s really something that’s a big passion of mine for this county.”
NewsPress reporter Russell Hixson contributed to this report.