Merrick Wins Senate Race, Several Newcomers Win City Council Seats
Jake Merrick won the Senate seat once held by Stephanie Bice and several newcomers won city council posts in Oklahoma City, Norman Stillwater and Broken Arrow.
MERRICK ELECTED TO BICE'S SENATE SEAT
The state Senate seat once held by now-Congresswoman Stephanie Bice was up for reelection on Tuesday. Oklahoma State Senate District 22 is a T-shaped district in parts of northern Oklahoma County and Eastern Canadian County. It encompasses the city of Piedmont and part of the Lake Hefner area.
The race between Republican Jake Merrick and Democrat Molly Ooten resulted in Merrick taking the win with 65-percent of the vote.
Merrick, a business owner and minister who supports an end to abortion in the state, will take over for Bice whose race for Congressional District 5 against incumbent Kendra Horn last November opened up her state Senate seat in a special general election.
Merrick will serve as state Senator until the seat is up for election again in 2022.
CITY COUNCIL ELECTIONS
City council elections also took place across parts of Oklahoma on Tuesday.
With 52-percent of the vote, Kelly Lynn narrowly defeated incumbent Alison Petrone in the runoff election for the Norman City Council’s Ward 3 seat. Lynn was endorsed by Unite Norman, the group that recently led a failed effort to recall Petrone for supporting a decrease in the police department’s budget last year.
In the Oklahoma City Council runoff elections, U.S. Army veteran Bradley Carter captured the Ward 1 seat in northwest OKC with 54-percent of the vote, He replaces James Greiner, who did not seek reelection for a third term. Meanwhile, Barbara Young won the Ward 3 seat in southwest OKC with nearly 57-percent of the vote. Young replaces Larry McAtee who did not seek reelection after holding the Ward 3 seat for 20 years.
There were three candidates running for the Broken Arrow City Council’s Ward 1 seat, but incumbent Debra Wimpee, who has opposed mask measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, held on to her seat for another term with 40-percent of the vote. But in Ward 2, incumbent and current mayor Craig Thurmond was unseated by police liaison Lisa Ford, who received about 60-percent of the vote.
In the Stillwater City Council election for Seat 4, Oklahoma State University employee Christie Hawkins won over Ariel Ross by 59-percent of the vote.
EDMOND ELECTS NEW MAYOR
Darrell Davis was elected Edmond's 36th mayor with nearly 62-percent of the vote. Davis has served on the city's council for nine years and replaces current mayor Dan O'Neil, who chose not to seek reelection.
SCHOOL BOARD SEATS
Roughly 200 school board seats were up for grabs across Oklahoma on Tuesday.
School boards have faced plenty of challenges in 2021. From a lawsuit filed by Stillwater parents against their school board related to distance learning, to an ongoing debate about the safety of classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These elected officials are tasked with making big decisions for a total of 700,000 children around the state.
In Stillwater, incumbent Camille Frye DeYong and new arrival Marshall Baker won their races to serve on the school board. They won’t have to deal with the lawsuit that was dismissed last month, but tensions remain.
In Oklahoma City, Paula Lewis retained her seat as chairwoman of the second largest school district in the state. She fended off a challenge from fellow board member and longtime critic Charles Henry by a margin of about 300 votes.
For the winners of every election, how to move their districts forward in the wake of the pandemic will continue to be a challenge.
Full election results can be found here. All results are unofficial until certified by the State Election Board.
Voters in 73 of Oklahoma's 77 counties are at the polls on Tuesday to vote in various school board, municipal and special elections.
In a special election in Senate District 22, which includes parts of Oklahoma and Canadian counties, Republican business owner and minister Jake Merrick faces Democratic speech pathologist Molly Ooten. The seat was left open when Stephanie Bice was elected to Congress. The winner will serve as state senator until the seat is up for election again in 2022.
Two Oklahoma City Council seats are at stake in runoff elections. In northwest Oklahoma City's Ward 1, Army veteran Bradley Carter faces insurance agency owner Shay Varnell, and in southwest Oklahoma City's Ward 3, educator Jessica Martinez-Brooks faces merchandising manager Barbara Young.
In a Norman City Council runoff election, Ward 3 incumbent Alison Petrone faces lawyer Kelly Lynn. Lynn has been endorsed by Unite Norman, who unsuccessfully tried to recall Norman mayor Breea Clark, Petrone and other members of the city council. Unite Norman formed after the Norman City Council voted in June 2020 to remove $865,000 from the police department's proposed budget.
In Stillwater, two Oklahoma State University employees, Christie Hawkins and Ariel Ross, are vying to serve in Seat 4 to replace Vice Mayor Pat Darlington, who is not seeking reelection.
In Broken Arrow, voters will decide two city council seats, where mask mandates have been a hot topic for over the past year. In Ward 1, incumbent Debra Wimpee faces entrepreneur Jonathan Kelly and retired consultant Cathy Smythe. In Ward 2, police liason Lisa Ford is vying to unseat incumbent and current mayor Craig Thurmond, who has served on the council for 19 years.
Voters will also decide mayoral races in Beggs, Blackwell, Cache, Duncan, Edmond, Elmore City, Harrah, Heavener, Newkirk and Noble.