More Oklahoma House races to watch this November (Capitol Updates)

oklahoma_governor_election_results_by_county_2014-svgSteve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1991. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol. You can find past Capitol Updates archived  on his website.

Last week I reviewed 10 House races that will be interesting to follow. As I said then, it’s hard to know if these races are actually competitive without in-depth analysis, but I think they are at least worth some attention for people who want to follow the legislature. This week we’ll look at 11 more House races. Keep in mind there may be others that are worth following, too.

HD 42 is being vacated by Rep. Lisa Billy (R-Purcell) due to term limits. The Republican candidate is Tim Downing who is an attorney in the office of Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Downing is also a minister and lists in his background working “two years for Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) on issues including opposition to Shariah law, defending Israel, opposing Obamacare, defending religious freedoms, protecting unborn children, fighting for military chaplains and defending traditional marriage.” The Democratic candidate is Liz George, a Blanchard native who graduated from OCU Law School with top honors and says she is running “because I feel compelled to take action to support our community and ensure our future success. I can no longer sit back and watch the current elected officials destroy public education, our economy, and the health and welfare of our neighbors and children.”

In HD 55, Rep. Todd Russ (R-Cordell) is opposed by Wayne Walters (D-Canute.) Rep. Russ is a banker and former school teacher. I included this race because Walters, who is a farmer, is the brother of former governor David Walters and may have a better idea of how to run a campaign than the usual challenger.

HD 62 State Rep. John Michael Montgomery (R-Lawton) is finishing his first term in the seat once held by Speaker TW Shannon. Montgomery graduated from OU in 2014. He is opposed by Larry Bush (D-Lawton). Bush has his own Allstate Insurance Agency in Lawton and played linebacker for four years at OU following an All American high school football career at Ada High School. He played in the NFL for the New York Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In HD 74 Owasso Republican Rep. David Derby’s decision not to run for re-election sets up an interesting contest between his father, Dr. Dale Derby (R-Owasso) and Jeri Moberly (D-Owasso). Rep. Derby waited until filing to announce his intention not to run for re-election, and his father filed instead, securing the Republican nomination. Derby is an Owasso anesthesiologist. Moberly, who owns the Moberly American National Insurance Agency in Owasso is a former city councilor and mayor of Owasso.

The HD 78 seat held by term-limited Rep. Jeannie McDaniel (D-Tulsa) is being sought by Melodye Blancett (D-Tulsa) and Molly McKay (R-Tulsa). Blancett graduated from OU with a degree in journalism and professional writing and has her own business which specializes in providing marketing and public relations consulting for private firms and public institutions across Oklahoma. McKay is a Tulsa attorney who graduated from TU law school. McKay ran against Jeannie McDaniel in 2010.

Rep. Cyndi Munson (D-OKC) is opposed in HD 85 by Matt Jackson (R-OKC) who ran for the seat in July 2015 to fill the unexpired term of Rep. David Dank who died, but came in third in the Republican primary. The seat was a long-time Republican seat until Rep. Munson won it in 2015.

HD 87 was left open when Majority Floor Leader Jason Nelson (R-OKC) decided not to run for a final term. Attorney Collin Walke (D-OKC), who ran against Nelson in 2014, is running against civil engineer Bruce Smith (R-OKC) who is President and CEO of Atlas Paving Company, Atlas Asphalt Products, Inc. and Grace Trucking Company.

HD 92 is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC). Forrest Bennett (D-OKC) who has taught American government at OU is competing with Joe Griffin (R-OKC) who was recently the press secretary and director of communications for retiring House Speaker Jeff Hickman.

HD 93 opened up when Rep. Mike Christian (R-OKC) decided to run for Sheriff of Oklahoma County. Former Oklahoma City School Board member Jay Means (R-OKC) is running against former U.S. Grant High School teacher Mickey Dollens in South OKC. Dollens was one of the 208 Oklahoma City teachers laid off in 2016 due to the budget cuts. Means resigned from the school board in June, 2014 after accepting a job as principal of the middle school in Woodward, OK. Means maintained his residence in Oklahoma City. Dollens is a former SMU football player and was a member of the U.S. Olympic bobsled team from 2006 to 2014. He is also an author and has a business in Oklahoma City.

In HD 95 Rep. Charlie Joyner (R-MWC) decided against filing for re-election, and the seat is being sought by Dr. James Cook, (D-MWC) and Roger Ford (R-MWC.) Cook is former president of Rose State College in Midwest City and Seminole State College in Seminole. Ford is a funeral director in Midwest City. Ford Says his background and experience in running a successful business, along with his consistent involvement in the community, will enable him to work with the people in House District 95 to make good, honest decisions. Cook says he made the commitment to run for office because he could no longer sit on the sidelines as our current leaders continue to fail in their responsibilities to balance our state’s budget and adequately fund our core services.

Rep. Gary Banz (R-MWC) is term limited, opening up HD 101. Tess Teague (R-Choctaw) is running against Cheryl Mooneyham-Hessman (D-Choctaw.) Teague manages the Journal Record newspaper’s Legislative Reporting Service at the Oklahoma Capitol. Managing a staff of four, she oversees coverage of the legislative process. She says she is running to “Represent the Conservative Values of Eastern Oklahoma County in the Oklahoma State House.” Mooneyham-Hessman taught for 10 years at the Choctaw Elementary School and has been principal of Clara Reynolds Elementary School in Harrah since 2000. She says “the people of Oklahoma deserve to live in a state that boasts the highest standards possible. Each of us has been directly and adversely affected by many of the decisions made at the state capitol.”

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Steve Lewis served as Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1989-1990. He currently practices law in Tulsa and represents clients at the Capitol.

One thought on “More Oklahoma House races to watch this November (Capitol Updates)

  1. Thank you for sharing this great information. Let’s run down some of the great folks we have running:

    -A man seeking to represent Oklahoma City, but works at least 5 days a week two and a half hours away in Woodward

    -A member of the press running to be part of the very government body she reports on

    -The CEO of a construction company that bids on government contracts

    -The brother of a former not-so-popular governor

    -One of AG Pruitt’s far right winger attorneys

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