The August runoff election is upon us.
Early voting began Thursday and concluded mid-afternoon Saturday. If you didn’t vote early or send in an absentee ballot, you’ll have from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday to visit your polling place.
There are five statewide Republican runoffs, four of them for state executive offices and one for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the retiring Jim Inhofe. In the 2nd Congressional District, which spans most of eastern Oklahoma, Republican voters will select their nominee to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
Democrats and Independents who opt to receive a Democratic ballot will have just one choice to make: Whether to nominate attorney Jason Bollinger or former cybersecurity executive Madison Horn to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. James Lankford.
Depending on where you live, there may also be a nonpartisan local issue on the ballot. For instance, Norman residents will decide on nine propositions ranging from city council member pay to who can set a water rate increase. You can view a sample ballot and find your polling place on the state election board website.
Heading into Election Day, here’s a rundown of the races:
Mullin, Shannon Eye Open Senate Seat
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin and former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon are betting on their conservative credentials and loyalty to former President Donald Trump to win over Republican voters.
During a televised Aug. 2 debate, both candidates said they support a national abortion ban and repeated unfounded claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. One of their few disagreements was on whether the U.S. should send relief funds to Ukraine.
Mullin, who has received endorsements from Trump and Gov. Kevin Stitt, has the fundraising and polling edge. Shannon has been trying to close the gap by making campaign stops throughout the state.
The winner will face Democrat and former U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, Libertarian Robert Murphy and Independent Ray Woods in November.
Current, Former State Lawmaker Seek Congressional Seat
Republicans in the 2nd Congressional District will decide between Avery Frix, a 28-year-old state representative from Muskogee, and Josh Brecheen, a 43-year-old former state senator from Coalgate.
Both candidates have pledged loyalty to Trump and list border security and protecting firearms access among their top issues. During a televised debate last Tuesday, the candidates differed on the best strategy to reduce inflation and improve state and tribal relations.
Dark money groups have poured millions of dollars into the race, Reese Gorman of The Frontier reported earlier this month. Both Frix and Brecheen have condemned the groups attacking them but not the ones supporting their respective campaigns.
The winner will face Democrat Naomi Woods and Independent Ben Robinson in the general election.
Democrats, Independents To Vote in Senate Runoff
Speaking with Randy Krehbiel of the Tulsa World last month, Jason Bollinger and Madison Horn acknowledged the Democratic U.S. Senate runoff hasn’t drawn the same level of attention or outside dollars as the GOP congressional runoffs.
But both candidates, in their early 30s, said they’re working hard to campaign across the state and build name recognition. The winner will face incumbent Sen. James Lankford on Nov. 8.
On her campaign website, Horn lists increasing access to health care, protecting the sovereignty of tribal nations and expanding rural broadband access among her top priorities. Bollinger says he would work to codify abortion rights nationwide and improve infrastructure.
GOP Races for Four Statewide Offices
Four of the state’s nine elected statewide offices have advanced to a Republican runoff:
- Superintendent of Public Instruction: Secretary of Education Ryan Walters faces Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent April Grace.
- Labor Commissioner: Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, faces incumbent Leslie Osborn.
- Corporation Commissioner: Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, faces former Rep. Todd Thomsen.
- State Treasurer: Rep. Todd Russ, R-Cordell, faces former Sen. Clark Jolley.
State Legislative Seats Up for Grabs
Nine GOP runoffs for State House and Senate are on the ballot.
No Democrat, Libertarian or Independent filed to run in these five races, meaning the winner will secure their seat in the legislature:
- House District 21 (Calera, Durant)
- House District 31 (Guthrie)
- House District 36 (Choctaw, Harrah, Luther)
- Senate District 4 (Stillwell, Vian, Westville)
- Senate District 26 (Clinton, Kingfisher, Weatherford)
Just one of these races, Senate District 26, features an incumbent. Oil and gas business owner Brady Butler is looking to unseat Sen. Darcy Jech, who was elected in 2014. Butler, who has campaigned on social issues, told NonDoc earlier this month he doesn’t believe in the seperation of church and state.
The winner in these races will advance to the Nov. 8 general election:
- House District 13 (Muskogee, Summit, Taft)
- House District 34 (Cushing, Langston)
- House District 66 (Sand Springs, Skiatook, Sperry)
- House District 87 (Oklahoma City)
At Oklahoma Watch, one of our goals is to provide accurate, unbiased information that helps Oklahomans make informed decisions. What kind of election coverage would you like to see from us as we approach November? Let me know at Kross@Oklahomawatch.org or DM me on Twitter.
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What I’m Reading This Week
- His Bank Bet Big on Bad Loans, Now He’s Running for State Treasurer: Under the leadership of Todd Russ, a tiny bank in a small western Oklahoma town ran afoul of regulators for investing in troubled mortgages. [The Frontier]
- Joy Hofmeister Starts Ad Campaign; Kevin Stitt Keeps Funding Edge: With nearly a half-million dollars in campaign cash on hand, Joy Hofmeister’s gubernatorial campaign announced the launch of a “six-figure” commercial buy this week, while Gov. Kevin Stitt has twice as much in the bank as the race for governor enters the final three months. [The Oklahoman]
- District Attorney Paul Smith Defends Second Job as High School Teacher: Smith earns about $200,000 per year from both positions. The situation has raised questions over one man’s ability to hold two public positions. [NonDoc]
- Labor Commissioner Candidate Sues Fellow Republican House Member: State Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, is seeking damages from Rep. Carol Bush, R-Tulsa, because of comments made during an Aug. 8 news conference concerning descriptions of domestic abuse by Roberts in his 20-year-old divorce case. [Tulsa World]
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