The big race in House District 88 this year is the June 30 Democratic primary, where Mauree Turner, a progressive community organizer who works for the the ACLU, is challenging incumbent Rep. Jason Dunnington (D-OKC).
The winner of the primary will face Republican Kelly Barlean in the November general election.
The House District 88 Democratic primary appears to be hotly contested, and articles about the race have been published by The Oklahoman and The Frontier. KOCO also interviewed Dunnington and Turner about Tuesday’s vote on Medicaid expansion. Both candidates have been endorsed by Planned Parenthood.
The information presented below is derived from publicly available sources. Primary voting will take place June 30, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 3.
HD 88 at a glance
Incumbent: Rep. Jason Dunnington
Zip codes represented: 73102, 73103, 73106, 73107, 73112, 73118
Counties represented: Oklahoma
Cities represented: Oklahoma City
Rep. Jason Dunnington (D, incumbent)
Profession: State representative, adjunct professor, real estate agent
Platform: Dunnington was first elected in 2014. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the University of Oklahoma and currently teaches at Oklahoma City University. He also works as a real estate agent.
According to his campaign website, Dunnington’s legislative efforts have focused on criminal justice reform, LGBTQ rights, family leave policies and pay equity.
Named the Oklahoma Public Employees Association’s legislator of the year in 2019, Dunnington has pushed for pay increases for state workers and was a co-author of HB 1269, which retroactively changed sentences for non-violent drug offenses and led to the largest commutation of incarcerated persons in U.S. history, according to his website.
Dunnington aggravated progressives in April 2019 when he tweeted an “unpopular opinion”: that “Bernie Sanders is really not much different than Donald Trump.” Aside from policy differences, Dunnington said Sanders and Trump are “both extreme narcissists, fake populists and out of the mainstream.” The tweet received more than 7,000 likes, but it also received significant criticism in response.
During his time in office, Dunnington has won awards from the Oklahoma Educators Association, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and others. Dunnington has been endorsed by Democratic legislative colleagues like Rep. Collin Walke (D-OKC), Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC), Rep. Jason Lowe (D-OKC), Senate Minority Leader Kay Floyd (D-OKC), Sen. Julia Kirt (D-OKC), two members of the OKCPD School Board and several unions.
Mauree Turner (D)
Profession: Regional field director with the ACLU, CAIR Oklahoma board member
Platform: Turner currently works on the ACLU’s for Campaign for Smart Justice, which focuses on criminal justice reform.
In her campaign announcement, Turner said, “It has never been a more important time for those closest to our state’s problems to be structuring the solutions. I’m running to fight for criminal justice reform, health care access, and public education.”
Turner recently told The Oklahoman that her community work was partly inspired by the experience of having a father who was incarcerated. According to her website, in office she would work do reduce incarceration rates, raise teacher pay and school funding, raise the minimum wage, expand access to health care and increase inclusivity.
Turner is a member of the LGBTQ community and is Muslim. If elected, she would be the first Muslim legislator in Oklahoma history. She has received endorsements from OKC Councilwoman JoBeth Hamon, OKC Councilwoman Nikki Nice and U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. She is also a board member for CAIR Oklahoma.
Kelly Barlean (R)
Profession: Retired attorney
Platform: Barlean is a retired attorney and Air Force veteran, according to his website. He served in the Washington State House of Representatives during the late 1990s and early 2000s. His campaign website emphasizes his legislative record in Washington with links to photos of newspaper coverage from that time.
On his website, he writes that House District 88, which covers a central area of OKC, has long been “disenfranchised.”
“Time to quit being ignored and start taking back what is ours with a representative who knows how to twist arms, horse trade and grovel for constituents,” he writes.
Barlean favors a policy-driven budget that lays the foundation for the state’s economic recovery while ensuring sustainability of the social safety net, according to his website.
More Info: Website
(Update: This article was updated at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, June 28, to include additional information.)