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Treat warns Gov. Stitt not to meddle in Oklahoma Senate elections

Gov. Kevin Stitt delivers his State of the State address on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, at the Oklahoma State Capitol.
Legislative Service Bureau
Gov. Kevin Stitt delivers his State of the State address on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat on Thursday warned Gov. Kevin Stitt against targeting Republican senators who are up for re-election.

“It is going to be very unwelcome if he tries to take out members of our caucus, and I know there are strong rumors to that end that he is seeking to take out good members of the Republican caucus.

“That would not be received well inside this building nor would it be received well outside this building,” Treat said.

Treat, R-Oklahoma City, who is term-limited, said he would work against such an effort. Lawmakers are limited to 12 years.

Treat was asked about it during his weekly press availability.

The move would put Stitt on worse footing with Senate Republicans than he already is, Treat said.

Stitt, a Republican, is serving his second and final term in the Governor’s Office.

Stitt and some Republican senators have been at odds over tax cuts, gaming compacts and other issues.

Stitt wants more tax cuts, while Treat said his caucus wouldn’t go any further than eliminating the state portion of the sales tax on groceries.

Treat said lawmakers have also provided school choice and outlawed abortion, issues important to Stitt.

“This is a very small community when it comes to the political world,” Treat said. “I know he is fairly new to it, but all of us talk and so it is even a smaller group of people who fund these ventures.”

Treat said senators have heard from people who have been “hit up” by Stitt’s operation to go after some Republican senators.

“It is a very stupid move if he really is doing it, if the rumors are true,” Treat said.

Republicans have a supermajority in both chambers and control all statewide elected offices.

Stitt’s office did not respond by deadline.

Former Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman A.J. Ferate said he had no first-hand knowledge of the matter, but based on polling, Stitt remains very popular statewide.

“The popularity of the governor is enough that candidates continue to seek his support, so depending on the level of funding and design of the program, the governor’s effort could be very effective,” Ferate said.

Filing for office is April 3-5.

All 101 House seats and 26 Senate posts will be up for grabs. Odd-numbered Senate seats are on the ballot plus two even-numbered districts, District 46 and District 48.

Oklahoma Voice is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oklahoma Voice maintains editorial independence.

Barbara Hoberock is a senior reporter with Oklahoma Voice. She began her career in journalism in 1989 after graduating from Oklahoma State University. She began with the Claremore Daily Progress and then started working in 1990 for the Tulsa World. She has covered the statehouse since 1994 and served as Tulsa World Capitol Bureau chief. She covers statewide elected officials, the legislature, agencies, state issues, appellate courts and elections.
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