- Ada, Oklahoma

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April 18, 2012

Sen. Paddack challenges foe's ability to run for office

Oklahoma City — Incumbent Ada state Sen. Susan Paddack is contesting the candidacy of her Republican general election challenger before the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Paddack, D-Ada, contends Fred Smith is ineligible to serve because he has been convicted of embezzlement in another state and has a past criminal record and pending warrants.

Smith, a Pontotoc County Republican Committeeman, denied the charges and said he would defend his candidacy in a hearing before the election board at 10 a.m. Monday in the former Court of Criminal Appeals Courtroom at the state capitol north hall.

Paddack, who has served two terms for District 13, alleges in her election board petition that Smith:

• Is not a registered voter and not eligible to be a candidate for the Oklahoma State Senate District 13.

• Is not a qualified elector and not eligible to be a candidate.

• Is ineligible because he has been convicted of embezzlement in another state.

• Is ineligible due to his past criminal record and pending warrants.

The Ada lawmaker did not say in which state Smith had been convicted of embezzlement, a charge Smith vehemently denied in a statement Wednesday.

“Does this race have to be about mudslinging? Sen. Paddack has attempted to use character assassination to challenge my candidacy.

“I’m a man and all men/women make mistakes but not knowing what district I live in, embezzlement and not being registered to vote are not any of my mistakes,” the statement said.

“I have not been accused, convicted and/or charged with — by legal definition in any state — embezzlement. Nor do I condone any such behavior.”

According to Oklahoma District Court records, Smith has not been convicted of a felony or have pending warrants in Oklahoma. However, in 2011 Smith pleaded guilty to three misdemeanors — driving under the influence, fraudulant claim of emergency and protection order violation, according to the Pontotoc County Court Clerk’s Office. He was sentenced to serve one year probation.

“I made some mistakes,” Smith said. “Everbody makes mistakes. I’m not going to lie. I manned up to it and took the responsibility of taking the punishment for what I was responsible for. The DUI, that’s my fault, I’m not going to lie. One of those convictions is still being fought, though.

“As far as my voter registration, it is public record number 620053049 according to Oklahoma State Election Board,” Smith said.

Pontotoc County Election Board Secretary Marilyn McDaniel said Wednesday Smith is indeed a registered voter in Pontotoc County.

Sen. Paddack was not available for comment Wednesday despite repeated attempts to reach her by The Ada News.

On his Facebook page, Smith, 28, identifies himself at being born in Texas in 1983. His Facebook profile says he served 10 years in the U.S. Army and has been deployed on several “combat tours.” He moved to Ada upon ending his military career and has attended East Central University, it further states.

Smith denies the allegations against him on several Facebook posts and said he intends to fight to stay in the race. On Facebook, he calls Paddack’s allegations “a last-ditch effort to try and stop me from running against her.”

Paddack’s petition was filed April 17. Both filed for the District 13 seat last week. Neither drew a primary election opponent which means they would face each other in the fall general election.


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