Now one of his challengers in that race wants a rematch, but it’s not Manuel. Gary Rhynes, who ran as an independent in 2018 and garnered only 573 votes, is trying his hand at partisan politics, challenging Johns in the Republican primary.
Johns serves as the vice-chairman on the House Transportation Committee and sits on the Appropriations and Budget, Common Education and Children, Youth and Family Services committees.
The pair will face off in the Republican primary June 30. No other candidates filed, so the election between Johns and Rhynes will decide the Ada-area seat.
The following overview of the candidates was derived from publicly available information.
House District 25 at a glance
Officeholder: Rep. Ronny Johns
ZIP codes represented: 74572, 74820, 74825, 74831, 74842, 74843, 74844, 74865, 74871, 74872
Counties represented: Pontotoc
Cities/municipalities represented: Ada, Allen, Byng, Fitzhugh, Francis, Roff, Stonewall
Rep. Ronny Johns (R)
Profession: Former educator
Platform: Johns’ website brands him as a “principled principal,” referencing his past career in education.
“Let’s face it: we have been playing political games forever here in Oklahoma; and it has not worked, it hasn’t worked for rural Oklahoma, and it hasn’t worked for the working family,” Johns’ website reads.
According to his website. Johns’ platform includes finding long-term ways to fund education and other state agencies, breaking the deadlock he sees in partisan politics and putting policies in place to prevent illegal and prescription drug abuse, which he argues leads to high incarceration rates and familial breakdown.
His website does not mention any of his work last session, but his legislative record can be found here.
In 2018, Johns was featured in a story by The Guardian, which called him an “accidental Republican” after he admitted to joining the party because he knew it would make his vote more impactful.
Johns has been endorsed by the Oklahoma Retired Teachers Association, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and Oklahomans for Public Education, according to his Facebook page.
Links: Website | Campaign Facebook | Official Facebook | Twitter
Gary Rhynes (R)
Profession: Small-business owner
Platform: Rhynes, who has nicknamed himself “Rhino,” is described on his website as a “true conservative.”
According to his website, Rhynes’ top three priorities are protecting the Second Amendment, requiring ID to vote (which is already a state law) and protecting small businesses from government regulation.
Rhynes previously served on the Ada School Board and promises to “protect our local districts against overreach by the State Department of Education.” His website also references his desire to keep Oklahoma Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) practices in Ada.
Rhynes has been endorsed by the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association and Oklahomans for Health & Parental Rights, according to his website.
The primary between Rhynes and Johns to decide the seat will be held on Tuesday, June 30.