State Senate District 22 Special Election
Bice was elected to the state Senate in 2014 and won reelection in 2018. The winner of the special election will fill the remainder of Bice’s 4-year term, and the seat will come up again for election in 2022. Senate District 22 includes parts of north Oklahoma City, Edmond, Piedmont, and Yukon in northern Oklahoma County and eastern Canadian County.
During the December 7, 8, and 9 candidate filing period, two Democrats and four Republicans filed for the seat. However, on December 16, the Oklahoma State Election Board determined that two of the candidate – Rob Johnson and Darrick Matthews – were not eligible and were stricken from the ballot. Johnson and Matthews had each challenged each other’s eligibility. Johnson maintained Matthews was not a registered voter for six consecutive months before he filed for the seat, while Matthews argued Johnson no longer lives inside the District 22 boundaries. Johnson held the seat prior to Bice, from 2010 to 2014, and opted not to run for another term.
The two Democrats that will be on the Primary Election ballot are Dylan Billings, 31, of Edmond, and Molly Ooten, 31, also of Edmond. The winner of the Democratic Nomination on February 9, will face the Republican nominee in the Special General Election on April 6.
After graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), Dylan Billing began graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma in August of 2014, receiving a Ph.D. from OU in Political Science in 2019. While at OU, he taught freshman level Political Science courses for five years. He currently teaches Political Science while residing in Edmond. He has been involved in his community, from volunteering to coach tee-ball to serving on committees for the City of Edmond.
Mary Ooten received a Master’s degree in Speech Pathology at the University of Oklahoma in 2013. Since then she has worked in both the adult and pediatric settings, but most notably she has been employed for the last 6 years by Oklahoma County SoonerStart, an early intervention program serving local children and their families.
The two candidates running for the Republican nomination are Jake Merrick, 39, of Yukon, and Keri Shipley, 48, of Edmond.
Jake Merrick is a Pastor, Author, Life Coach, and Trainer (True Cross Training) providing leadership coaching and personal development to individuals and companies. He was one of the nine candidates, including Bice, competing for the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District seat in 2020. He received 2.55 percent of the vote in the June 30 primary election. If elected, Merrick pledges to ban abortion, human trafficking, government shutdowns, and mask mandates.
Keri Shipley studied Marketing at New Mexico State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree. She worked as a legislative assistant for the Oklahoma House of Representatives, serving two Republican representatives in 2020. She is a former Deer Creek Executive PTO President, Creek Classic Race Chair, and Registrar for the Edmond Soccer Club.