Carisa Roberson is one of at least 10 “abortion abolitionists” taking on a Republican incumbent in Oklahoma’s June 30 primaries, and she’s running against a man her supporters see as a primary opponent of the movement.
Sen. Greg McCortney (R-Ada), the incumbent in Senate District 13, declined to hear Senate Bill 13 in committee this session, which would have classified abortion as homicide. Roberson’s campaign is centered on supporting the bill. With no Democratic candidates in the race, the southeastern Oklahoma seat will be decided in the primary between McCortney and Roberson.
McCortney was first elected to the State Senate in 2016 and now serves as chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, as well as the majority caucus vice chairman. He also sits on the Business, Commerce and Tourism, Transportation and Rules committees.
The most recent clash in the Senate District 13 race was sparked by a Facebook post in which McCortney alleged that two of his campaign signs were stolen. Roberson denied she was responsible and accused McCortney of “slandering me.”
The following overview of the race for Senate District 13 was derived from publicly available information.
Senate District 13 at a glance
Incumbent: Sen. Greg McCortney
Zipcodes represented: 73030, 73052, 73057, 73074, 73075, 73098, 73433, 73434, 73481, 74572, 74820, 74825, 74826, 74827, 74831, 74842, 74843, 74844, 74848, 74849, 74852, 74854, 74865, 74867, 74868, 74871, 74872, 74873, 74878, 74884
Counties represented: Garvin, Hughes, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Seminole
Greg McCortney (R)
Profession: Home care and hospice owner, former mayor and pastor
Platform: McCortney’s platform focuses on his experience and the support he’s received from state leaders. His website lists nine awards he has won, including for his work in health care. It also includes endorsements from Tony Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life; Pauls Valley Schools Superintendent Mike Martin; and Paul Abner, president of Oklahoma Faith Leaders. Lauinger’s endorsement, on behalf of National Right to Life, praised McCortney for preventing the passage of Senate Bill 13.
McCortney’s website also lists bills he worked on over the past four years, including measures to expand training in opioid overdose treatment, simplify family access to safe deposit boxes after the death of the owner, and give patients the right to choose which pharmacy their prescriptions are sent to. He has also sponsored legislation to authorize sports gambling, strengthen law enforcement and set regulations for medical marijuana. He has also been one of the Legislature’s most vocal proponents for finding a way to accept additional federal dollars for an expanded Medicaid program.
“I want to continue working for the things that make our area truly special — things like our conservative values, strong schools, an improved economy, protecting our natural resources and promoting agriculture and energy,” his website reads.
Carisa Roberson (R)
Profession: Homemaker and caretaker
Platform: Roberson’s platform is largely based on ending abortion in Oklahoma. On her website, Roberson shares the story of her own abortion, which she now describes as murder, and calls abortion “a present-day holocaust.” She hopes to end legalized abortion entirely, according to her website. A video on the site describes abortion as a threat to life and liberty for all Americans. She does not describe how she would criminalize abortion.
Roberson has written letters to the editor in support of Senate Bill 13 to The Ada News and Tulsa World. She received an endorsement from Oklahomans United for Life, a state group that advocates for the end of abortion, and from Kenny Bob Tapp, a candidate for House District 61 who admitted to the State Election Board that he spends 90 percent of his nights in Colorado.
Though Roberson’s site mentions the importance of economic strength and education, it says, “the absolute first order of business must be to end abortion in our state.” A post on her Facebook page implies that she believes ending abortion will lead to a blessing from God to solve the state’s other problems.
Roberson supports congressional term limits. A video on her Facebook page also expresses a desire to protect gun ownership and promote agriculture and school choice.
The primary election between McCortney and Roberson will take place on June 30. There will not be a general election for the seat.