Oklahomans voted in primary elections around the state Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Tres Savage)

Several legislative candidates who failed to win a majority of votes cast in Tuesday’s primary election have to keep their campaigns rolling through primary runoffs a little more than two months away.

Although he avoided the sort of shocking defeat that befell a top Senate leader, House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace’s inability to win reelection outright marked the night’s biggest surprise. Wallace (R-Wellston) finished second in a three-way race for House District 32 in Lincoln County.

In Oklahoma, when no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote in primary balloting, the race will go to a runoff between the top two candidates. This year, the Aug. 27 runoff is only seven weeks away, meaning such candidates have no time for the respite afforded to those who either won seats outright or advanced to focus on their opponents in the Nov. 5 general election.

Of the 17 legislative primaries featuring at least three candidates Tuesday, 10 of them will be headed for a runoff.

Five others received at least 50 percent of the primary votes and are headed to a Nov. 5 general election, while a pair of Tuesday primary winners now face general elections:

  • In SD 21, Randy Grellner, whose long-shot bid for a U.S. Senate culminated with sixth-place finish and 4.4 percent of the vote, easily won a three-way primary election by garnering 4,130 votes, or 79.67 percent. Farmer and rancher Kurt Murray received 556 votes, or 10.73 percent — despite suspending his campaign — and James Winn won 498 votes, or 9.61 percent. Grellner will face Democrat Robin Fuxa, an Oklahoma State University professor., in the Nov. 5 general election. The winner of the November election will succeed Sen. Tom Dugger (R-Stillwater), who did not seek a third and final term.
  • In the HD 88 primary, Ellen Pogemiller, who has worked as a lobbyist at the Oklahoma State Capitol since 2018, won Tuesday’s primary. She received 1,444 votes, or 53.58 percent. Nicole Maldonado, a legislative assistant who spent part of her childhood in Colombia before settling in the U.S. permanently, received 829 votes, or 30.76 percent. Paula Sophia, a transgender woman who previously served in the Army and as an OKCPD officer, received 422 votes, or 15.66 percent. Pogemiller will face independent Bobby McCollum, a former auditor for the Oklahoma Tax Commission, in the Nov. 5 general election. The winner of that election will succeed Rep. Mauree Turner (D-OKC), who opted out of running for reelection, citing health concerns.

All June 18 election results are unofficial until they are certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Here’s a look at legislative candidates who will quickly resume campaigning in hopes of achieving victory in August.

HD 20: Retired coach, fire investigator advance

In a close contest between the top two vote-getters, former athletics administrator and retired coach Mike Whaley won 1,247 votes, or 28.85 percent, and Jonathan Wilk, a fire investigator, received 1,231 votes, or 28.48 percent. Real estate investor and rancher Alivia Snow got 907 votes, or 20.98 percent, and Pentecostal pastor Lonnie J. Burns received 240 votes, or 5.55 percent.

The winner of the Aug. 27 runoff election will advance to the general election to face Democrat Mitchell Jacob — a law student at the University of Oklahoma — on Nov. 5. The winner of that election will succeed Rep. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle), who has served HD 20 since she was first elected in 2018. She did not file for reelection.

HD 32: House budget chairman finishes second

House Appropriations and Budget Committee Chairman Kevin Wallace, one of the key decision-makers at the State Capitol, finished second in a three-way contest for the Lincoln County seat. As this year’s budget negotiations dragged all the way until the end of May despite — or because of — unprecedented transparency, Wallace’s campaign capacity was limited compared to prior cycles.

Rancher Jim Shaw received 2,347 votes, or 45.88 percent, while Wallace got 2,136 votes, or 41.75 percent. Former Perkins Mayor Jason Shilling received 633 votes, or 12.37 percent. Shaw has appeared on an episode of the Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment video podcast.

While Wallace has been targeted by hardline conservatives before, questions about a controversial wind farm project and his acceptance of lobbyist donations may have stacked additional opposition against him this year.

The winner of the Aug. 27 primary will win the HD 32 seat because no other candidates filed for the post.

HD 50: Insurance agent, student advocate advance

Insurance agent Stacy Jo Adams won 2,022 votes, or 42.51 percent, and state director of Peer Resolution for Oklahoma Students Andrew Aldridge got 1,519 votes, or 31.93 percent. Navy veteran Clayton T. Pickard got 906 votes, or 19.05 percent, and Ringling City Councilman Jayce Daniel Miller received 310 votes, or 6.52 percent.

Only Republicans filed for the seat, so there will be no general election in House District 50. The winner of the runoff between Adams and Aldridge will succeed Rep. Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan), who announced late last year he would not be seeking reelection.

HD 53: Insurance exec, sports apparel professional advance

Four Republicans were on the primary election ballot in Moore’s House District 53, where GOP incumbent Rep. Mark McBride was unable to seek reelection owing to term limits.

Insurance agent Jason Blair was the top vote-getter in the four-way primary. Blair won 960 votes, or 33.25 percent. Nick Pokorny, a sports apparel professional, finished second with 935 votes, or 32.39 percent. Pastor Heather Boss finished with 501 votes, or 17.35 percent and Kathren Stehno got 491 votes, or 17.01 percent.

No Democrat, Libertarian or independent filed for the race, so the seat will be filled by either Blair or Pokorny in the Aug. 27 runoff.

HD 60: Former OKC firefighter, candy shop owner advance

Retired Oklahoma City firefighter Mike Kelley, of Yukon, was the top vote-getter in the primary election for HD 60, which spans the east side of El Reno to Yukon. Kelley received 1,269 votes, or 41.7 percent. Ron Lynch, who owns a popcorn and candy shop and a fudge company, finished second with 665 votes, or 21.85 percent. They will advance to the runoff in a bid to succeed House Common Education Committee Chairwoman Rhonda Baker. The winner of the Aug 27 runoff will capture the Oklahoma House District 60 seat as no Democrats Libertarians or independents filed for the seat.

Toni Pratt Reid, a family nurse practitioner, finished third with 562 votes, or 18.47 percent, and Jason Warner, of Yukon, pastor of Southpark Baptist Church in southwest Oklahoma City received 547 votes, or 17.98 percent.

House District 60 is open this cycle because Baker (R-Yukon) declined to run for her fifth term two years after she won reelection despite an onslaught of negative advertising from independent expenditures.

HD 98: Rep. Dean Davis pulled into runoff

Rep. Dean Davis received one more vote than his closest opponent in Tuesday’s primary election, but he did not win a majority. Instead, he will head to a runoff against Gabe Woolley in August. Davis, who was a Broken Arrow public school teacher and coach before being elected in 2019, received 911 votes, or 42.41 percent. Woolley, an area elementary school teacher who hosts two podcasts, received 910 votes, or 42.36 percent.

David Taylor, who owns a construction company and works as a contractor, finished third with 327 votes, or 15.22 percent.

Following an arrest for public intoxication in 2023, Davis (R-Broken Arrow) was censured by the House of Representatives, which meant he was removed from all committee appointments until he offered an apology — and then walked it back — almost a year later. His arrest in 2023 was not his first misstep in office. Davis was also arrested for an alcohol-related offense in 2019 after he was first elected. He received a deferred sentence for driving while impaired, speeding and obstructing an officer, and Davis was recorded on Broken Arrow jail telephones making disparaging remarks about the police department.

Whoever wins the Aug. 27 runoff will go on to face Cathy Smythe, the Democratic nominee, in the Nov. 5 general election.

SD 3: Sen. Blake Stephens earns most votes in close race

Sen. Blake “Cowboy” Stephens won the most votes in a three-way contest in Senate District 3, which became a little less rural after the 2020 census, stretching from his Cherokee County home through Wagoner County to the edge of Broken Arrow.

Stephens (R-Tahlequah) received 3,251 votes, or 38.08 percent, just ahead of Dr. Julie McIntosh, who got 3,195 votes, or 37.42 percent. McIntosh received the backing of Corporation Commissioner Kim David, the former State Senate elected official from Wagoner County before redistricting and term limits. Wagoner City Councilman Patrick Sampson finished third with 2,092 votes, or 24.5 percent.

The winner of the Aug. 27 primary faces independent Margaret Cook in the Nov. 5 general election.

SD 15: Incumbent’s spouse wins most votes in primary

With Sen. Rob Standridge (R-Norman) reaching his term limit, his wife, Lisa, was one of six political hopefuls who filed for the Republican nomination in hopes to succeed him in the Cleveland County seat that surrounds the city of Norman.

Lisa Standridge won 2,827 votes, or 34.33 percent, in Tuesday’s primary. Finishing second was Robert C. Keyes, who garnered 2,203 votes, or 26.75 percent. Others receiving votes were former Norman Councilman Kelly Lynn, 1,375 votes, or 16.7 percent; Tommie Herell, 1,069 votes, or 12.98 percent; Brandon Nofire, 391 votes, or 4.75 percent; and Kyle Chapman, 369 votes, or 4.48 percent.

Whoever wins the Aug. 27 runoff will face Elizabeth Foreman, a Democrat who previously served on the Norman City Council.

SD 33: Broken Arrow vice mayor, education activist advance

Christi Gillespie, a businesswoman who serves as Broken Arrow’s vice mayor, and Shelley Gwartney, a businesswoman and education activist, are advancing to the Aug. 27 runoff election. Gillespie received 2,080 votes, or 44.29 percent, and Gwartney received 1,174 votes, or 25 percent. Bill Bickerstaff, a businessman, got 1,032 votes, or 21.98 percent, and Tim Brooks, an insurance executive, received 410 votes, or 8.73 percent.

The winner of the Aug. 27 runoff will oppose Democrat Bob Willis, of Broken Arrow, in the Nov. 5 general election. The winner of that election will succeed Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) who is term limited and could not seek reelection.

SD 47: Hines, Schmitt advance in close contest

Kelly Hines and Jenny Schmitt will advance to the Aug. 27 runoff election in a bid to succeed outgoing President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC) in the open Senate District 47 seat.

Hines received 1,889 votes, or 37.51 percent, and Schmitt received 1,579 votes, or 31.35 percent. Schmitt received just 11 more votes than Aaron Curry, who received 1,568 votes, or 31.14 percent. The winner of the Aug. 27 runoff will advance to the Nov. 5 general election to oppose Democrat Erin Brewer.