Democrats Elect Mark Hammons

Mark Hammons

Mark Hammons

Yukon attorney Mark Hammons is the new chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

Hammons, former member of the Oklahoma House, was elected during the 2015 Oklahoma Democratic Convention, held Saturday at Oklahoma City Community College with more than 500 Democrats from across the state in attendance.

Outgoing Chairman Wallace Collins had chosen to not run for a third term, opening the door for a new chair to lead the party.

A spirited race to replace Collins took place between Vice-chair Dana Orwig of Oklahoma City and Hammons, a Yukon attorney. In a vote of 306-216, Hammons was elected.

Connie Johnson, former senator for District 48, was elected vice chairman despite a last minute challenge from Tulsan Laurie Phillips; the vote was 322-198.

Donna Russell of Moore and David Ratcliff of Owasso, were re-elected by acclimation to the offices of Treasurer and Secretary respectively; neither candidate ran opposed.

From The Oklahoman: Hammons has been active in the Democratic Party since the early 1970s when he served as a state representative from Canadian County.

Collins congratulated Hammons and said in an email he “hopes the new officers will continue the work of the last four years and build on the strong foundation that has been laid.”

Hammons said one of the first major events of his tenure will be when the party decides whether to allow independent voters to participate in primary elections.

Hammons said he supports the idea but acknowledged that some in the party are opposed to opening up primaries.

“We pride ourselves on being the part of inclusion, and independents are a growing number of the electorate,” Hammons said. “I feel good about allowing them to participate in the process.”

Hammons promised there will be debate and discussion about the topic at an upcoming party meeting.

The following individuals were also selected individually to serve on the State Central Committee as Affirmative Action members: Earl Mitchell of Stillwater, Victor Gorin of Oklahoma City, Teresa Hill of Oklahoma City, and Giovanni Perry also of Oklahoma City.

A resolution to consider opening the Democratic Primary to Independent voters was tabled for consideration and debate until a later date.

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