Ryan Walters declares GOP runoff victory for Oklahoma State superintendent
Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters and Gov. Kevin Stitt speak at an election watch party at The Joinery in Bricktown.
Addison Kliewer, Oklahoma
A Republican senator from Kingfisher State survived his re-election bid on Tuesday as GOP voters across the state voted in a handful of legislative primary races.
Two-term state senator Darcy Jech fended off a core challenge from the right by leaning on his legislative record and significant fundraising advantage.
Republican primary voters also rejected two controversial legislative candidates who had a habit of making discriminatory remarks.
There have been 11 state legislative races on Republican ballots. There were no Democratic primaries for legislative seats. Five legislative races were decided by Tuesday’s elections.
Collecting 52.3% of the vote, Jech beat out Brady Butler, who said “separation of church and state should have no place in the United States of America”. The election victory secures Jech a third and final term in the state Senate, as no Democrats showed up to run in Senate District 26, which includes Caddo, Blaine and Custer counties, as well as parts of Kingfisher and Canada counties.
How have the Oklahoma City area legislative candidates fared?
Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police President John George, 54, will represent Home District 36 in the Legislative Assembly after defeating local business owner Anita Raglin. George was the first to jump into the race and has been campaigning since last summer.
The district is a new addition to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area after being relocated from the Tulsa outskirts during last year’s legislative redistricting process. The Oklahoma City area gained two legislative seats due to population gains.
HD 36 includes parts of Oklahoma and Cleveland counties and parts of the cities of Choctaw, Edmond, Harrah, Luther, Jones, Norman and Oklahoma City.
In House District 87 in Oklahoma City, Scott Esk lost to small business owner and political newcomer Gloria Banister.
Previous Facebook posts in which Esk wrote that gay people were “worthy of death” and “we would be perfectly within the right” to stone them have resurfaced this election cycle. Esk made the comments in 2013 in response to an article about the pope saying “who am I to judge?” on homosexuality. The comments made national headlines when Esk ran for another House seat in 2014.
Banister, who won with 58% of the vote, will face Democrat Ellyn Hefner in the November general election for the seat currently held by incumbent State Rep. Collin Walke.
In Rogers County, Ally Seifried beat Christian nationalist Jarrin Jackson, who used to make homophobic and anti-Semitic remarks on his right-wing social media pages.
Endorsed by Gov. Kevin Stitt, Seifried will face Democrat Jennifer Esau in the general election, though Senate District 2 favors Republicans.
Tuesday’s second round of primaries marks the latest election defeat for Jackson, an ammunition dealer and combat veteran who previously ran for congress in Oklahoma’s 2nd District.
Just as in the primary elections in June, all legislative candidates supported by Stitt won their races in the second round. The governor has endorsed four legislative candidates ahead of Tuesday’s election.
Other Oklahoma Legislative Races at a Glance
Three other state legislative races were decided on Tuesday because no Democrats or independents filed for those seats. They are:
∘ Collin Duel of Guthrie beat Karmin Grider in House District 31.
∘ Tom Woods of Westville defeated Keith Barenberg in Senate District 4.
∘ Durant’s Cody Maynard beat Dustin Reid in House District 21.
Four Republican legislative candidates will qualify for the general election. They are:
∘ A recount is likely in the House District 34 race where Michael Baughman beat Andrew Muchmore by 12 votes. The winner of the second round will face Democratic Representative Trish Ranson of Stillwater in the general election.
∘ Grant Green of Wellston beat Jeff McComas in Senate District 28 and will face Democrat Karen Rackley in November.
∘ Neil Hays of Checotah defeated Carlisa Rogers and will face Democrat Jimmy Haley in the House District 13 general election.
∘ In House District 66, Clay Staires of Skiatook beat Gabe Renfrow and will face James David Rankin in November.