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McAffrey Wins 5th District Democratic Race; Norman Stormwater Proposal Defeated

Brian Hardzinski / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
Ward 5 resident Leslie Rard speaks during an August 15 community meeting about Norman's stormwater utility vote.

Voters across Oklahoma headed to the polls Tuesday to decide which Democratic candidate would represent the 5th Congressional District in this fall’s general election. There were also just over a dozen state legislative nominations up for grabs, as well as local and municipal propositions.

Updated 9:32 p.m.

Former Democratic state Sen. Al McAffrey will get another crack at Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Russell this fall in a rematch of the 2014 general election for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District.


McAffrey defeated retired university professor Tom Guild in Tuesday's runoff election with 50.12 percent of the vote. Only 13 votes separated the two candidates in June's primary, when each captured about 37 percent. McAffrey and Guild also faced off in a 2014 runoff, where McAffrey fared better. He earned 54 percent of the vote two years ago. Guild was the Democratic nominee in 2012, when he was defeated by then-U.S. Rep. James Lankford.

McAffrey now faces Russell and Libertarian nominee Zachary Knight in the November general election. Two years ago the former U.S. Army lieutenant colonel defeated McAffrey, who's a U.S. Navy veteran and former Oklahoma City Police Officer, 60 percent to 36 percent, with the rest of the votes going to three independent candidates.

Updated 8:58 p.m.

Norman residents overwhelmingly defeated a contentious stormwater utility plan, with a higher voter turnout than the city's April mayor and city council elections, and a 2015 sales tax proposal for a significant series of civic improvements known as "Norman Forward."


71 percent of voters cast ballots against the proposition.

"This proposal has lost the trust of many of the citizens of the city government," resident Shelly Karns Harris said on Facebook. "We all want clean water! We do not want it so very unfairly and without consideration of the hard working citizens."

Ward 5 encompasses roughly two-thirds of Norman's land mass, and many rural voters were concerned the plan asked them to pay significantly more than their urban neighbors. The plan was also strongly opposed by the Norman Chamber of Commerce, although many small businesses in the city's core supported the idea.

"The City will begin working next week on another rate proposal to put in front of voters as soon as possible," Ward 7 councilman Stephen Holman said. "This plan may not have been the one voters wanted, but make no mistake Norman needs a Storm Water Utility and the City Council will keep working until we get one voters will approve."

Updated 8:47 p.m.

Jet McCoy, the Oklahoma cowboy who competed with his brother on the reality series "The Amazing Race" has been defeated in his bid for the GOP nomination for a southeast Oklahoma Senate seat.


City councilman and former Ada mayor Greg McCortney earned 52 percent of the vote in Tuesday's runoff election. Neither McCortney nor McCoy earned a majority of the vote in June's three-way Republican primary.

McCortney will face Democratic challenger and public school teacher Eric Hall in November. The seat came open because state Sen. Susan Paddock, a candidate for state superintendent in 2010, is term-limited.

Jet McCoy's brother Cord McCoy also ran for a southeast Oklahoma House seat earlier this year. He lost his Democratic primary challenge to incumbent state Rep. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester.

Updated 7:39 p.m.

Results are starting to trickle in, and early and absentee voting indicates overwhelming opposition to Norman's stormwater utility plan.


Signs reading "Not This Plan" dotted Norman as part of a well-funded opposition campaign against the plan that would increase residents' and businesses' monthly utility bills by anywhere from a few dollars a month to $50-60. The Norman Chamber of Commerce is against the plan and wants to see a new proposal introduced. Many rural residents worried they would face an unfair burden without receiving adequate city services.

Original Post

Perennial Democratic hopefuls Al McAffrey and Tom Guild are vying to face incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., in the district that includes Oklahoma and much of Pottawatomie counties. McAffrey is a former state lawmaker who lost to Russell in the 2014 general election. Guild was his party's nominee in 2012, when now-U.S. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla. defeated the retired university professor.

Nominees for seven state Senate seats will be decided this evening, along with six in the state House.

We’re following the results through the evening as they come in from the Oklahoma State Election Board, so watch this post for updates, results, and reaction to the August 23 primary runoff elections.


Brian Hardzinski worked at KGOU from 2009 to 2017.
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