In the movie Kingpin, Woody Harrelson plays con man and hard-luck bowler Roy Munson. During a flashback to his promising childhood, his father, Calvert, tells him, “One day, when people say the name Munson, they’re gonna think ‘winner.'”
On Tuesday night, the Lawton native became — according to her — the first Democrat to occupy the seat in state history. The district is shaped like a slice of pizza, veering sloppily northwest from the general center of Oklahoma City’s pie. It also includes parts of Nichols Hills, The Village and Warr Acres.
“The hard work is now,” Munson said during her watch party at The Barrel, a restaurant on Western Avenue. “I need to make (constituents) feel comfortable that they elected a Democrat.”
In 2014, Cyndi Munson ran for the same House seat. Her platform centered on jobs, education and women’s issues, much as it did this time around.
David Dank, the incumbent since 2006, won that election with a 12.8 percent margin of victory. When Dank (who was 76) died of a heart attack on April 10 of this year, it triggered the special election that culminated Tuesday.
With 53 percent of the vote, Munson defeated Republican candidate Chip Carter. Carter, who announced his candidacy on April 29, defeated Matt Jackson, Amy Palumbo and Ralph Crawford to win the Republican primary July 14.
In her April 20 Facebook announcement that she was again seeking the House seat, Munson, who ran unopposed in the primary, wrote about Dank: “House District 85 lost a tireless worker, a man of good conscience, and a strong voice for seniors. He was highly regarded as someone who stood on principle and made our district proud.”
Despite endorsements from several high-ranking Republicans, including US Sen. Jim Inhofe, Gov. (and former District 85 representative) Mary Fallin, U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, U.S. Sen. James Lankford, OKC mayor Mick Cornett and Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan, Carter’s campaign failed to overcome Munson’s momentum.
“I ran as good a campaign as I could,” Carter said Tuesday night from his campaign’s watch party at Rococo’s in North Park Mall. “The voters made their decision. Let the results stand on their face value.”
(Editor’s note: NonDoc founder and publisher Andrew Rice supported Cyndi Munson in the District 85 special election on his personal social media.)