In The Know: Stitt wins governorship; Horn unseats Russell; ‘Marsy’s Law’ approved, other state questions defeated…

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.

In The News

Kevin Stitt picks up record number of votes to win Oklahoma governor’s race: Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, a virtual unknown in state politics just a year ago, rode his campaign as a political outsider to a record-setting victory Tuesday in the Oklahoma governor’s race. [Tulsa World] Stitt beat Democrat Drew Edmondson by nearly 12 percentage points, a wide margin of victory following a race that many polls labeled a close contest. [NewsOK] Stitt show: Oklahoma picks Republican to succeed Fallin [NonDoc]

Hello, congresswoman: Kendra Horn beats Steve Russell: On a night when Democrats across the country are hoping for a blue wave to switch the balance of power in Congress, Democrat Kendra Horn appears to have defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Russell in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District. [NonDoc] Republican businessman Kevin Hern wins U.S. House seat vacated by Bridenstine. [Public Radio Tulsa] While Hern and three Republican incumbents in Oklahoma’s congressional delegation won by comfortable margins, the 5th District’s Steve Russell lost to Democrat Kendra Horn. [Tulsa World]

‘Victim rights’ initiative wins in landslide, but voters reject other state questions: While rejecting four other state questions, more than 3 out of 4 Oklahoma voters approved an effort to give alleged crime victims more influence on court proceedings.Also known as Marsy’s Law, SQ 794 will give alleged victims more opportunities to be heard in court while also giving them the right to limit contacts with defense attorneys. [Tulsa World]

Education funding concerns kill effort to wean Oklahoma budget off oil: After hard-fought wins for education funding this year, Oklahoma voters have rejected a proposal that education advocates warned would compromise those gains. By a 15-point margin, voters dispatched with Question 800, which would have set aside oil revenue for a new state investment fund to build wealth for future generations. [Governing]

Oklahoma attorney general, state schools superintendent and other statewide GOP candidates win easily: Attorney General Mike Hunter, state schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister and four other down-ballot Republican candidates for statewide office easily won Tuesday. Hunter defeated Democrat Mark Myles Tuesday in the general election after surviving the GOP runoff election in August by just 271 votes. [NewsOK]

‘Blue wave’ fizzles in Oklahoma as GOP maintains dominance: A Democratic “blue wave” that would upend Republican dominance over Oklahoma failed to materialize Tuesday as the state’s political makeup – with a few exceptions – saw little change after the highly anticipated midterm elections. [Oklahoma Watch] Republicans swept down-ballot statewide offices in Oklahoma Tuesday, coming as no surprise. [Journal Record]

More #okleg incumbents lose, but Democrats this time: In a result sure to surprise some, House Minority Leader Steve Kouplen (D-Beggs) has lost to Republican Logan Phillips. Not only does Kouplen’s loss mean Democrats will choose a new leader in the House, it underscores a continued transition of eastern Oklahoma from blue to red. In a year when 12 incumbent Republicans had already lost, the defeat of additional lawmakers will cause an even larger wave of new legislators. [NonDoc] The transformations of the Oklahoma Republican and Democratic parties continued on Tuesday as 14 legislative seats changed hands. Eight seats — seven in the House — switched from Democrat to Republican, with all but one of those outside the state’s two largest metro areas. [Tulsa World]

McCray candidacy shed more light on Corporation Commission: Bob Anthony will keep his seat at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Though he’s won the seat for 30 years, campaign co-chairman Harold Spradling said he hasn’t succeeded on behalf of his candidate if Anthony couldn’t get 90 percent of the vote. Anthony garnered 60 percent of the vote. Ashley Nicole McCray got 34 percent of the vote. Independent candidate Jackie Short got nearly 6 percent of ballots cast, according to preliminary results posted on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website Tuesday evening. [Journal Record]

Two Oklahoma County district judges defeated: Four Oklahoma County judicial races were on the ballot Tuesday. A longtime district judge and a relatively new district judge both saw defeat. In the two other races, those seats were open because district judges are retiring. [NewsOK] In Tulsa County, Caputo loses judicial seat; Morrissey, Wall, Holmes retain posts. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler wins second term: Despite a perhaps more spirited than anticipated election night, Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler held off Democratic challenger Jenny Proehl-Day to win a second term. [The Frontier]

Tulsans elect four new city councilors: Tulsans hired four new city councilors on Tuesday in elections that ranged from nail-biters to a landslide. Winning by close margins were Kara Joy McKee, who defeated Daniel Regan in the District 4 race, and Cass Fahler, who edged out Mykey Arthrell in the District 5 election. [Tulsa World]

Election night brings highs and lows for Oklahoma teachers: There were tears of joy and tears of sorrow here at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame tonight, as the “teacher caucus” and its supporters watched the election results roll in. [Education Week] Four current or retired school principals won state office in Oklahoma on Tuesday night, a win for educators during an election cycle that saw an unprecedented number of Oklahoma teachers and school administrators running for office, according to Education Week. [The Hill]

Once thought to be a juggernaut, support for teacher causes appears to have waned: Earlier this year, as teachers across Oklahoma walked out of their classrooms and demanded a raise and better funding at the State Capitol, it appeared they would be an unstoppable force — a tidal wave ready to wash over every obstacle in their path. They got their raise, but months later it seems they may have lost at the bigger prize. [The Frontier] For politically active teachers and parents, the defeat of gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson was the night’s biggest disappointment. There were other disappointments, too. Two sitting lawmakers who are former educators lost re-election: Rep. Karen Gaddis, D-Tulsa, and Rep. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester. [Oklahoma Watch]

Oklahoma voters surge to polls: Oklahoma’s voters came out in force for Tuesday’s midterm election, reflecting in part a national surge of people flocking to the polls after more than a year of divisive political conflict. More than 1.18 million people cast votes in the Oklahoma gubernatorial race, typically the top race in the state’s midterm election years. [Oklahoma Watch]

To help rural Oklahoma families, expand Medicaid: Millions of Americans gained access to health coverage in 2014 when big parts of the Affordable Care Act kicked in – but the health law’s effects were always muted in Oklahoma. When Oklahoma policymakers declined to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid to low-income Oklahomans, they stranded thousands of Oklahomans without access to health coverage. [OK Policy]

Quote of the Day

“It is an interesting time in Oklahoma history to have such a diverse ticket, from rural parts to Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It’s phenomenal to see the way all these candidates from different backgrounds and geographies worked together to turn out voters.”

-Michelle Tilley, director of the Oklahoma Future Fund, an initiative to increase voter turnout among populations with historically low turnout [Source: Journal Record]

Number of the Day

$157M to $228M

Estimate for how much revenue Oklahoma lost due to unpaid use taxes on online sales in 2017.

[Source: Oklahoma Policy Institute]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Owning real estate has not panned out for many African-Americans: Politicians and advocates have long touted homeownership as the best way to build wealth, saying that over the long term, home values go in only one direction: up.But since the dawn of the 21st century, that promise has been an empty one for many African-Americans.In nearly a fifth of the ZIP codes where most homeowners are black, home values have decreased since 2000, compared with only 2 percent of ZIP codes where black homeowners are not the majority. [Source: Pew Trusts]

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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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