Brinkley resigns, special election set

Gov. Mary Fallin has called a November 10 special primary election to replace state Sen. Rick Brinkley.

Brinkley, R-Owasso, has resigned, effective December 31 .Brinkley is the target of a civil lawsuit filed by his former employer, the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Oklahoma, based in Tulsa. The organization alleges he embezzled more than $1 million to support a lavish lifestyle and gambling. He was fired in April.

He is the subject of a criminal investigation and a probe into his campaign by the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. The Oklahoma Ethics Commission also opened an investigation into his campaign.

Brinkley has denied wrongdoing in the criminal matter and is seeking a stay in the civil matter. He was elected to the Senate District 34 seat in 2010 and ran unopposed in 2014. Fallin set a Jan. 12 general election date. The filing period is Aug. 31 through Sept. 2.

Former Sen. Randy Brogdon, a Republican who held the seat prior to Brinkley, may run for the office. Brogdon currently is chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Brogdon could serve in the Senate and still be state party chairman. If elected in the special voted, Brogdon could serve the rest of Brinkley’s four year term (that began in 2014) and still run for one more full terms in 2018 without being term limited. Brogdon served two terms in the Senate before leaving to run for governor.