Sen. Ralph Shortey Resigns Days After Arrest For Child Prostitution
OKLAHOMA CITY - Sen. Ralph Shortey resigned his position, Wednesday afternoon.
Monday, Shortey hired defense attorney Ed Blau who announced the Senator would resign by Wednesday evening.
The Senate unanimously voted last week to remove Shortey from all his committee appointments and even removed his name from his office door, but stopped short of expelling him from the Senate.
Senate leadership is not responding to requests for on-camera interviews, but instead released a statement Monday that said, “The Oklahoma Senate reserves the right to take further action as necessary and the Senate continues to explore the options available. The Oklahoma Senate is fully cooperating with all authorities looking into this matter. Because of the pending investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment any further.”
The FBI is also investigating Shortey and executed a search warrant at his home Friday.
Shortly after the announcement of Shortey's resignation, Senate President Pro Tempore, Mike Schulz, issued a statement:
I have accepted Ralph Shortey’s resignation, which is effective immediately. To ensure justice is not impeded, the Oklahoma Senate will continue to cooperate with all authorities looking into this matter. My thoughts and prayers have been, and will continue to be with, all those involved in this tragic situation. With this resignation, the Oklahoma Senate now moves forward with the important business of the people of the great state of Oklahoma.
Senate Democrats issued a statement through their leader, Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) on Shortey’s resignation:
We are aware that Ralph Shortey has resigned his seat in the Oklahoma Senate. We are glad he has submitted his resignation effective immediately and that he made this decision in a fairly prompt and straightforward manner.
The people of Senate District 44 deserve a senator they can rely on and respect. They deserve to replace him with a senator who will be focused on the needs and concerns of southwest Oklahoma City as quickly as possible.
Therefore, we are calling on the governor to promptly set a special election at the earliest possible date to fill Ralph Shortey’s now vacant seat.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with all those affected by this situation.
Candidate for Shortey’s now-vacant Senate seat, Michael Brooks-Jimenez, issued a statement on today’s announcement. Brooks-Jimenez was Shrtey’s Democratic challenger in 2014:
Today, a chapter of failed leadership has closed. We find ourselves ready to restore the voters’ trust and bring integrity back to the office. For far too long, families in Senate District 44 have gone without a voice at the capitol. They deserve honest, faithful leadership that will show up and work across the aisle to improve the lives of Oklahomans.
The governor has 30-days to call special election to fill Shortey’s seat. Her office is refusing to comment, but a spokesman for the state election board doubts an election will be held before the end of the legislative session in May. A special election could cost taxpayers up to $44,000.
News 9 was told Shortey will be arraigned in Cleveland County Court Friday and he is expected to enter a not-guilty plea.