Tulsa Co. Election Board votes to keep James Rea on ballot for District 2 County Commissioner

TULSA COUNTY, Okla. — After more than two hours of presenting evidence, reviewing documents, and deep diving into details, the Tulsa County Election Board voted to keep James Rea, a candidate running for District 2 County Commissioner, on the ballot.

The burden of proof fell on Maria Barnes, who contested Rea’s candidacy.

Barnes is also running as a Democrat for District 2 County Commissioner.

The issue at hand is whether Rea resided in the district for the required amount of time, which is six months before filing for candidacy, and if the home is his primary residence.

The back and forth included objections and discrepancies, mainly from the side that represented Rea.

“This is just a normal part of the democratic process, ensuring election integrity,” Rea said. “I don’t mind it. I believe the merits were on our side and we’d have a good result.”

Members of the Tulsa County Election Board questioned what it means to legally reside in a home and legally maintain a home.

Rea testified that he moved into his house in District 2 on Oct. 2. He said he was doing some remodeling work and sleeping on a cot.

The facts presented got so detailed, Rea testified he moved his large dog, the dog’s food, and bought a dog crate for the home in District 2.

In the end, the board voted to allow Rea to remain a democratic option on the ballot for the primary election on June 18. The board said their decision is final.

Sarah Gray, also a democrat running for District 2 County Commissioner,  attended the hearing alongside Barnes as a factual witness.

“I am a little bit disappointed,” Gray said. “I do wish that we had the opportunity to get more deeply into what the real intent of residence was.”

Both Gray and Rea said they look forward to continuing their campaigns leading up to the primary election.

Gray said she and Barnes are determining their next steps in the appeals process.





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