In The Know: State owes Swadley’s BBQ $1.1M | Polls show urban-rural divide in gov. race | Capitol Update

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

Interim study looks at retail theft, but lowering the felony threshold is not the solution (Capitol Update): Last week Representative Rande Worthen, R-Lawton, presented an interim study on organized theft from retail stores in his Judiciary-Criminal Committee that he chairs. Rep. Worthen was an assistant district attorney in Lawton for 29 years before being elected to the House in 2016 and generally views criminal justice issues through the lens of his background as a prosecutor. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Oklahoma News

Stitt Cut Oklahoma’s Prison Population, Sentencing Alternatives Still Unfunded: Candidate Kevin Stitt campaigned on lowering the nation’s highest incarceration rate, emphasizing the need to provide more help for non-violent offenders. [Oklahoma Watch]

Column: Why voting is important: Typically, elections in Oklahoma are afterthoughts. Oklahoma is a highly partisan state and our races, outside of the OK-5 Congressional District, tend to not be close. Voting is important for a couple of reasons beyond the toothless, “make your voice heard” arguments. The chief reason voting is important is that you are not listened to by politicians if you do not vote. [David Searcy Guest Column / The Lawton Constitution]

State Government News

Veterans Commission chairman says Stitt has targeted him for removal: Another member of the Oklahoma Veterans Commission says he is being targeted by Gov. Kevin Stitt for removal. [Tulsa World]

New audit says State owes Swadley’s $1.1 million in unpaid invoices: This 16 page audit was filled on Wednesday of last week with the Attorney General’s office, and it details the state stopped paying Swadley’s in September of 2021, but work was still continuing on the restaurants. [KTUL]

Tribal Nations News

First Americans Museum hosts rally to increase Indigenous voter participation in Oklahoma: Prospective Native voters gathered at the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City last week to listen to stump speeches from candidates for federal and statewide offices, including Governor. The “Warrior Up to Vote Rally” is part of an effort to get Indigenous people to turn out for midterm elections. [KOSU]

Voting and Election News

Lankford challenger Madison Horn aims to end Democrats’ U.S. Senate drought: While incumbent Republican Sen. James Lankford seems poised to win his second full term in the United States Senate, his opponent, Madison Horn, is hoping the perfect storm delivers Oklahoma Democrats their first U.S. Senate victory in 32 years. [NonDoc]

ICYMI: Stitt, Hofmeister campaigns toss mud over Oklahoma governor candidate forums: Election season has reached the point at which campaigns and dark-money camp followers tend to either throw everything at the opposition and hope something sticks, or smile big for the cameras and try to convince voters their candidate is just plain folks. [Tulsa World]

  • As polls tighten, Oklahoma Gov. Stitt to host rallies with big GOP names [KGOU]

Facing millions in attack ads, Gov. Kevin Stitt turns to self-funding in governor’s race: Gov. Kevin Stitt poured $1.9 million of his own money into his reelection campaign as he is getting hammered by millions of dollars in negative commercials and several local polls show his Democratic opponent within striking distance in the race. [The Oklahoman]

Election poll predicts urban-rural divide in Oklahoma governor’s race, other contests: The Nov. 8 elections in Oklahoma could be a tale of two states again, as Republican candidates look far better positioned in rural counties than in the big metro areas, according to a recent poll. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma governor’s race swamped by $12 million in independent expenditures: More than $12 million in independent expenditures, most of it from untraceable sources, has been poured into the Oklahoma gubernatorial race since Aug. 25, records show, with almost $10.3 million of that benefitting Democrat Joy Hofmeister. [Tulsa World]

CD 5: Bice, Harris-Till race a contrast in problem solving: In a year when the majority of Republicans running for Congress believe or question whether the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice is taking a more traditional GOP approach as she runs for reelection in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District against Democratic challenger Joshua Harris-Till and independent David Frosch. [NonDoc]

As political ads flood the Oklahoma governor race, we checked the facts: The Frontier found some ads for both Kevin Stitt and Joy Hofmeister that contained inaccurate or misleading statements. [The Frontier]

Oklahoma judicial race turned topsy-turvy by mailers from fake Democratic organizations: A judicial candidate in a deeply red county is complaining her campaign has been sabotaged by fake mailers that purport to show she has the support of President Joe Biden and other prominent Democrats. [The Oklahoman]

For some Oklahoma Republicans, a longing for ‘a return to decency’: Gov. Kevin Stitt has seen his polling lead over challenger and former Republican Joy Hofmeister dwindle, then disappear. Some conservative voters have decided to switch sides, at least temporarily. [The Frontier]

Race for District 3: Cathy Cummings, Myles Davidson disagree on Oklahoma County Jail: As they approach the general election for the Oklahoma County Commission District 3 seat, long-time county employee Myles Davidson and former mayor of The Village Cathy Cummings disagree on the priorities for the troubled jail and have different ideas for improving county services. [NonDoc]

Criminal Justice News

OKC police release body camera footage of two police shooting incidents: The Oklahoma City Police Department on Monday released video from body cameras used by three Oklahoma City officers who are under investigation after firing their guns at suspects in two separate mid-October shootings. [The Oklahoman]

Economic Opportunity

Company lays out plans for Burns Flat complex: Premium Aerospace Center is placing its international headquarters at aerospace industrial park in western Oklahoma. The company, which specializes in painting aircraft, is renovating two hangars to accommodate wide-body aircraft. [The Journal Record]

Economy & Business News

Survey: Regional manufacturing down, as are expectations: Manufacturing and future expectations for it declined in seven regional states including Oklahoma, according to a monthly survey by the Federal Reserve Branch of Kansas City. [Tulsa World]

Durant, Choctaw Nation, SEOSU key to state’s aeronautics industry: Leaders of Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s aviation program were hard to reach recently because they were traveling to Florida to pick up a new plane as the university expands its training program to meet future aerospace demands. [The Journal Record]

Amazon’s cutbacks cost Oklahoma City one of its once-vaunted ‘last-mile’ delivery centers: Amazon’s slowed-down sales were the last straw for one of its “last-mile” delivery centers in Oklahoma City. [The Oklahoman]

Education News

University of Central Oklahoma president to leave mid-school year: The University of Central Oklahoma announced Monday the resignation of its president, who grappled with a $15 million budget shortfall and a controversial cost-saving plan throughout her tenure. [The Oklahoman]

  • UCO President Patti Neuhold-Ravikumar resigning [NonDoc]

General News

Search for 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre victims uncovers more unmarked graves at Oaklawn: Scientists searching for victims of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre have uncovered 17 more unmarked graves at the city-owned Oaklawn Cemetery, an official said Monday. [Tulsa World]

EMSA to pay $10.5 million as part of court settlement: EMSA, the ambulance system that serves the Tulsa and Oklahoma City areas, has agreed to pay $10.5 million to its former ambulance services provider to settle a lawsuit. [Tulsa World]

Oklahoma Local News

Collinsville unveils $8.6M water treatment plant overhaul: ‘It’s pretty cutting-edge’: John “JD” Shore’s time spent managing the daily operations of the city’s Water Treatment Plant is enlivened by a passion to ensure the well-being of his customers. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“Lowering the net back to $500 to gather in small-time thieves, charge them with a felony, put them on probation, then revoke the probation, then send them to prison, and then do it all over again is exactly what the people voted against. It doesn’t solve the problem, and it fills the prisons with non-violent offenders costing taxpayers a lot of money.”

-Former Oklahoma House Speaker Steve Lewis, writing about proposals to roll back justice reforms by lowering the felony threshold for theft [Steve Lewis / OK Policy]

Number of the Day


Percentage increase of the U.S. population of American Indian and Alaska Native in combination between 2010 and 2020 [U.S. Census Bureau]

Policy Note

Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation Faced by Native American Voters:  Although Native Americans are among the fastest growing populations in the United States, there are strong forces preventing their full political participation. The factors discouraging political participation are: (1) geographical isolation; (2) physical and natural barriers; (3) poorly maintained or non-existent roads; (4) distance and limited hours of government offices; (5) technological barriers and the digital divide; (6) low levels of educational attainment; (7) depressed socio-economic conditions; (8) homelessness and housing insecurity; (9) non-traditional mailing addresses such as post office boxes; (10) lack of funding for elections; (11) and discrimination against Native Americans. [Native American Rights Fund]

NOTE: November is National Native American Heritage Month designated to celebrate Indigenous peoples and to honor Tribal sovereignty and Tribal self-determination.


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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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