LAWTON – Declaring a winner of the Ward 4 race for the Lawton City Council would be premature in light of the death of candidate Barbara Curry, city officials said Wednesday.
“Results must be certified by the Comanche County Election Board in consultation with the Comanche County District Attorney’s Office,” officials said in a news release. “The city of Lawton withholds comment until a determination can be made on the outcome of the Ward 4 Lawton City Council election.”
The city reported Curry’s death on Wednesday, but the circumstances were not disclosed.
Lawton will miss Curry’s energy and the positive atmosphere that surrounded her, Mayor Stan Booker said in a written statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband, Leon; her two sons, James Curry and Jalonni Blackshear; her spiritual sisters Lawanda Jones, Angelia Chisley and Cynthia Sosa; and her entire family,” Booker said. “Today we mourn the loss of our friend, celebrate her life and comfort her family.”
Curry was a longtime community volunteer, activist and founder of the Women that Vote! Arts Corporation. She was one of three candidates for the Ward 4 seat on the council, along with real estate developer George Gill and University Church of Christ Pastor Eric Sharum.
Gill came in first in the Ward 4 race with 344 votes, or 44.73% of the total, according to unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board. Curry finished second with 220 votes, or 28.61%.
The third candidate in the race, University Church of Christ Pastor Eric Sharum, finished last with 205 votes – 26.66% of the total.
Since neither Gill nor Curry won a simple majority of the vote – 50% plus one – Tuesday, both candidates would have advanced to the Nov. 8 general-election ballot under normal circumstances. But Curry’s death raised questions about how to proceed.
Election board officials said Wednesday afternoon that they were awaiting clarification from the DA’s office.
In other election-related developments, Lawton City Councilwoman Linda Chapman fended off a challenge from her opponent, Cartessa Smith.
Chapman captured 410 votes, or 71.93% of the total, according to unofficial election results. Smith finished with 160 votes, or 28.07% of the total.