The sorest of losers?

On the face of it, there is nothing particularly unusual about this:

The losing candidate for Oklahoma County sheriff is asking county election officials to count the votes again.

Darrell Sorrels, a former sheriff’s deputy who works as a contract security officer for the U.S. Marshals Service, filed papers Friday seeking a manual recount of the race results.

Sorrels, 58, of Midwest City, also put up a $25,800 deposit to cover the costs of the recount.

This is all in compliance with the law: legally, any candidate may ask for a recount, but the candidate must pay for the expense incurred.

But here’s the punchline:

Incumbent John Whetsel beat Sorrels, 163,839 to 89,353, according to the county election board.

Historically, recounts have been called for after races finishing with splits like 50.2 to 49.8 percent, not 64.7-35.3. What’s missing from this story?


  1. JT »

    11 November 2012 · 3:12 pm

    Someone has some money to burn?

  2. Mark Alger »

    11 November 2012 · 4:02 pm

    The asserted counts bear no resemblance to reality? Obama got an overwhelming majority of the votes in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, too. That doesn’t obviate fraud. In fact, the actual percentages fairly INDICATE it.


  3. CGHill »

    11 November 2012 · 4:46 pm

    This was the only countywide race this year, so there’s no direct basis for comparison. And a total of a quarter of a million votes is consistent with the county population of 740,000 or so and the 384,000 registered voters therein; the State Election Board has already reported turnout on the far side of 60 percent statewide.

    Countywide, there are slightly more registered Republicans than Democrats (45-41 percent, unaffiliated 14). I’m thinking that this is at the basis of Sorrels’ complaint: he’s thinking he should have gotten about the same percentage as the GOP generally. Straight-party voting is still an option on Oklahoma ballots, but hardly anybody seems to do it anymore. (I never did.)

    Other ballot items in the county:

    President: Romney 58 percent, Obama 42.

    Congress (OK-4): Cole [R] 63 percent, Bebo [D] 32, Harris [I] 5.

    Congress (OK-5): Lankford [R] 58, Guild [D] 38, Martin [I] 2, Murphy [I] 2.

    None of these seems particularly out of line, and the State House races were largely devoid of surprise, so Sorrels is going to have to come up with some real zingers to explain this away. You’d think, if the Democrats were going to steal one race, they’d try to steal others as well.

  4. McGehee »

    11 November 2012 · 7:43 pm

    Someone might have done well to inform Mr. Sorrels that, as a general rule — unless, say, they’ve been picked up for DUI by one of their own subordinates — incumbent sheriffs seeking re-election tend to win.

  5. Tom »

    11 November 2012 · 10:58 pm

    He must have assumed that a lot of Republicans were going to pull the “straight party” lever. I ran into a pro-Whetsel Republican friend at a coffee shop that morning who actually DID mark “straight party,” forgetting that Whetsel was a Dem. Face palming all around.

    You’re expecting a lot if you assume that the vast majority of Republicans are that lazy or inept. After the fact, what are you hoping to find in a recount that went almost two-to-one aginst you?

  6. Dan B »

    12 November 2012 · 3:39 pm

    The straight-party theory is probably is most likely.

    When your campaign signs say

    Darrell Sorrels
    for Sheriff
    The Republican
    Then you’re just mailing it in and hoping fear of the Black Man is enough to win you an office you obviously don’t deserve.

  7. CGHill »

    12 November 2012 · 7:52 pm

    According to Mike McCarville, who pays attention to these things, Whetsel responded this way:

    I believe it is pure harassment and total lunacy that Sorrels and his band of conspiracy-minded supporters would spend more than $25,000 to make the Election Board hand recount the ballots cast in this election. We know that Sorrels was accompanied to the Election Board yesterday by his attorney Stephen Jones, Al Gerhart of the Sooner Tea Party, and conspiracy theorist Charles Key. Evidently, the only person not available to accompany Sorrels yesterday was Elvis.

    Being dead and all, Elvis presumably would support Democrats.

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