SD 32
The special general election for Senate District 32 in the Lawton area is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023. (NonDoc)

Republican Dusty Deevers and Democrat Larry Bush will face off in a special election Dec. 12 for Oklahoma State Senate District 32 after both candidates captured their party’s nomination Tuesday night.

Deevers received 37 percent of the GOP vote and finished ahead of three other Republicans, advancing outright under special election rules. He edged Dr. Jean Hausheer (30.8 percent), Elgin Mayor JJ Francais (18.8 percent) and Cosmetics Speciality Labs CEO Jennifer Ellis (13.1 percent). Only 3,819 Republicans cast votes in the contest.

On the Democratic side, Bush (73.4 percent) easily defeated Johnny Jernigan (26.6 percent). Only 1,257 Democrats and independents cast votes in the contest. All totals are unofficial until certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

The SD 32 seat opened this summer after John Michael Montgomery resigned to lead the Lawton-Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce. Bush and Deevers will square off in the Dec. 12 special election to fill the remainder of Montgomery’s term, which runs through 2026.

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 Cameron University and Fort Sill, a key artillery training base and proving ground for artillery and armored units in the U.S. Army.

Deevers sends ‘loud message’ topping GOP field

The conservative pastor of Grace Community Church of Elgin and the CEO of Deevers Properties, Deevers pushed back against critical campaign advertising in the days leading up to Tuesday’s election.

“The spirit of 1776 is alive and well in Southwest Oklahoma!” Deevers said in a statement Tuesday night. “The voters of Comanche County have spoken emphatically that it’s time to bring morality and accountability back to government. They have sent a loud message to the swamp that lies and dirty politics have no place in Comanche County. It’s time to return to a Constitutional conservatism grounded in God’s Word. I could not be more honored that the voters of my community would select me as the Republican nominee to represent them in the Oklahoma Senate. I’m ready, by God’s grace, to go win the general election and to do Comanche County proud in the Senate.”

Deevers has billed 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.”

Hausheer is a retired ophthalmologist who spent nearly 42 years at the Dean McGee Eye Institute. She 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.

Bush intercepts Democratic nomination

Bush is known to University of Oklahoma football fans as a standout defensive back for the Sooners in the 1990s. Today, he owns Larry Bush Insurance in Lawton along with a real estate business.

“First, I would like to thank Mr. Jernigan for running a clean campaign based on the issues,” Bush said in a statement. “Those issues we debated and which I support will continue to be the focus of my campaign through December. Supporting strong public schools, rooting out corruption in Oklahoma City, and fighting for the safety and health care of our community are my priorities. I love being a small businessman, but the most important job I’ve ever had is being a father, and I will fight for Southwest Oklahoma just like it was my own family.”

Bush is hoping to flip SD 32 from red to blue in December. Prior to Montgomery’s election, the seat was held by former Democratic Sen. Randy Bass from 2006 through 2018.

Jernigan was the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s nominee for SD 32 in 2022, receiving 32.6 percent support in a head-to-head matchup against Montgomery. Bush has run for the Oklahoma Legislature twice before in House District 62, losing in both the 2018 and 2020 general elections.