- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Democratic challenger for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma who overlooked a change in his voter registration is among more than a dozen political hopefuls who withdrew as candidates for various political races.

Oklahoma City attorney Steve Perry filed as a Democrat last week to run against Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford, but Perry acknowledged Wednesday he changed his registration to independent several months ago, making him ineligible to run as a Democrat.

“I didn’t want the guy to go unopposed,” Perry said of Lankford, Oklahoma’s junior U.S. senator who is seeking a full six-year term in office.

Perry said he was pleased another Democrat - Mike Workman of Tulsa - would remain on the ballot.

“There’s no question he (Workman) had the qualifications as a member of the Democratic Party that I didn’t have at the moment,” Perry said. As a result of his withdrawal, Perry won’t get back his $1,000 filing fee.

Two Libertarians and two independents also are running for U.S. Senate.

Nine other people who filed for various seats in the Oklahoma House and three candidates for state Senate seats also withdrew their names from the ballot this week, mostly because they were not a registered voter in their party or district for the required six months before filing for office.

A total of 19 candidates, including two who withdrew, had their candidacies challenged by their opponents. Those challenges will be considered Monday by the Oklahoma Election Board.

Another candidate who withdrew was among the dozens of educators, frustrated over what they perceive as inadequate funding of public education, who decided to run for office. Jeremy Coleman, who works with special education students as a staffer at Cooper Middle School in Oklahoma City, said he became energized about trying to help schools and overlooked the fact that he didn’t change his registration in time after moving back from Tulsa.

“When we first moved, it fell through the cracks,” said Coleman, 27.

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Oklahoma candidacy withdrawals and challenges: https://bit.ly/1VCNvcA

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy


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