House District 67
From left: Kane Smith, Bowden McElroy, Ryan Myers and Rob Hall are running for Oklahoma House District 67 in 2024. (NonDoc)

Republican voters in south Tulsa and a small portion of north Bixby will choose between four candidates in the House District 67 GOP primary that will decide the successor of Rep. Jeff Boatman (R-Tulsa), who is leaving the House in pursuit of Senate District 25.

The Republican-only nature of the June 18 primary drew a question during a May 23 debate.

“In this district, it’s going to be the primary that selects the next representative for these people. Should we have open primaries?” asked Russell Mills, a reporter for KRMG.

His question about the open-primary proposal — bandied about of late among moderate Republican powerbrokers in Oklahoma — received boos and jeers from the audience. The disruption was short-lived, with Mills lightheartedly chiding the audience.

“No fair prompting the candidates,” Mills said. “I think I know which way the audience is leaning.”

None of the three attending candidates supported opening the Republican primary election to independent or Democratic voters.

Ryan Myers and Rob Hall offered short answers: “Heck no.” Bowden McElroy summarized his position as, “Absolutely not.” (Kane Smith did not attend the debate owing to a scheduling conflict.)

“That is not the Republicans’ fault that independents or Democrats or Libertarians aren’t running,” Hall said to scattered cheers of agreement from the audience.

All three candidates at the debate also expressed opposition to an initiative petition for a ballot question to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma.

The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 18. If none of the four GOP candidates receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the race will go to an Aug. 27 runoff between the top two candidates. Because no others filed to run for the seat, the prevailing Republican will win the House District 67 election outright.

The following cheat sheet was compiled from publicly available information such as campaign websites, other reporting, and a May candidate debate hosted by the Tulsa County Republican Party. Candidates are presented in alphabetical order.

Rob Hall

HD 67 election
Rob Hall is running in the Oklahoma House District 67 election in 2024. (Provided)

Age: 37

Profession/background: Hall moved to Tulsa in the mid 2000s to attend the University of Tulsa where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering. He has worked as both a minister and an electrical engineer since graduating. He also owns an ACT/SAT/PSAT tutoring company.

Priorities: Asked to describe the first bill he would introduce if elected, Hall said he would like to see the date of school board elections moved to coincide with general election dates in order to improve voter turnout.

“This last election cycle in April, there was a Union school board seat that was decided by 146 votes cast total,” Hall said.

Asked about reforming the process for judicial nominations in Oklahoma, Hall advocated for the process being “returned into the hands of the people’s elected representatives,” and he called the Oklahoma Bar Association’s representatives on the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission “not elected,” despite them being elected by OBA members.

Hall argued that nonprofits should take the lead on addressing homelessness and that they are more efficient than government agencies at solving the issue. Still, Hall acknowledged that the government “still had a role” in helping communities have adequate housing resources. Hall also advocated for lifting regulations and streamlining the permitting process for development projects in the state.

Online: Website | Facebook

Bowden McElroy

HD 67 election
Bowden McElroy is running in the House District 67 election in 2024. (Provided)

Age: 63

Profession/background: McElroy graduated from Deer Creek High School “back when it was small, rural and poor,” before earning a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. In the 1980s, he pursued a degree in Christian theology in Texas and since then he has worked as a Christian counselor. He also is a pastor and adjunct university professor “on the side,” and a fan of Mike Rowe‘s television show Dirty Jobs.

Priorities: Asked the first bill he would introduce if elected, McElroy told the story of how it took 10 weeks for him to see a cardiologist after being referred to one, and he indicated he would support an “any willing provider” bill to allow any provider “willing to accept the contract the insurance company gives them” to increase consumer choice in health care. McElroy also voiced disappointment in the failure of judicial reform in the Legislature this session.

“I’d like to see a system that reflects the way we do our federal Supreme Court and federal judges where the governor picks a nominee and they have to be validated and signed off on by the Senate, or maybe in our case the House and the Senate,” he said.

McElroy disagreed with Myers on the causes of homelessness, arguing that “most of the homeless aren’t mentally ill” and said the best solution was bringing in companies that would hire “semi-skilled” and “unskilled” workers.

“They were the proverbial ‘one check’ away from homelessness, and they lost that one paycheck,” McElroy said. “The state has a huge role to play because (…) what we have in Oklahoma is a poverty problem. The solution isn’t minimum wage or government handouts, the solution is getting more and new innovative business in Oklahoma.”

McElroy laid out three ways to attract businesses to the state: infrastructure projects, “cutting out the red tape” and aligning vocational schools’ curriculum to match industry demand by cooperating more closely with corporations.

Online: Website

Ryan Myers

HD 67 election
Ryan Myers is running in the House District 67 election in 2024. (Provided)

Age: 52

Profession/background: Myers grew up in Muskogee County and has lived in Tulsa for about 20 years. He is a volunteer for and the board treasurer of John 3:16 Mission.

Priorities: Myers identifies himself as a “constitutional conservative,” and he said during his debate introduction that “the Second Amendment is the most important amendment, the rest are just polite requests,” before proceeding to misattribute a famous quote to Edmond Burke, a famous British and Irish conservative.

Asked the first bill he would support if elected, Myers indicated he was not trying to go to the State Capitol “with an agenda.”

“I’m generally for fewer laws versus more laws,” Myers said. “We have plenty of laws on the books and legislation that we are not enforcing that we need to enforce.”

He also advocated “standing tall for the unborn” and strengthening parental rights. He also was disappointed in the failure of judicial reform during the most recent legislative session. Myers said he saw “homelessness on a regular basis” at John 3:16 and blamed addiction as causing most homelessness.

“The vast majority of people that are homeless aren’t homeless because they’ve had a bad run of luck. They have an addiction that caused them to lose everything. (…) And to feed that addiction — whether its drugs, alcohol or gambling — they stole from those family members (…) they burned all their bridges,” Myers said. “You can dig yourself out of it and restore your life. I don’t think the government has that much responsibility other than for widows and children.”

Myers said he was skeptical of trying to bring new businesses to Oklahoma, instead arguing for growing businesses already in the state.

“What’s always bugged me about the chamber (of commerce) is that we focus on all these wonderful incentives for new employers and then that new employer comes in with all these wonderful incentives and takes my employees because they can pay them more with the money I have given them because I’m the taxpayer,” Myers said.

Online: Website | Facebook

Kane Smith

HD 67 election
Kane Smith is running in the HD 67 election. (Provided)

Age: 45

Profession/background: Smith is an Army veteran and defense contractor who served in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2002 and 2013. He attended college before joining the U.S. Army, but he did not graduate until after his tours in the Middle East. Smith now works in real estate and banking. He also loaned his campaign $400,000 and has a fundraising advantage in the race, according to the Tulsa World.

Priorities: Smith generally opposes taxes and regulations and advocates for a smaller government, while also supporting funding law enforcement. He describes himself as a “defender of the Second Amendment” and “ardently pro-life.” He also supports encouraging more science-focused and technology-focused economic development in the state.

He lists his priorities as preventing “woke indoctrination” in schools and preserving women’s sports, a reference to a legislative movement to bar trans-women from participating in women’s sports. He supports protecting parental rights related to their children’s education.

Online: Website