SD 32 Republican Primary
Clockwise from top left: Businesswoman Jennifer Ellis, pastor Dusty Deevers, Dr. Jean Hausheer and Elgin Mayor JJ Francais are seeking the Republican nomination in the 2023 special election for Senate District 32. (NonDoc)

When John Michael Montgomery resigned his Senate seat to lead the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce in early July, it set off a scramble of prospective candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Senate District 32.

Four people from a variety of backgrounds are pursuing the GOP nod in the Tuesday, Oct. 10, special primary election. With no runoff in special elections, the Republican candidate who finishes first Oct. 10 will advance to the Dec. 12 general election and face the winner of the two-person Democratic primary.

Included in the Republican field for SD 32 are a current mayor, the CEO of a cosmetics manufacturer, a retired ophthalmologist and a Baptist church pastor.

SD 32 covers more than half of Comanche County, including the northern and western halves of Lawton, as well as the towns of Apache, Elgin, Indiahoma and Cache. The district is also home to Fort Sill, a key artillery training base and proving ground for artillery and armored units in the U.S. Army. Cameron University, the largest university in southwest Oklahoma, is also located within the district.

The following cheat sheet for the SD 32 Republican primary features information compiled from publicly available sources. Candidates appear in alphabetical order.

Dusty Deevers

Senate District 32
Dusty Deevers (center) is a pastor and small business owner running for the GOP nomination in Senate District 32. (Provided)

Age: 45

Profession/background: Deevers has worked as the CEO of Deevers Properties and as a pastor at Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Elgin since 2016. A father of six, he graduated in 2001 from Oklahoma City University where he also earned a baseball scholarship.

Platform: Deevers bills himself as a constitutional conservative, saying in a campaign video on YouTube that “men who love the lord and love this country have a duty to rise up like so many others who have gone before us, and not only expose and fight the evils coming after our children and the people that we love, but also to establish justice and a brighter future.”

In his campaign materials, Deevers says one of the reasons he decided to run for office was because of the immoral policies coming out of Washington, D.C., and Oklahoma City. In the same video, he says the “godless, leftist agenda influencing our institutions has become a serious threat to thriving families and their moral development.” If elected, Deevers writes that he would work to close what describes as “massive loopholes” in Oklahoma’s current abortion laws while also working to end what he said is LGBTQ indoctrination of youths happening in public schools.

Similarly, he lists “abolish pornography” among his most important campaign issues, saying he wants to build on laws passed in other states “to protect our families from degenerates who seek to push their smut even onto our kids.” High campaign website proclaims a slate of endorsements for conservative groups, such as the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association and the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee.

Online: WebsiteFacebook

Jennifer Ellis

Senate District 32
Jennifer Ellis

Age: 54

Profession/background: Ellis is the current president and CEO of Cosmetic Speciality Labs in Lawton, which manufactures pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Ellis is a U.S. Army veteran who once worked on a Patriot missile battery. She left the Army after she became pregnant with her son, and she later graduated from the University of Oklahoma. A mother of three, Ellis has also served as the mayor of Medicine Park and as the chairwoman of the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce. In 2021, Gov. Kevin Stitt appointed her to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to fill a vacant seat with a term that expired July 2.

Platform: If elected, Ellis writes on her website that she would support the key tenets of the GOP platform, saying that “every human being has fundamental rights, including life, and our Second Amendment rights.”

Ellis says she would be a senator “holding the line” against tax increases while supporting local schools and public safety. Ellis also writes that she has “experience money can’t buy” owing to her background in business and the military.

On Sept. 16, she posted on Facebook that the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners has endorsed her campaign.

Online: Website | Facebook

JJ Francais

JJ Francais

Age: 41

Profession/background: First elected in 2021, Francais is the current mayor of Elgin, and he also serves as vice president of external affairs for Hilliary Communications, which delivers internet, telephone and TV services to customers in Oklahoma, Iowa and Texas. Francais also has a background in journalism and serves as associate publisher of the Southwest Ledger newspaper, which is owned by the company. He was appointed to the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma Board of Regents by Gov. Kevin Stitt in 2022. Francais graduated from USAO in 2010 with a degree in history after dropping out of high school in the ninth grade and later earning his GED.

Platform: In a press release, Francais said he decided to run in part because of his desire to help make key decisions for the state as a legislator while also improving the quality of life for residents in southwest Oklahoma.

Francais has been endorsed by Stitt, who appears in a video commercial saying Francais “will fight against biological boys competing in girls sports and protect children against extreme gender ideology.”

If elected, Francais writes that he would promote law and order, work to stop liberal indoctrination in schools, cut taxes and protect the Second Amendment. He is also “100 percent pro life,” according to his campaign website.

Online: Website | Facebook

Dr. Jean Hausheer

Dr. Jean Hausheer

Age: 66

Profession/background: Hausheer is a retired ophthalmologist who spent nearly 42 years at the Dean McGee Eye Institute. Upon her retirement, Hasuheer opened a free eye care clinic at Hearts That Care, an organization that also provides free medical and dental services to those who are uninsured. She is an active member of the Cowboy Church of Apache-Elgin with her husband, Jim. Hausheer was accepted into the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine at age 16. A Missouri native, she worked in her father’s medical practice throughout her childhood.

Platform: Hausheer writes that her work in the health care sector would bring needed experience to the Oklahoma State Senate, which has not featured a physician in its ranks since Dr. Ervin Yen was defeated in the 2018 Republican primary. During that same election cycle, Hausheer served as president of the Oklahoma State Medical Association and campaigned against State Question 788, which ultimately passed and created the state’s medical marijuana program.

According to Hausheer’s campaign pages, she would also work to limit government overreach that she believes contributes to supply chain problems that the country has seen in recent years. She also opposes tax increases and would work to protect gun rights, reduce human trafficking, and promote economic development by cutting regulations, according to her website.

“During the pandemic, I worked to make Oklahoma one of the first states to reopen. While some asked for shutdowns, I prioritized facts over fear and personal liberties over big-government mandates, because I believe our conservative values are not just words,” Hausheer says in a campaign video on her website. “But they’re how we should act in both the tough times and the good.”

Online: Website | Facebook

(Correction: This article was updated at 9:20 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, to correct reference to a candidate’s profession.)