The Edmond Sun

June 27, 2012

Political newbie ousts incumbent in Dist. 82

Thad Ayers
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — In what seemed to be unlikely odds, a twenty-something candidate, 50 years the junior of his incumbent opponent, won the Oklahoma House District 82 seat in Tuesday’s primary election.

Edmond Republican Mike Turner, 25, ousted four-term Rep. Guy Liebmann, 75, R-Oklahoma City, by garnering 1,315 votes, 55.79 percent of the total turnout of 2,359, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Liebmann received 1,043 votes, or 44.21 percent, but it wasn’t enough to get him a fifth two-year term in the house.

“I’m just overjoyed that the people of district 82 have selected for me to represent them at the capitol,” Turner said. “I’m excited to go to work for them and be the best representation I could offer.”

Despite being vastly outfunded — Liebmann raised $152,054.21 to Turner’s $108,240 — and outexperienced — Turner had never run for a public office — the newcomer said he was able to pull off an unlikely win by doing some door-to-door campaigning.

“Money aside, people want to see a reconnection to their Legislature,” he said.

Turner has billed himself as the change-up to the incumbent, painting himself as a person who is closer to his constituents.

“We communicated a message of new energy, fresh ideas and strong conservative leadership,” said Turner, in a statement. “It was a message the people embraced and one I plan to deliver on in office.”

Calls to Liebmann’s home were not returned.

“I don’t know whether I’m going to win or lose this thing,” Liebmann said in an interview Monday afternoon.

When asked, Liebmann said in an interview with The Edmond Sun that he was campaigning on his previous record, which included his involvement in pushing in an eight-year plan to improve Oklahoma roads and the state’s 706 deficient bridges as a House Transportation Committee member.

One of Liebmann’s most recent credentials in his eight years in service was the authoring of House Bill 2388, which requires the Department of Human Services to conduct drug tests on potential welfare recipients as a condition of eligibility.

The bill was signed into law May 16.

Turner is a graduate of Heritage Hall and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, with a master’s degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He is an inventor consultant and business investor.

In a statement, Turner thanked Liebmann for his services both at the state and local level.

“I know the people of our area share my appreciation,” Turner wrote.

Now unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election, Turner becomes the district 82 representative. He said he’ll be preparing for his new job between now and when he takes office in 2013.

“I need to study up on the issues and spend some time learning a lot of the issues facing the people,” he said.