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9:07 am
Sun July 22, 2012

Storied Oklahoma Politician Gene Stipe Dies at 85

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Former Oklahoma state Senator Gene Stipe, whose long political career ended amid a congressional campaign finance scandal, has died. He was 85.

Longtime family friend Barry Moore says Stipe died peacefully Saturday at home in McAlester following a long illness. Moore's wife Mary, daughter Beth, and other relatives were with him.

Stipe, a Democrat, had the longest continuous run of any U.S. state senator, serving in that role from 1957 until 2003.

Among sitting lawmakers, only Georgia state Senator Hugh Gillis' 56 years of legislative service eclipsed Stipe's.

Stipe's resignation came as the FBI probed his connection to illegal campaign contributions to the failed 1998 congressional campaign of fellow Democrat Walt Roberts. Stipe pleaded guilty to federal campaign violations and perjury in 2003.

Stipe's first wife, Agnes, died in 2002.

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