In The Know: 6 of 7 ‘Platform Caucus’ lose runoff; election features closes calls, landslides; Kevin Stitt bests Mick Cornett…

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

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In The News

GOP runoffs: 6 of 7 ‘Platform Caucus’ members lose: Of the 10 Republican members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives who were in runoffs Tuesday, the three who voted in favor of funding teacher raises prevailed. But six of the seven lawmakers forced into a runoff and who voted against this year’s historic revenue package were defeated. Only Rep. Sean Roberts (R-Pawhuska) won, and only by 88 votes. [NonDoc] Republicans who oppose teacher protests are losing their primaries, even in red states. [The Intercept]

Statewide elections feature close calls, landslides: Oklahoma’s Republican runoff races for attorney general as well as state auditor and inspector appeared neck and neck during most of Tuesday night. Meanwhile, the Republican runoff elections for lieutenant governor, superintendent of public instruction and the Democrat runoff for corporation commissioner featured margins of victory well into the double digits. [NonDoc] Oklahoma elections recap: The winners and losers from last night. [NewsOK] Republican runoff election: Results by county. [Oklahoma Watch]

Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt bests Mick Cornett in Republican gubernatorial runoff: Tulsa mortgage company owner Kevin Stitt took the next step on Tuesday in his rise from political unknown to potential Oklahoma Governor, easily outpacing former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett in the Republican runoff. [The Frontier] That means the mortgage mogul — who touts himself as an outsider and has played up his similarities to and support of President Donald Trump — will turn his attention to Democrat Drew Edmondson, a former prosecutor and state attorney general. [NonDoc] No bull, it’s Stitt: Republicans choose outsider for gubernatorial candidate [Journal Record ????]

Sharp contrasts define the frontrunners in gubernatorial race: A deep-pocketed political newcomer and Republican businessman from Tulsa will face a longtime Democratic Party stalwart and former attorney general in November’s gubernatorial election. [Oklahoma Watch] More than $12 million has been spent on the race and millions more are expected to flow to the final candidates in the remaining 10 weeks of the contest, making this race easily the most expensive in state history. [Oklahoma Watch

Pinnell wins GOP nomination for lieutenant governor: Matt Pinnell, a longtime Republican Party politico, beat Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy in the runoff election on Tuesday for lieutenant governor. Pinnell received 171,575 votes, 58 percent, while Murphy got 123,557 votes, 42 percent, according to complete but unofficial results. [NewsOK]

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter wins, barely: Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter narrowly won Tuesday’s runoff election, edging surprise challenger Gentner Drummond by fewer than 300 votes. Hunter, 62, of Edmond, overcame both widespread public dissatisfaction with incumbents and negative attacks on TV and in mailers. [NewsOK] AG race could go to a recount. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Hofmeister advances in runoff, Byrd wins auditor nomination and Osborn gets past Costello for labor commissioner: Incumbent Joy Hofmeister advanced to the November general election in Tuesday’s Republican runoff. In other races, Cindy Byrd pulled away from Charlie Prater for the vacant state auditor and inspector race. Byrd got 143,941 votes to surpass Prater, who finished with 142,990 votes. [Tulsa World] The race for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commision far from over. [NewsOK]

Voters pit Hern, Gilpin in November Congressional election: The race for Oklahoma’s only open Congressional seat was narrowed further Tuesday, as voters chose Republican Kevin Hern and Democrat Tim Gilpin to face off in the November general election. [The Frontier] Veteran Congressman Frank Lucas offers advice to new 1st District representative. [Tulsa World]

Kendra Horn cruises past Tom Guild in congressional runoff, will face Steve Russell: Kendra Horn cruised to victory Tuesday night in a Democratic congressional runoff, becoming the first female candidate in a decade to qualify for a 5th District general election as she attempts to turn the Oklahoma City district blue for the first time since Watergate. [NewsOK]

Tulsa City Council incumbents re-elected; three races headed to Nov. 6 runoffs: The shake-up on the City Council that some people expected never materialized Tuesday. With all precincts reporting, the three incumbent councilors seeking re-election had earned convincing victories, according to unofficial results from the Tulsa County Election Board. [Tulsa World] Steve Kunzweiler beats former colleague Ben Fu in Republican runoff for Tulsa County District Attorney. [Tulsa World] John Wright wins Tulsa County Assessor’s Office race; Stan Sallee is Republican candidate for County Commission District 1 seat. [Tulsa World] Tulsa Municipal Results. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Runoff set for Ward 7 Oklahoma City Council seat: Radio personality Nikki Nice and former Church of the Harvest senior pastor Kirk Pankratz will meet in a runoff Nov. 6 as voters decide who will complete the unexpired term of former Ward 7 Councilman John A. Pettis Jr. With all 50 precincts reporting, Nice had 2,737 votes, or 29.1 percent, to 1,930 votes, or 20.5 percent, for Pankratz, in the race for the Oklahoma City Council seat filled temporarily by the Rev. Lee Cooper Jr. [NewsOK] Blumert wins Democratic nomination for Oklahoma County District 1 commissioner [NewsOK]

Voters ’embracing the American experience’ in runoff elections: Casting a ballot on Tuesday was just another way for Klaas Reimann-Philipp to embrace his new homeland. Originally from Germany, Reimann-Philipp became a United States citizen four years ago, which afforded him the right to vote. “I’m kind of embracing the American experience,” Reimann-Philipp said as he exited a north Oklahoma City precinct. [NewsOK]

OSU education majors down as teacher shortage hits Oklahoma: It is unclear how long the teacher shortage will last in Oklahoma, but its impacts are being felt across the state, including in classrooms on the Oklahoma State University campus where enrollment of education majors is down by roughly 21 percent in the past five years. [CHNI]

Applications open for Healthy Oklahoma Program: The Oklahoma State Department of Health is accepting applications through Nov. 1 for the Certified Healthy Oklahoma Program. The program offers certifications in seven different categories: Certified Healthy Business, Certified Healthy School, Certified Healthy Campus for colleges and career technology centers; Certified Healthy Community, Certified Healthy Congregation, Certified Healthy Early Childhood Program and Certified Healthy Restaurant. [Journal Record ????]

Oklahoma schools getting conflicting advice about impact of medical marijuana on their policies: How will the passage of medical marijuana in Oklahoma affect school policies? Right now, it depends on where they’re getting their legal advice. The Oklahoma State School Boards Association recently provided its member districts with a sample policy that would allow students “to access and utilize marijuana in accordance with state law” or for a caregiver “to administer medical marijuana to students at school.” [Tulsa World]

Fed official hears how tariffs are hurting manufacturing in Claremore: Had someone asked Pelco Structural President Phil Albert to pinpoint the soft underbelly of his company two years ago, he would have said it was finding and retaining qualified workers. Today, it’s the lack of predictability in the steel market brought on by tariffs resulting from an international trade dispute. [Tulsa World]

Former EMSA chief to $80k to settle kickback case: The former CEO of an Oklahoma ambulance service has agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars to settle a civil kickback case. The U.S. Justice Department revealed Monday that Stephen Williamson will pay an $80,000 settlement. [Public Radio Tulsa]

Charles Goodwin confirmed for OKC judgeship, despite ‘unqualified’ rating: The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to make Charles Goodwin a federal judge in Oklahoma City, doing so over the objections of the American Bar Association, which found him to be unqualified. The late afternoon vote was a test of the Senate’s willingness to reject the ABA’s findings. Goodwin was the first U.S. District Court nominee in 11 years to be deemed unqualified by the ABA. [NewsOK]

Quote of the Day

“I think there’s a pretty clear message that the ‘Yes’ vote on HB 1010 was the right vote, but I think we need to keep moving the state forward. I think that tells us what I’ve been saying for a while, which is that the people wanted solutions.”

– House Floor Leader Jon Echols (R-OKC) on last night’s runoff results. Of the 10 House Republican incumbents in runoffs yesterday, the three who voted in favor of the teacher pay raise kept their seats, while six of the seven who voted against the measure were defeated [NonDoc]

Number of the Day


Percentage of all Oklahoma jobs that are in local government (July 2018), the highest of any sector.

[Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

‘I’m somewhere bettering myself’: Prison reform unlike any other in America: Still, there have been significant changes. In 2015, there were more than 100 inmates at the state penitentiary in solitary confinement. On a recent day, that number was down to six. Todd Hoge has been at the state penitentiary 17 years, some of that time spent in solitary. He has vivid memories of what that was like. “Back in the day they treated you like you were a pile of shit. You weren’t a human being,” he says. “We’re all human. We mess up. A lot of us need treatment. Not to just throw us in here and throw us away.” [Governing]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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