(Update: On Tuesday, June 28, Teresa Sterling won the GOP primary in House District 45.)
With House District 45 Rep. Merleyn Bell (D-Norman) not seeking reelection, three candidates, including two Republicans, are now competing for the district, which spans eastern Norman and stretches to Lake Thunderbird.
The winner of the June 28 GOP primary will face Annie Menz, the lone Democrat in the race, in November. Menz formerly worked as an executive assistant in the State Senate.
The following overview of the Republican candidates is derived from publicly available information and candidates are presented in alphabetical order. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.
Background: According to his website, Spaulding is a “lifelong native” of Cleveland County. Spaulding was a city councilman in Norman from 2011 to 2013 and ran for House District 27 in 2014. He lost that race to Rep. Danny Sterling (R-Tecumseh) in a runoff.
Spaulding graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies with an emphasis on constitutional philosophy and entrepreneurial leadership. He owns a sandblasting company.
Platform: On his website, Spaulding says that his values include returning America to energy independence and empowering small businesses. He also opposes critical race theory and social-emotional learning. According to the Committee for Children, social emotional learning is “the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills,” but some publications, such as the Federalist, have likened it to critical race theory disguised under a different name. Spaulding also opposes mask and vaccine mandates.
During the riots in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, Spaulding wrote in a post on Facebook, “I dont understand my conservative Christian friends who say violence is unacceptable. What the crap do you think the American revolution was? A game of friggin pattycake? Blood was shed and rightfully so!” At the time of the post’s creation, Spaulding was the chair of the Cleveland County Republican Party.
Background: Sterling is a retiree of the Oklahoma City Police Department, where she worked for 27 years. In 1995, when she was an investigator on the OKCPD’s child abuse unit, Sterling was one of the first responders to the Murrah Building bombing. Her husband, Terry, is also a retired police officer, and together they own Capt. Jack’s Wine Rum & Spirits, a liquor store in Norman. In 2021, the couple made the news for stopping a break-in at a nearby business a few days after their own store was robbed.
Platform: In a Facebook post, Sterling said she decided to run after her mother passed away in a nursing home and Sterling suspected neglect. In her campaign announcement, she said the experience made her realize “the laws simply were not written to protect the elderly.” If elected, she says she will “fight for the elderly, our children, the police, and the citizens of Norman.”
Sterling claims that “critical race theory has set race relations back 100 years” and believes parents should decide which subjects their children can and cannot learn about in school. One of Sterling’s other goals is to close loopholes in sex offender registration laws.