Eighteen years ago, Collin Walke learned an important lesson: Don’t leave a campaign watch party early, and don’t give a speech before all votes are counted.
Walke’s father was ahead for a Del City legislative seat in 1998 when his son left for ice cream. But by the time Collin returned to the party, things had changed.
“At that time, absentee ballots came in later,” Walke recalled Tuesday night at his own state rep campaign watch party. “When we left, everybody was jovial. When we came back, everybody was sad, and we didn’t know why. We asked, and absentees had come in. He’d lost by 15 votes.”
By the time Walke kissed his wife in the picture above Tuesday, he had prevailed in House District 87’s Democratic primary over Kelly Meredith by a mere 26 votes, 965 to 939.
“The biggest thing I’m hearing (when knocking doors) is discontent,” Walke said. “I haven’t knocked on a single independent’s door who said they are going to vote Republican. That’s huge.”
On the GOP side, asphalt magnate Bruce Lee Smith took 61 percent of the vote. Republicans had 1,769 voters turnout in the primary, while Democrats had 1,904 hit the polls. Democrats, however, have allowed independents to vote in their primaries starting this year.
Walke — whose wife authored a faith-based NonDoc commentary in December — wasn’t the only candidate to win by a slim margin Tuesday evening, and full electoral results in Oklahoma elections can be found on the Oklahoma State Election Board website.
In other #HotRaces NonDoc has previously covered:
HD 97 heads to a Democratic runoff
Attorney Jason Lowe parlayed years of community family fun nights into 46 percent of the HD 97 Democratic primary. Oklahoma State Chamber-endorsed candidate Chris Harrison eked out seven more votes than Camal Pennington.
Since no one achieved more than 50 percent, Harrison will face Lowe in a runoff come August. Tonni Canaday won on the GOP side.
Russell waits for Dem in 5th Congressional District
With only 13 votes separating former state Sen. Al McAffrey and UCO professor emeritus Tom Guild in the 5th Congressional District’s Democratic primary, central Oklahoma Democrats and independents will partake in an August runoff as well.
Republican incumbent congressman Steve Russell dispatched his primary challenger handily, running radio ads proclaiming he is waging “a counter bureaucracy” against an overreaching federal government.
SD 33 GOP sticks with incumbent Dahm
We highlighted SD 33 as a hot race thanks to Sen. Nathan Dahm’s narrow margin of primary/runoff victory in 2012, but Tuesday the one-term senator blasted past challengers Larry Curtis and Patrick Pershing, as well as outside groups that had spent in his opposition.
On the Democratic side, a race that had Randal Burris and Kimberly Fobbs practically neck-and-neck in early and absentee voting, the “Families, Freedom, Fairness” candidate Fobbs managed to best veterinarian Burris by about nine points during election day. Fobbs will move on to face the incumbent Dahm in November.
SD 13 GOP close, runoff bound
In the #HotRace that was Senate District 13’s primary, reality-TV star Jet McCoy had an early lead over competitors Shawn Howard and Greg McCortney, and he parlayed it into a runoff with McCortney, the former Ada mayor. McCoy received 43.6 percent of the vote compared to 38.3 percent for McCortney and 18.1 percent for Howard.
Meanwhile, Scuba Steve Jarman‘s senatorial hopes were sunk on the Democratic side, with band director Eric Hall able to leverage his education bona fides into a victory.
HD 18 cowboy bucked
Jet McCoy’s younger brother, Cord, was running as a Democrat in Durant, marking the first time in recent memory that blood brothers hoisted competing flags in an Oklahoma election.
But Cord McCoy, a rancher and former professional bull rider, got bucked as the final precincts tallied in House District 18. The incumbent, Rep. Donnie Condit (D-McAlester), received 52 more votes than McCoy, much to the joy of House Democratic Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City).
“The House Democrats who had primary opponents, they all came out successful tonight,” said Inman, who attended Walke’s watch party.
Inman noted that incumbent Republicans Rep. Dennis Johnson (R-Duncan) and Rep. Ken Walker (R-Tulsa) both lost in their primaries, and he attributed the upsets to a public seeking more centrist politicians.
Tulsa picks Bynum as mayor; GOP sticks with Sheriff Regalado
In Tulsa, voters picked a new mayor, with G.T. Bynum projected to prevail over incumbent Dewey Bartlett, Jr., and two other challengers.
“When Tulsans unite, they can do great things,” Bynum’s website proclaimed all campaign. He was endorsed by a bipartisan coalition of former Tulsa mayors.
Meanwhile, voters of both parties also selected candidates in Tulsa County Sheriff primaries. Two-month incumbent Vic Regalado emerged for the GOP, despite the press releases of a former OKC Fox TV news anchor.
Longtime Tulsa policeman Rex Berry won for Democrats. Regalado pulled more than 60 percent of the GOP vote.
Any primary where a candidate did not obtain more than 50 percent of the vote will head to a runoff on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 8, the same day that Americans select the next U.S. president and Oklahomans answer at least four major state questions.
(Editor’s Note: NonDoc managing editor Josh McBee contributed to this report. It was updated the morning of Wednesday, June 29, to correct the number of candidates who ran for mayor of Tulsa.)