July 06--Two candidates jockeying for the district attorney's post in Muskogee County raked in nearly $100,000 leading up to the June 24 primary election.
Larry Moore, the incumbent, who finished second behind Orvil Loge, also trailed the challenger in the money race. The sitting district attorney, with a last-minute $10,000 loan to his campaign, reported contributions totaling almost $40,000.
Loge, one of two candidates competing against Moore for the Democratic nomination and the victor in the primary, outpaced the incumbent with nearly $58,000 -- that includes a $3,300 loan -- in pre-primary contributions. Rodney Brook, who finished a distant third behind Loge and Moore, filed no contribution or expenditure reports.
Loge, who earned 48 percent of the ballots cast in the primary, and Moore, who garnered 43.6 percent of the vote, will square off Aug. 26 in the Democratic runoff election. Because there are no Republicans contenders, the winner of the primary runoff will win the election outright.
Both candidates acknowledged the importance of raising money in a hotly contested election. But each had a different take on how money can impact the outcome.
"We knew it was going to take a lot to go up against an incumbent," Loge said. "From the very beginning, the people responded to the message I was getting out, and one way they responded was by contributing to my campaign."
Moore, who had raised more than $46,000 by this point in his 2006 challenge to unseat John David Luton, discounted the fact that contributions to his campaign lagged behind his opponent. Moore said he was able to topple the longtime incumbent, who had amassed a campaign war chest worth about $115,000, about two and a half times more than the ultimate winner.
"I've always said -- during my race in 2006 and during my race this time -- I am a commoner, and a lot of people I represent don't have lots of money," Moore said. My take on this election is the people can elect me as their district attorney without giving me thousands ... of dollars -- you have to have money, but I don't want people saying Larry bought this office."
As it was in the 2006 district attorney's race in Muskogee County -- Moore was re-elected in 2010 without opposition -- the power of incumbency typically brings in more contributions. Moore said the reason that hasn't been the case in this election is because fundraising has not been his focus.
"You can buy signs and put them on every corner," Moore said. "That is not what makes a person electable."
Loge and Moore will square off Aug. 26. Residents who are eligible to vote have until Aug. 1 to register if they have not already done so.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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