A Fort Gibson Democrat competing for the Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District post died Sunday, two days before this year’s general election.
Earl Everett, who won the Democratic nomination in the June primary against political newcomer Joshua Harris-Till of Tahlequah, died as a result of injuries he suffered in a two-car collision.
Everett, 81, was a retired educator and veteran of the Korean War.
His nephew Bill Everett said the candidate was on life support at a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for his injuries, when he died. The nephew, who had helped with the campaign, said Everett likely will be buried this week at Fort Gibson National Cemetery, but arrangements have yet to be made.
Fort Gibson Police Investigator Stephen Farmer told The Associated Press that Everett was injured in a car wreck Friday when he attempted to cross U.S. 62. The car Everett was driving was struck broadside by a second vehicle in the westbound lanes.
Everett suffered a stroke in April shortly after he declared his candidacy in the race for the congressional district that stretches across 26 eastern Oklahoma counties, from Kansas to the Texas. He spent several weeks in the hospital in advance of the June 24 election but was able to win 62.6 percent of the votes cast in the Democratic primary.
Everett ran unsuccessfully in 2012 among a field of three for the Democratic nomination in the 2nd Congressional District race. Everett said he declared his candidacy this year because U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a Westville Republican, didn’t “deserve another shot at it.”
Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins said Everett’s death “is tragic and unexpected.” He said Everett will be remembered for his military service and “desire to represent the people of Eastern Oklahoma.”
“Anyone that is willing to put their name on a ballot in order to be voted on by their peers as a public servant deserves our admiration and respect,” Collins said in a media release. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
Everett’s death leaves eastern Oklahoma voters with two candidates. Jon Douthitt is running against Mullin as an Independent candidate. He says he is “tired of the pay-to-play game that is the death of our democracy.”
Precinct polling will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today.
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or firstname.lastname@example.org.