OKLAHOMA CITY (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — At least six Republican incumbents were bounced from office during Oklahoma’s primary election, including several who were targeted by pro-education groups.
Tuesday’s primary election was the first test for many of the nearly 100 teachers running for office in Oklahoma after a year that saw tens of thousands of educators walk off their job for two weeks to protest dwindling funding for schools.
Oklahoma voters also winnowed the 15-candidate field seeking to replace Gov. Mary Fallin as the state’s next chief executive.
Several GOP incumbents who voted against tax hikes to fund teacher pay raises were either ousted from office or pulled into a runoff against a fellow GOP opponent.
“Our voices were heard tonight,” said Sherrie Conley, an assistant principal at an Oklahoma City elementary school who ended up in a Republican runoff with incumbent Rep. Bobby Cleveland.
Of the 10 “no” voters in the House who were running for re-election, two were defeated outright on Tuesday night — Reps. Chuck Strohm of Jenks and Scott McEachin of Tulsa. Seven others ended up in an Aug. 28 primary runoff against fellow Republicans.
Four other Republican incumbents also were defeated on Tuesday, including one who lost to a seventh-grade English teacher from Elgin.
Fifteen candidates — two Democrats, 10 Republicans and three Libertarians — ran to replace Fallin, who has served eight years as the state’s chief executive. Most of the attention, and money, has been focused on the Republican primary, which included former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, state Auditor Gary Jones, trial attorney Gary Richardson and Tulsa mortgage company founder Kevin Stitt.
Cornett advanced to the August 28 Republican runoff Tuesday. Lamb, 46, told supporters Tuesday at an election night party that it appears he lacks the votes to make a two-way runoff for the nomination.
Stitt held a slight lead over Lamb for the second spot with nearly all votes counted in the 10-candidate Republican primary. Running as a political outsider, Stitt reported raising $4.2 million, including $2.1 million of his own money.
On the Democratic side, former Oklahoma Attorney General clinched the nomination over ex-state Sen. Connie Johnson. The $1.5 million Edmondson raised was more than 20 times as much as Johnson.
The top two candidates in the most heated statewide primary race advanced in the Republican primary for attorney general. Sitting Attorney General Mike Hunter led the three-candidate race and face Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond in a runoff for the GOP nomination. Hunter was appointed to the post by Fallin after former Attorney General Scott Pruitt was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A series of attack ads launched by Hunter and Drummond provided plenty of fireworks.
Angela Bonilla finished third in Republican race.
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