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Oklahoma City voters set to decide fate of new NBA arena

The Paycom Center
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Find election results from Dec. 12 here.

Voting continues Tuesday in an election to determine the fate of Oklahoma City’s NBA arena, as well as a pair of legislative seats up for election in Lawton and Edmond.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

For more information, visit the Oklahoma voter portal.

Downtown OKC arena vote

The new arena development would cost more than $900 million and would be funded almost entirely by taxpayers.

Oklahoma City’s Paycom Center has been the home venue of the Thunder since 2008 when the team came to the city. It opened in 2002, and is one of the smallest in the NBA.

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt has been a champion for the deal, which he says will guarantee the Thunder will stay until at least 2050.

“We have a team that wants to be here for the long haul, and our city just has to do what great cities do: We have to invest in ourselves,” Holt said in his State of the City address.

The new arena would cost at least $900 million to build, with $70 million planned to come from MAPS 4 funds and $50 million from the owners of the team — a deal that economists have panned. The remaining funds would come from a 72-month one-cent sales tax.

The city sent out a reminder to voters Wednesday that they may live in city limits and be eligible to vote, even if they have an address associated with a suburb like Edmond, Yukon or Moore.

“One simple way to tell where you live is by looking at your Big Blue trash bin. If it says ‘Oklahoma City,’ you live in OKC,” according to a news release.

Residents can also check if their address is in city limits with this tool.

Senate District 32 special election

Voters in Southwest Oklahoma’s Comanche County will choose between two party nominees in a race to be their new state Senator. The district includes much of Lawton, Cameron University and Fort Sill, Oklahoma’s largest military base.

Republican candidate and Elgin pastor Dusty Deevers will face off against Democratic candidate and insurance agent Larry Bush.

Deevers won his party’s nomination in October by a margin of 239 votes, while Bush handily won his race. But, the primary featured more than three times as many Republican voters than Democrats.

The winner will replace John Michael Montgomery, who resigned in July to become President & CEO at the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

House District 39 special election

Some Oklahoma County voters will also cast ballots for a new state Senator.

Nine people – seven Republicans and two Democrats – are running in a primary to replace Ryan Martinez, who resigned in September. Martinez's status as a lawmaker has come into question after he signed a plea agreement on a felony DUI charge.

The Republican side of the race includes community volunteer Kristen Ferate, retired Air Force pilot Tim Hale, former Assistant Attorney General Erick Harris, school bus driver Ronda Peterson, mortgage broker Cris Price, and Dr. Ross Vanhooser, a “semi-retired” physician. Meanwhile, Democrats will see small business owner Regan Raff and former Oklahoma Highway Patrol captain Paul Timmons.

The district includes a large chunk of west Edmond and a small portion of northwest Oklahoma City

There are no runoffs in special elections, so the top vote-getters of each the Republican and Democratic sides of the race will join Libertarian Richard Prawdzienski and advance to the Feb. 13 general election.

Voters can learn more about this election by visiting their local election board or by seeing a sample ballot on their voter portal via the State Election Board website.

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Robby Korth joined KOSU as its news director in November 2022.
Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
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