In The Know: Governor candidates debate | Justice system discrepancies in Oklahoma | Dark money and elections

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. Some stories included here are behind paywall or require subscription. OK Policy encourages the support of Oklahoma’s state and local media, which are vital to an informed citizenry. Subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Policy Matters: Election advertising and ‘The Shawshank Redemption’: Much of the inflammatory rhetoric in a modern election cycle is funded by political action committees and so-called “dark money” groups – politically active nonprofits and corporate entities that are not required to publicly disclose their donors. [Shiloh Kantz / Journal Record]

Governor’s Debate: Post-Debate Panel Discussion (video): Lawmakers, community leaders, and the media participated in a post-debate panel discussion immediately after Wednesday night’s gubernatorial debate between Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and Democratic State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister [Together Oklahoma / YouTube]    

Oklahoma News

Kevin Stitt, Joy Hofmeister spar in lone Oklahoma governor debate: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and his Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister faced off in the only gubernatorial debate leading up to the general election on Nov. 8. [KOSU]

  • Replay: Gov. Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister debate in race for governor [The Oklahoman]
  • 6 takeaways from the Oklahoma governor’s debate between Kevin Stitt, Joy Hofmeister [The Oklahoman]
  • Hofmeister, Stitt face each other in gubernatorial debate [Tulsa World]
  • Gov. Stitt, Hofmeister take the debate stage ahead of midterms [Oklahoma City Free Press]
  • ‘Bickering back and forth’: Oklahomans react to Stitt-Hofmeister debate [FOX 25]

‘Is it working?’: Report highlights discrepancies in Oklahoma, Tulsa county court systems: Oklahoma County’s Drug Court judge believes a newly published report by a bipartisan advocacy group should have all judges, prosecutors and public defenders reevaluating the processes in the county’s criminal justice system. [The Oklahoman]

  • Turning the Page: Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice Reform Story []

Deadline approaching for Oklahomans to request absentee ballot: Oklahoma voters wanting to cast an absentee ballot for the November 8th general election must request that ballot no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, October 24. [Public Radio Tulsa] | [Oklahoma Election Board]

State Government News

Oklahoma Supreme Court rules in wind farm tax valuation case: Production tax credits used to finance construction of a wind farm cannot be considered property for the purpose of assessing ad valorem tax, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. [Journal Record]

Tribal Nations News

Bill Follis, who led the Modoc Nation in northeast Oklahoma for nearly 50 years, dies: The rules epitomized how Bill Follis led the Modoc Nation in northeast Oklahoma as chief for nearly 50 years. A naval aviator and rodeo cowboy, Follis helped his small tribe regain federal recognition in 1978, then went on to help shape Indian affairs in Oklahoma and the United States. [The Oklahoman]

Mobile betting in Oklahoma? Chickasaw Nation gets early green light from feds: Federal regulators on Wednesday signed off on rules that would allow the Chickasaw Nation to offer mobile gaming on its Oklahoma reservation, which spans the Interstate 35 corridor from the Red River north to near Norman. [The Oklahoman]

Voting and Election News

Poll shows Mullin, Lankford with big leads in races for Oklahoma’s US Senate seats: Republican Sen. James Lankford and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin hold big leads in a new poll and in fundraising for the two U.S. Senate seats on the Nov. 8 ballot in Oklahoma, as Democratic candidates face long historical odds and headwinds created by President Joe Biden’s low approval in the state. [The Oklahoman]

Who is running for Oklahoma County assessor? Your guide to the candidates: Incumbent Oklahoma County Assessor Larry Stein faces a challenge from Nick Singer in a race that voters will decide on Nov 8. Singer said he believes the county needs new representation, while Stein contends that his office has been successful and his experience should give voters confidence. [The Oklahoman]

Column: 2022 in Oklahoma could possibly be the year of the ‘unstable polls’: Polling is science and art. The science is rather straightforward. The art, however, is where polling can go wrong. [Tulsa World]

Criminal Justice News

Oklahoma death row inmate Benjamin Cole to be executed Thursday: The U.S. Supreme Court denied his last-minute appeal on Wednesday. Cole was also denied clemency by the Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board last month. [KOSU]

  • OKC church prepares to paint second cross at anti-death penalty vigil [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma death row inmates lose on appeal in challenge to execution protocol: A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a judge’s ruling that Oklahoma’s execution protocol is constitutional. [Tulsa World]

Federal inmate set for state execution denied transfer to Oklahoma custody: The Oklahoma attorney general is asking the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to reconsider a decision his office says could amount to unprecedented federal interference in the state’s execution process. [Tulsa World]

Economy & Business News

Rising rates slow home sales, listings in OKC, nationwide: Rising mortgage interest rates resulted in slowdowns in both home sales and home listings in September, according to industry watchers Redfin and Zillow. [Journal Record]

Education News

OU hosts national security leaders for inaugural aerospace and defense symposium: National security experts representing the defense industry, government and academia will be at the University of Oklahoma on Thursday for a first-time gathering. The Oklahoma Aerospace & Defense Innovation Institute Symposium will be held at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History on the Norman campus. [Tulsa World]

Education Watch: Student Test Data Shows Pandemic’s Effect: Data on how students are faring academically following the pandemic’s unprecedented disruption to their education are rolling in, and the numbers show considerable setbacks. [Oklahoma Watch]

General News

Woman found dead outside in downtown Tulsa after freezing temperatures overnight: After a woman was found dead across the street from a downtown homeless shelter, Tulsa police say it appears likely that she perished while outside on a night that stayed well below freezing. [Tulsa World]

Report find evidence of ‘internet redlining’: A recent report looked at major internet providers in 38 cities across America and found that all four routinely offered fast base speeds at or above 200 Mbps in some neighborhoods for the same price as connections below 25 Mbps in others. The neighborhoods offered the worst deals had lower median incomes in nine out of 10 cities in the analysis. In two-thirds of the cities where The Markup had enough data to compare, the providers gave the worst offers to the least white neighborhoods. [AP News via The Black Wall Street Times

Quote of the Day

“Longer sentences and higher felony bail is not making Oklahoma safer, and there’s more work that needs to be done at the county level and across the state to build on the progress we’ve seen to make Oklahoma more safe, fair and just.”

-jasmine Sankofa, policy and research manager for criminal justice reform at, speaking on a newly published report by published by, a group focused on criminal justice and immigration reform, which found stark disparities in bond practices, case dismissals, and the use of sentencing enhancements between Oklahoma and Tulsa counties. [The Oklahoman] | Turning the Page: Oklahoma’s Criminal Justice Reform Story []

Number of the Day


The average bail for a felony charge in Oklahoma County, while the average is half that ($5,000) in Tulsa County. Detainees in Tulsa County face misdemeanor bail amounts of $1,000 on average, while those in Oklahoma County usually receive bail set at $500 for misdemeanors. [ via The Oklahoman]

Policy Note

Information Gaps and Misinformation in the 2022 Elections: False claims about the 2020 election have prompted anti-voter laws and mistrust in the process. Election officials, civic groups, and the media must act against the threat of election misinformation. [Brennan Center for Justice]

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Hana Saad joined OK Policy in August 2022 as the Communications and Operations Fellow. She graduated from the University of Tulsa with degrees in Media Studies and English and is part of Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. At TU, Hana regularly wrote for The Collegian and was the Co-Editor of the Stylus Journal of Art and Writing. She also serves on the team at Puppy Haven Rescue to help in their mission of saving rescue dogs across Oklahoma. Hana is eager to learn more about public policy in Oklahoma and use her skills to support the OKP work to build a more equitable state. In her free time, she loves to read fiction and poetry, walk her dog, and make copious cups of tea.

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