Oklahoma Watch
Monday, June 21, 2021
Capitol Watch

A (Way Too) Early Look at Oklahoma’s Upcoming 2022 Elections

Gov. Kevin Stitt walks with his wife and four of his children at the Republican watch party on election night in 2018. Stitt won with 54.3% of the vote as he defeated Democrat Drew Edmondson in the general election. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch) Credit: Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

By Trevor Brown | Capitol/Investigative Reporter

I don’t want to get anyone too excited, but we are quietly approaching the 2022 election season.

In just over a year, Oklahomans will be going to the polls to vote in the primary elections for governor, U.S. senator and a bunch of other statewide and legislative offices.

After the past year, I think many of us could use a break from another political election cycle. Candidates also can’t formally file for the races until Oklahoma’s late April filing period.

But since time waits for no one, here is a very look at what we know about who may throw their hat in the ring for two of the state’s major 2022 races.

Governor: Candidates so far have filed campaign finance paperwork with the state. They are:

  • Kevin Stitt (R): The governor has yet to formally announce his re-election campaign. But all indications show him running again. This includes holding almost $750,000 cash on hand, according to his latest’s campaign filing.
  • Ervin Yen (R): Yen, a former state senator, was the first to announce plans to challenge Stitt last year. Yen is an anesthesiologist who has criticized the governor’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Connie Johnson (D): Johnson, who served in the state Senate from 2005 to 2014, is no stranger to statewide races. She unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and governor in 2018, losing the primary to Drew Edmondson.
  • Natalie Bruno (L): Bruno, a marketing executive from Edmond, announced her campaign Tuesday. She has not held a statewide or legislative elected position.
  • Paul Tay (I): Tay is a perennial candidate on the local level, losing Tulsa city council or mayoral elections in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. Tay has had numerous criminal convictions.

U.S. Senate: Three candidates have filed campaign finance paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. They are:

  • James Lankford (R): The incumbent will be going for his second six-year term. He easily won in 2016 with 67.7% of the vote, carrying every county in the state.
  • Jackson Lahmeyer (R): Lahmeyer is the lead pastor of Sheridan Christian Center in Tulsa and a political newcomer. Lahmeyer, without providing specific evidence, has questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s election win.
  • Bevon Rogers (D): Rogers ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the District 5 seat in the state Senate in 2020. He previously worked in the energy and business sectors.

As I mentioned, there is plenty of time for other candidates to enter — or these ones to pull out. What do you think? Who would you like to see run for one of these top positions? Email me at tbrown@oklahomawatch.org or find me on Twitter at @tbrownokc. I’d like to use some of your comments in an upcoming article or newsletter post.

Top Story

District Attorney David Thomas, who represents Greer, Harmon, Jackson, Kiowa and Tillman counties, closes the door at the start of the private District Attorneys Association meeting in June 2019. (Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch)

Study: Oklahoma Prosecutors Commonly Find Success in Lobbying For Legislation

State lawmakers passed 59.4% percent of prosecutor-backed bills and struck down every measure they opposed during a four-year study by the University of North Carolina School of Law’s Prosecutor and Politics Project. 

Oklahoma Watch‘s Keaton Ross reports that researchers who led the study say district attorneys in most states haven’t been transparent about their lobbying efforts.  [Read more …]

Tweet Watch

Gov. Kevin Stitt and other state officials missed out last year when efforts to bring Tesla to Oklahoma fell short.

This time, Oklahoma landed the deal by announcing Canoo, a California start-up, plans to build its electric vehicles at a new factory outside of Tulsa. The deal comes at a price: Oklahoma lured the company with a reported $300 million incentive package.

What I’m Reading This Week

  • The William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply will close by the end of 2021, the Department of Corrections confirmed in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon. [Oklahoma Watch]
  • Thirty-four Oklahoma lawmakers, including 28 Republicans, called Wednesday for reopening the investigation that led to the conviction of death row inmate Richard Glossip. [The Associated Press]
  • A 24-member joint committee of Oklahoma House and Senate members has been selected to consider proposals for the state’s share of funds from the latest federal coronavirus relief legislation. [The Associated Press]
  • Oklahoma broke its four-week streak of recording less than 1,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in a week on Wednesday, according to data released by the Oklahoma State Department of Health. [Tulsa World]
  • A solid general revenue report for May means Oklahoma is on track for a deposit to the state’s constitutional reserve fund when the current fiscal year ends on June 30, officials said Tuesday. [Tulsa World]

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