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Oklahoma GOP voters advance Mullin, Breechen, Walters and more to general election

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Markwayne Mullin
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Markwayne Mullin speaks during a Mullin for America campaign lunch on Tuesday.

Mullin wins Republican runoff for Inhofe’s unexpired term

Congressman Markwayne Mullin won the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, beating former Oklahoma House speaker T.W. Shannon with more than 65 percent of the vote.

Mullin, whose race was decided shortly after the polls closed, has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. The crowded race to replace retiring Senator Jim Inhofe included state lawmakers, the former head of the EPA during the Trump administration and Inhofes handpicked successor.

Mullin will likely be the favorite in November in deep red Oklahoma, where half the voting population is registered Republican. However, his Democratic challenger is no stranger to federal office. Democratic Congresswoman Kendra Horn won against an incumbent Republican in 2018 to represent Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, but lost a 2020 reelection bid to Republican Stephanie Bice.

Horn ran unopposed for Inhofe’s seat during this election season, and will face Mullin, Libertarian Robert Murphy and Independent Ray Woods, on the November ballot.

Oklahoma voters will now decide whether Inhofe's Senate seat will remain red, as it has since 1994 – when Democrat David Boren resigned to take over as the University of Oklahomas president.

Madison Horn advances to face Lankford in general election

Oklahoma’s other Senate runoff race was between two Democratic candidates – Jason Bollinger and Madison Horn.

Stilwell-native and cybersecurity professional Madison Horn won the runoff with 65% of the vote, besting the Oklahoma City lawyer.

Horn will now face incumbent Republican Senator James Lankford, who has held the position since 2015, as well as Libertarian Kenneth Blevins and Independent Michael Delaney in the November general election.

Brecheen squeezes by Frix in CD2 race

In eastern Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District, the primary runoff for the Republican nomination was close, but former state senator Josh Brecheen got the narrow win against state Rep. Avery Frix by about 3,000 votes.

The available polling in the race had shown Brecheen trailing. He will be the favorite in the November general election, when he faces Democrat Naomi Andrews, who was the only Democrat to seek the office, and Independent candidate Ben Robinson.

The seat, which is currently held by Senate candidate Markwayne Mullin, represents much of the eastern part of Oklahoma, with more than 791,000 residents according to the U.S. Census. The congressional district also covers a good portion of Native land.

Stitt cabinet appointee gets nod for GOP State Superintendent nomination

State Secretary of Education Ryan Walters will be the Republican nominee for State Superintendent of Public Instruction during the November election.

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Oklahoma Secretary of Education Ryan Walters

Walters is a member of Gov. Kevin Stitt’s cabinet and campaigned in the primary on removing “woke indoctrination” from Oklahoma schools.

He defeated his opponent April Grace, Superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools, by about 15,000 votes.

Grace was primarily supported by public school advocates. Traditional public school district superintendents around the state threw their support behind her, some even changing their social media profile pictures to support her.

Walters has been criticized for how he managed federal COVID-19 relief funds, and federal investigators have threatened to claw back some of the money he helped oversee the distribution of during the course of the pandemic, following a report by online news outlets The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch.

The Frontier also found Walters failed to report campaign expenditures in his bid for State Superintendent — a violation of state ethics laws.

Walters was favored to win, though, after handily getting the most votes during the primary election in June. An Amber Integrated poll released earlier this month showed Walters holding a 14-point lead among likely Republican voters.

Walters now moves on to the general election in November, where he will face Democrat Jena Nelson, a former state Teacher of the Year currently teaching in Oklahoma City Public Schools.

Russ defeats Jolley in Republican runoff for State Treasurer

Term-limited State Rep. Todd Russ will be the Republican candidate for Oklahoma State Treasurer after defeating former State Sen. Clark Jolley in Tuesday’s primary runoff. Russ will move on to face Democrat Charles de Coune and Libertarian Gregory Sadler in November’s general election.

Current State Treasurer Randy McDaniel declined to seek a second term, saying that he wanted to prioritize time with his family. McDaniel defeated de Coune in the 2018 general election with nearly 72% of the vote.

This year’s Republican primary went to a runoff when Russ secured 48.5 percent of the vote in June, but did not clear the 50 percent majority necessary to advance to the general election. Jolley received 34 percent of the vote in that primary, qualifying him for this runoff, while former Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten did not receive enough votes to advance.

Russ is wrapping up his sixth and final term representing the southwest Oklahoma town of Cordell in the State House of Representatives. Unable to seek re-election to the state House due to term limits, Russ announced his campaign for State Treasurer last year.

Throughout his campaign, Russ highlighted his experience with banking and handling Oklahoma finances. He worked in banking for over three decades starting in 1983, according to his campaign website. As a State Representative, Russ chaired the House Banking and Financial Services Committee and served on the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

Russ and Jolley faced off in a debate hosted by NonDoc and News 9 earlier this month. Russ criticized Jolley for raising taxes on fossil fuels. Jolley accused Russ of using money meant for teachers to instead “fund a bloated government.” The pair discussed 2016 remarks in which Russ falsely said that Native Americans are predisposed to alcoholism, for which he later apologized.

Jolley also criticized Russ’s banking track record. Russ served as the president and CEO of Washita State Bank in Burns Flat from 2004 until he stepped down in the summer of 2008. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation accused the bank of taking part in “unsafe and unsound banking practices” under Russ’s leadership that contributed to declining home prices during the Great Recession. After the debate, Russ told The Oklahoman that he was not responsible for those practices.

Going into that debate, polling indicated that Russ and Jolley were nearly tied, although many voters remained undecided. In Tuesday’s runoff election, Russ defeated Jolley with just over 55% of the vote.

Throughout his campaign, Russ emphasized his commitment to Conservative fiscal policy and Christian political values. Russ told NonDoc that he intends to examine the state’s Unclaimed Property Program that reunites people with their mislaid assets.

Osborn gets GOP nod again for Labor Commissioner

Oklahomans nominated incumbent Leslie Osborn as the Republican candidate for Labor Commissioner.

Osborn secured a majority vote of 53 percent, while her opponent, term-limited representative Sean Roberts, received 47 percent.

Osborn is wrapping up her first term as Labor Commissioner and previously served a decade in the state legislature as a representative. As Labor Commissioner, she oversees workplace rights and safety issues within Oklahoma. If re-elected, she said she would expand efforts to educate high school students on skilled worker career tracks such as plumbing and electricity to fill that workforce shortage, according to The Oklahoman.

Meanwhile, Roberts will wrap up his sixth and final term representing Hominy in the Oklahoma Legislature. Throughout the past 12 years, he has been open about opposing tax increases, supporting pro-gun legislation and voted in favor of a bill to prevent transgender athletes from competing in women's sports.

In the lead-up to the runoff election, five Republican lawmakers called for Roberts to drop out of the race over concerns of domestic abuse in Roberts’ 20-year-old divorce. Roberts called the abuse allegations a “political hit job” by Osborn, although she has denied involvement. A press release from Roberts’ campaign managers included a letter from his ex-wife that said she has “nothing bad to say about him.”

Osborn will now face Democrat Jack Henderson and Libertarian Will Daugherty in the general election, on Nov. 8.

David advances in Oklahoma Corporation Commission race

The Republican runoff winner for the open Oklahoma Corporation Commission seat is Kim David. David, who was the first woman to be named Senate majority leader in state history, beat former Ada Representative Todd Thomsen with 59 percent of the vote.

The OCC is the regulatory agency for the state, particularly for oil and gas, public utilities and transportation.

David will face Democrat Margaret Bowman and independent Don Underwood in the general election.

Calvey secures GOP nod for Oklahoma County DA

With more than 60% of the vote, Kevin Calvey defeated Gayland Gieger in the Republican primary runoff election for Oklahoma County District Attorney on Tuesday.

This runoff election followed a close race in the June primary, where Calvey missed the 50-percent threshold by hundredths of a point. There was a recount, but according to the State Election Board, the results were not enough to avoid a runoff election.

Calvey, who is currently an Oklahoma County Commissioner, is under investigation by state law enforcement agents for alleged use of public funds for his campaign.

Calvey will face Democrat Vicki Behenna in November.

Oklahoma County Commissioner candidates advance

Both Oklahoma County Districts 1 and 3 saw commissioner runoffs Tuesday.In the District 1 Democratic runoff, just 120 votes separated the winner, incumbent Carrie Blumert from former teacher and lawmaker Anastasia Pittman. Blumert will now face Republican Willard Linzy in November.

The District 3 Republican runoff winner Myles Davidson beat Amy Alexander, a Field Representative for the county’s District 2 office, with 60 percent of the vote. Davidson is a former Chief Deputy for Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey. He will now face Democrat Cathy Cummings, a former city council member of The Village, in November.

Propositions

Newcastle voters approve nearly $80 million in school bonds
Voters in Newcastle approved two school bond propositions, totaling $79.7 million. The school bonds funds will go to updated school security, new storm shelters and additional classrooms to alleviate overcrowding and prepare for future growth. New school buses, textbooks and playground equipment are also included in the bonds, which will replace an expiring bond, so there is no projected tax increase for residents.

Bridge Creek voters narrowly approve school bond
Voters in Bridge Creek narrowly approved a $10.8 million school bond proposition. Oklahoma law requires a 3/5 majority – or 60-percent – to pass a school bond. The Bridge Creek bond passed with 60.7 percent of the vote. The bond will fund new classrooms at each school site and a science lab at the high school. There is no proposed tax increase for residents.

Bethany voters approve four city bonds
Voters in Bethany approved all four bond propositions, totaling $15 million. The GO Bond will fund improvements to roadways, five city parks and stormwater drainage. There will also be maintenance and upgrades done at the city’s police station, fire station and animal welfare facility. As a result, property taxes will increase by $3.83 per month for homes valued at $100,000.

Garfield County voters shoot down new jail bond
Garfield County residents overwhelmingly voted against a sales tax increase to expand and renovate the county’s jail. Nearly 63 percent of voters rejected the 0.3 percent county sales tax increase. The increase would have funded a $8.5 million bond aimed at alleviating prison overcrowding by adding 82 beds and 16,000 square feet, in addition to renovations to the current building.


ORIGINAL POST:

Tuesday's primary election will narrow the candidate pool for several federal and state offices such as, superintendent, treasurer, U.S. Senate and U.S. House races.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 a.m. We'll post results here as they begin pouring in later tonight.

Check your polling place

The state election board has some tips for voters.

After the recent redistricting process, some Oklahomans may be voting in different districts than they’re used to, or at different polling places. To make sure you’re going to the proper place to vote, visit the OK Voter Portal online, or call your county election board. Voters can only cast a ballot at their assigned polling location.

Sample ballots are also available at that OK Voter Portal website.

Another reminder: Oklahoma requires proof of identity to vote, so bring a valid photo ID from the state, federal, or tribal government, or your voter ID card. Otherwise, you’ll have to cast a provisional ballot that won’t be counted until after election day.

Ryan LaCroix is the Director of Content and Audience Development for KOSU.
Kateleigh Mills returned to KOSU in December 2019 as Special Projects Reporter, following a year-long stint at KWBU in Waco, Texas.
Robby Korth joined StateImpact Oklahoma in October 2019, focusing on education reporting.
Graycen Wheeler is a reporter covering water issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
Xcaret Nuñez covers agriculture and rural communities for KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
Hannah France is a reporter and producer for KGOU.
Beth Wallis joined StateImpact Oklahoma in December 2021, focusing on environment and science reporting.
Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma.
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