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Voters to elect Lawton City Council members

Residents in south and west Lawton will go to the polls Tuesday to select representatives for the Wards 6, 7 and 8 seats on the Lawton City Council.

In addition, residents in the Velma-Alma school district will be voting on a bond issue for facility improvements, while voters in Cement will decide whether to extend a franchise agreement with Public Service Co. of Oklahoma for another 25 years.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the qualified precincts.

In Lawton, that means three incumbents will be facing five challengers as they try to keep their seats for another three-year term.

In Ward 6, first-term incumbent Cherry Phillips is facing a challenge from Sean Fortenbaugh, the man she defeated in a runoff election in 2014 to win her seat. Phillips is a local businesswoman who runs Fit for Life, an exercise studio for adults. Fortenbaugh, who retired as an Army warrant officer, is the owner of four Marco's Pizza restaurants.

In Ward 7, incumbent V. Gay F. McGahee is facing challenger Onreka Givens Johnson. McGahee was appointed Ward 7 councilwoman in October 2015 to replace the late Stanley Haywood, then won a special election the following year to complete Haywood's unexpired term. She is office manager for Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and a counselor for Comanche Nation Family Assistance Center. Johnson is founder of Next Step TLP and also is a certified behavioral health case manager with Lifeworks Counseling.

In Ward 8, incumbent Doug Wells is facing challenges from three opponents: Tom Leon, Jo Peters and Randy Warren.

Wells, who is seeking his final term on the council because of term limits, is retired from the Army and also is a retired management information services supervisor for the City of Lawton.

Peters is a registration supervisor at Southwestern Medical Center. Leon is retired from the Army, has worked as a substitute special education teacher for Lawton Public Schools and is a former councilman, having been appointed to the vacant Ward 4 seat in 1994. Warren, the owner of Warren's Imports, also is a former councilman, serving previously as the longtime Ward 8 council representative before he lost his seat to Wells in 2008.

Candidates must win 50 percent plus one of the total votes cast in that race to win their seats. The Wards 6 and 7 races will be settled Tuesday (unless there is a tie), but Ward 8 could result in a runoff election. Unless a candidate in that race wins the 50 percent plus one margin, the two candidates with the most votes will proceed to a runoff election Nov. 14.

The Lawton Constitution

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