Utility Regulator Anthony Keeps Seat

by Paul English, Business Writer

The Daily Oklahoman - November 8, 2000

State Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony on Tuesday became the first Republican in Oklahoma history elected to a third six-year term on the state’s utility-regulating panel.

With 707 of 2,202 precincts reported, Anthony had 205,567 votes, or 64.68 percent. Democrat Gilbert S. Bigby had 106,523 or 33.52 percent, and Libertarian Roger Bloxham had 5,723 votes, or 1.8 percent.

Anthony, 52, of Oklahoma City credited his lopsided victory to his eight-year record at the commission.

"I have a reputation of being consumer-oriented and fighting to protect consumers, which I consider to be my constitutional duty," he said.

"My record shows that I’m willing to fight, and I use that word fight because that’s what it’s required, to fight for open, honest government."

Anthony said voters "are saying that they want a corporation commissioner to protect their interests and to communicate their interests as these deregulation proposals are presented."

Bigby, 69, of Tahlequah and Bloxham, 72, of Tulsa were severely outspent by Anthony, who received more than $250,000 in campaign money.

Bloxham expected to spend about $500 and Bigby’s last campaign finance report showed less than $5,000 in donations.

Bigby ran a few last-minute television ads, saying that Anthony had done nothing for consumers, and that this is not the time for electric deregulation.

Anthony led the three-member commission in promoting telecommunications deregulation and has been vocal in advocating electric restructuring under certain circumstances.

"For a Republican to get 65 percent of the vote - the voter registration is like 60-40 the other way - and so obviously I enjoy the support of a large number of people regardless of their party affiliation and that means a great deal to me," he said.

His victory Tuesday made him the first Republican to win statewide election to a third consecutive term in a state government office in Oklahoma.

In winning his first term on the commission in 1988, Anthony received 53 percent of the vote, garnering 604,044 votes - a record for a Republican candidate for a statewide state government office.

© 2000 The Daily Oklahoman

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