Of the 10 Republican members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives who were in runoffs Tuesday, the three who voted in favor of funding teacher raises prevailed.
But six of the seven lawmakers forced into a runoff and who voted against this year’s historic revenue package were defeated. Only Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Pawhuska) won, and only by 88 votes.
While the election totals on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website have not been certified, the apparent dichotomy was not lost on members of House leadership.
“I think there’s a pretty clear message that the ‘Yes’ vote on HB 1010 was the right vote, but I think we need to keep moving the state forward,” House Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-OKC) told NonDoc. “I think that tells us what I’ve been saying for a while, which is that the people wanted solutions.”
Echols was not alone in his messaging.
“I think that the Republican Party is in a position to govern, and that was indicative of what happened tonight with the elections,” said Assistant Majority Floor Leader Chris Kannady (R-OKC). “We’re going to move forward to November, but we’re going to move forward with a slate of candidates who are ready to govern.”
Asked whether House GOP leadership had taken sides in the runoff races, Kannady said the Legislature’s political battles of the past two years spoke for themselves.
“I think that any community you have — business, policy, social or whatever — was in unison on what was going on tonight, and that transcends House leadership,” Kannady said.
His fellow military veteran and friend Rep. Josh West (R-Grove) said Tuesday’s legislative runoff results supported what he said he heard from the public when campaigning for his open northeast Oklahoma House seat in 2016.
“I think that it just backs up what we heard on the doorstep two and a-half years ago that people were looking for us to govern, and they were tired of the state being last with constant cuts,” West said Tuesday night. “They wanted us to govern, and I think it shows by the vote of the people tonight.”
West famously told his hardline anti-tax colleagues that they were preparing for a “Civil War” after they had criticized West and other yes-on-revenue Republicans at a press conference.
“Personally, they have a right to their own opinion, but when you come out and attack the other members first, that’s why I had my stance: If you are going to come out against me, I’m going to come out against you,” West said.
Echols said he hoped the end of the runoff-primary elections would decrease the division among GOP House members.
“I actually think this will more unify the caucus. These divisions are not helpful, and I think hopefully with elections you get all that out of your system,” Echols said, noting that neither he nor House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka) opposed any incumbent.
That wasn’t the case for other core House GOP members.
“I think the division went both ways, and it wasn’t so much the speaker and I. The platform caucus took a position against John Pfeiffer in his race, at least in a mailer talking about a Platform Caucus scorecard — I don’t know what that is,” Echols said. “There were Platform Caucus members who stood at a podium with other people and called for opponents for those same members. All of this started after the press conference after the passage of HB 1010. There was a call by members of our caucus that (…) everyone who voted for HB 1010 needed an opponent. Well, there were members of the caucus who didn’t take that very kindly. Political disputes are good at the end of the day because it gives the citizens an option. So I think, come November, we need to move together.”
Roberts expressed a similar sentiment late Tuesday evening.
“I’m still taking it all in. I just want to thank all my voters and supporters out there who still believe in me. I’m going to keep working hard for District 36,” he said. “We’ll have a new governor, and we’ll have a lot of new members coming in. So we’re just going to move forward and try to do what we can to make Oklahoma better.”
Asked if he felt anything about the primary election campaigns was inappropriate, Roberts simply said: “I look forward to working with the other members again.”
House Minority Caucus Chairwoman Emily Virgin (D-Norman) said that the runoff results indicate broader dissatisfaction than just individual positions on the teacher-raise revenue bill.
“I think that certainly has something to do with it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that incumbent Republicans are going to fare well or the same in November,” Virgin said. “What it tells us is that, on the whole, the voters don’t like what Republicans are doing in the Legislature right now. So I feel good looking at November.”
Incumbent races: Six lose
HD 10 (R): Rep. Travis Dunlap vs. Judd Strom
Judd Strom received 58.5 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Rep. Travis Dunlap (R-Bartlesville) on Tuesday. Dunlap’s “no” vote on HB 1010XX angered the education community and in particular Rep. Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), a former appropriations chairman with deep ties to the Bartlesville Public Schools.
Strom will face Democrat Kevin Stacy in November.
HD 14 (R): Rep. George Faught vs. Chris Sneed
Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee) lost by 83 votes despite leading his opponent Chris Sneed by 16 points in the primary. Faught’s votes against revenue for education have drawn him criticism from GOP runoff opponent Chris Sneed, the Tulsa World and others.
Chris Sneed will face Democrat Jack Reavis in November.
HD 20 (R): Rep. Bobby Cleveland vs. Sherrie Conley
Rep. Bobby Cleveland (R-Slaughterville) lost on Tuesday to challenger Sherrie Conley, receiving 49.1 percent of the vote. Cleveland voted against HB 1010XX.
HD 30 (R): Rep. Mark Lawson vs. Kent Glesener
Rep. Mark Lawson (R-Sapulpa) fended off challenger Kent Glesener on Tuesday, receiving 53.7 percent of the vote. No one else filed for HD 30 so Lawson will serve another term in the House.
HD 36 (R): Rep. Sean Roberts vs. Louise Redcorn
Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Pawhuska) defeated Louise Redcorn, receiving 51.1 percent of the vote. After receiving 33 percent of the vote in the primary, Roberts has been the target of third-party advertisements criticizing his votes against revenue bills to fund teacher pay.
There are no other candidates in the HD 36 race so Roberts will serve another term in the House.
HD 38 (R): Rep. John Pfeiffer vs. Brian Hobbs
Rep. John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando) defeated challenger Brian Hobbs with 58.9 percent of the vote. There are no other candidates in the HD 38 race so Pfeiffer will serve another term in the House.
HD 63 (R): Rep. Jeff Coody vs. Trey Caldwell
Rep. Jeff Coody (R-Grandfield) lost to Trey Caldwell on Tuesday, recieving 41.9 percent of the vote. Coody pushed controversial legislation in his time at the Capitol, including efforts to repeal permit requirements for the public carry of firearms.
Trey Caldwell will face Democrat Joan E. Gabelmann in November.
HD 66 (R): Rep. Jadine Nollan vs. Brian Jackson
Rep. Jadine Nollan (R-District 66) won against challenger Brian Jackson, receiving 59.8 percent of the vote. Nollan voted for all three major education-funding tax packages during the 56th Legislature.
Nollan will face Democrat Angela Graham in November.
HD 80 (R): Rep. Mike Ritze vs. Stan May
Rep. Josh West (R-Grove) coined the term “civil war” after a clash with Ritze in March. During the argument, Ritze reportedly asked West if his “PTSD” was affecting his behavior, a statement West said was inappropriate.
HD 101 (R): Rep. Tess Teague vs. Robert Manger
Robert Manger defeated Rep. Tess Teague (R-Choctaw) with 56.7 percent of the popular vote. Manger will face John Carpenter in the November general.
Other House runoffs
HD 17 (R): Jim Grego vs. John Hass
Jim Grego defeated Josh Hass with 51.1 percent of the popular vote on Tuesday. Grego will face Democrat Peggy DeFrange in November.
HD 26 (D): E. Bruce Bushong vs. Terry W. Hopkins
Terry W. Hopkins narrowly beat E. Bruce Bushong in the runoff-primary with 50.4 percent of the vote. He will face incumbent Rep. Dell Kerbs (R-Shawnee) in November.
HD 27 (R): Danny J. Sterling vs. Dave Spaulding
Danny J. Sterling beat Dave Spaulding, receiving 54.7 percent of the vote. Democrat Angela Phillips dropped out of the race so Sterling has secured his seat in the House.
HD 41 (R): Roxanne Pollard vs. Denise Crosswhite Hader
Denise Crosswhite Hader defeated Roxanne Pollard with 52.1 percent of the vote. Hader will face Jennie Scott in the November general.
HD 41 (D): Jennie Scott vs. Sara Peterson
Jennie Scott received 58.8 percent of the popular vote, securing her position on the November ballot. She will face Republican Hader in the general.
HD 43 (R): Jay W. Steagall vs. Crystal Duncan
Jay W. Steagall won against Crystal Duncan with 64 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Chantelle Cory in November.
HD 47 (R): Brian Hill vs. Beverly Adams
Brian Hill won against Beverly Adams with 51.3 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Sarah Carnes in November.
HD 53 (D): Cyndy Southerland vs. Leslie Bonebreak
Leslie Bonebreak won her runoff-primary with 63.8 percent of the vote and will face Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore) in November.
HD 61 (R): Kenton Patzkowsky vs. Brad Raven
Kenton Patzkowsky beat Brad Raven with 59.8 percent of the popular vote on Tuesday. He will face Democrat Ashley Lenhert in November.
HD 68 (R): Lonnie Sims vs. Nicole Nixon
Lonnie Sims defeated Nicole Nixon with 58.3 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Michael Ross in November.
HD 68 (D): Angela Statum vs. Michael Ross
Michael Ross won the runoff-primary against Angela Statum with 54.5 percent of the popular vote. Ross will face Lonnie Sims in November.
HD 71 (R): Cheryl Baber vs. Beverly A. Atteberry
Cheryl Baber received 63.6 percent of the popular vote, defeating Beverly A. Atteberry. She will face Democrat Denise Brewer in November.
HD 79 (R): Dan Hicks vs. Karen Gilbert
Dan Hicks beat Karen Gilbert with 50.9 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Melissa Provenzano in November.
HD 82 (R): Nicole Miller vs. Brad Martin
Nicole Miller defeated Brad Martin with 58.1 percent of the popular vote. She will face Democrat Oraynab Jwayyed in November.
HD 98 (R): Laura Steele vs. Dean F. Davis
Dean F. Davis received 67.6 percent of the vote and defeated his opponent Laura Steele. Davis will face Democrat Kilmyn Easley-Graf and independent Sean Parrish in November.
HD 99 (D): Ajay Pittman vs. Nkem House
Ajay Pittman beat Nkem house with 51.9 percent of the vote. Due to the lack of other candidates, Pittman has secured her seat in the House.
HD 100 (R): Julie Roach vs. Marilyn M. Stark
Marilyn M. Stark defeated Julie Roach with 52.8 percent of the vote. Stark will face Democrat Zach Pearson in November.
HD 101 (D): John Carpenter vs. Madeline Scott
John Carpenter beat Madeline Scott by 17 votes and will face Robert Manger, who defeated incumbent Rep. Teague, in November.
SD 10 (R): Bill Coleman vs. Amber Roberts
Bill Coleman defeated his opponent opponent Amber Roberts and secured his Senate seat with 70.1 percent of the vote.
SD 16 (D): Mary B. Boren vs. Rep. Claudia Griffith
Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-Norman) died in July but her name still appeared on the runoff-primary ballot. Mary B. Boren received 81.9 percent of the vote and will appear on the November ballot alongside Republican Becki Maldonado.
SD 30 (R): Lori Callahan vs. John Symcox
John Symcox defeated Lori Callahan with 60.3 percent of the vote. He will face Democrat Julia Kirt in November.
SD 36 (R): John Haste vs. Bill Day
John Haste received 52.6 percent of the vote and defeated Bill Day. He will face Democrat Bryan O’Brien in November.
(Correction: This story was updated at 10:37 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 28, to note the correct winner of HD 41’s GOP runoff.)