John Russell was a graduate of the Oklahoma Military Academy, in Claremore. He served in WW2. He then went to OU law school and served in the Oklahoma House during that time. At the young age of 26, he was named Speaker Pro Temp. He departed soon after, to serve in the Korean Conflict. In 1952 he was elected to the Oklahoma Senate. In 1956, he faced a primary challenge from Tom Payne Jr.John W. Russell Jr. won the Democratic nomination in the 1956 Democratic Runoff Primary Election after recount of absentee ballots. This was challenged in District Court by Tom Payne Jr., and the court ruled invalid all absentee ballots, thus giving the nomination to Payne.The State Supreme Court later ruled that the District Court had no jurisdiction in the election and declared Russell the winner. But the Election Board didn’t post either candidate on the November ballot.
A retelling of the dubious escapades our past state leaders have been exposed for their role in.