With multiple outlets calling the race for Kevin Stitt, the Republican businessman and self-styled outsider will be Oklahoma’s next governor.
In his acceptance speech, Kevin Stitt thanks Jesus and talks of running Oklahoma like a business pic.twitter.com/VupuZcZDaO
— Brianna Bailey 🔥 (@briOKC) November 7, 2018
10:15 p.m. update: With all precincts reporting, Kendra Horn has knocked off incumbent Steve Russell to win the CD-5 seat.
10 p.m. update: There are still a handful of precincts left to report, but Oklahoma City television reporter Jordan Lucero is reporting that Kendra Horn is accepting the CD-5 seat. If that holds, Horn — who has held a slim lead over incumbent Republican Steve Russell all night — would be the only Democrat to hold any of Oklahoma’s five congressional seats.
— Jordann Lucero (@JordannLucero) November 7, 2018
9:45 p.m. update: Still six precincts left to report, but Kendra Horn is holding a lead of about 3,200 votes over incumbent Republican Steve Russell in CD-5. Russell would be the only incumbent of Oklahoma’s five U.S. representatives to lose Tuesday night should the results hold.
9:30 p.m. update: With just nine precincts remaining, Democrat Kendra Horn is holding a lead of nearly 3,000 votes over Republican incumbent Steve Russell in CD-5. Horn, should she hold on, would be one of the only high-stakes Democratic victories in Oklahoma tonight.
9:15 p.m. update: Only one state question — SQ 794, also known as Marsy’s Law, a victims rights question — is currently leading. The other four state questions are all trailing by narrow to moderate margins.
9 p.m. update: While Congressional Districts 1-4 are going, as expected, to the Republican incumbents, Democrat Kendra Horn still holds a sliver a lead in the District 5 race. Horn has a lead of about 280 votes with 195 of 273 precincts reporting.
8:45 p.m. update: Multiple outlets are now calling the governor race for Republican Kevin Stitt.
Fox News just called race for Stitt and people are cheering pic.twitter.com/sRxy7ieYuy
— Brianna Bailey 🔥 (@briOKC) November 7, 2018
In local Tulsa City Council news, there are four council seats open, and Crista Patrick (District 3,) Kara Joy McKee (District 4,) Mykey Arthrell (District 5,) and Lori Decter Wright (District 7,) are leading their races.
Arthrell leads by just 16 votes right now — many precincts in the various races are yet to report.
8:30 p.m. update: In races that are probably safe to call, Republicans Matt Pinnell (Lieutenant Governor,) Cindy Byrd (state auditor,) Mike Hunter (Attorney General,) Joy Hofmeister (State Superintendent,) Leslie Osborn (Labor Commissioner,) and Bob Anthony (Corporation Commissioner) all have massive early leaders.
In the race for governor, Kevin Stitt has all but locked up the victory over Drew Edmondson, holding the former state attorney general off even as Tulsa and Oklahoma County votes are counted. Stitt now leads by more than 108,000 votes. Both Fox News and NBC News have called the race for Stitt.
In the five Congressional races, incumbent Republicans Kevin Hern (District 1,) Markwayne Mullin (District 2,) Frank Lucas (District 3,) and Tom Cole (District 4,) have all but locked up their races. Meanwhile Democrat Kendra Horn in District 5 is holding a slight edge over incumbent Steve Russell, though Russell is narrowing the gap and now trails by just over a point.
In Tulsa-area news, District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has opened up a lead of just over 6 points over Democrat challenger Jenny Proehl-Day. District Judge Jim Caputo, who allegedly paid for sex at a local massage parlor, is the only Tulsa-based incumbent judge not winning his race. Caputo trails challenger Tracy Priddy, a former prosecutor, by 27 points.
8:15 p.m. update: Absentee and early voting results are in for Tulsa County District Attorney, and incumbent Republican Steve Kunzweiler received more than 52 percent of those votes and appears poised to potentially earn a second term as DA.
In the governor race, results are continuing to come in from Oklahoma County and Tulsa County — both of which so far have trended toward Edmondson, though the results have not been enough so far to slow down Republican Kevin Stitt, who is maintaining a 12 point lead thus far.
8 p.m. update: Of the three remaining State Representatives who voted against House Bill 1010xx earlier this year — also known as the teacher pay raise bill — all three (Tommy Hardin, Tom Gann, and Kevin West) have early leads in their races.
Meanwhile in the governor race, Kevin Stitt continues to grow his lead, now leading Drew Edmondson by more than 11 percentage points (54.03 percent to 42.82 percent.) The margin could grow closer when votes from Tulsa and Oklahoma are counted.
In the hotly-contested CD-5 race, Democrat Kendra Horn has garnered a slight early lead over incumbent Steve Russell, though the lead is mostly based on absentee and early votes. With only 4 of 273 precincts in, Russell trails Horn by 7 points, but has nearly double (1,849-1,069) of the election day votes.
7:45 p.m. update: Republican Kevin Stitt is garnering a majority of election day votes, quickly overcoming the early advantage that Drew Edmondson has garnered via absentee and early voting. Stitt now has a nearly 7.5 percent lead (101,117 votes to Edmondson’s 86,691 votes.)
— Clifton Adcock (@cliftonhowze) November 7, 2018
7:30 p.m. update: Hopes among Democrats in races for Corporation Commissioner, Labor Commissioner, Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor have hit a snag in early results as Republican candidates in those races (Bob Anthony, Leslie Osborne, Mike Hunter, and Matt Pinnell) jumped out to large early leads.
7:15 p.m. update: Early and absentee voting went to Drew Edmondson, who received 49.37 percent of those votes (53,152) to 48.18 percent for Stitt (51,868 votes.) Libertarian Chris Powell received 2,637 early and absentee votes.
In the most-watched U.S. State Representative race, District 5 Democratic candidate Kendra Horn has received 54.74 percent of the early and absentee vote (22,175 votes,) to Republican Steve Russell’s 18,334 votes (45.26 percent.)
Polls close at 7 p.m. and results for what should be a riveting election night are set to roll in soon.
We’ll have ongoing coverage of the results here tonight, so stay with us throughout the evening as the various races begin to take shape.
There are many important races going on across the state, but none more engrossing than the competition for governor. Republican Kevin Stitt, who was a virtual unknown before announcing his gubernatorial bid is facing off against Democrat Drew Edmondson, the former state attorney general who has had a long history in Oklahoma politics.
Stitt and Edmondson made it to election night by running campaigns virtually completely dissimilar from each other — Stitt is a businessman who not only doesn’t have a political background, he rarely even voted in state elections while Edmondson (and his various family members) have been engrossed in Oklahoma politics for decades.
And while some prognosticators have called the race a toss-up, Edmondson — despite being the best hope for Oklahoma Democrats to gain a foothold in the governor’s office in years — has a tough hill to climb.
There are about 220,000 more registered Republican voters in Oklahoma (1,003,182) than Democrat (781,091,) and early voting has seen a higher percentage of Republican voters (about 50 percent) compared to Democrat (about 40 percent.)
About eight percent of early voters have been case by Independents — one of the election’s wildcards, along with more moderate Republicans, a group Edmondson has increasingly targeted as the campaign has drawn on.
And early voting turnout has been tremendous according to the Oklahoma Election Board. Figures as of Monday morning showed more than 165,000 Oklahomans had voted by mail or early voting, almost a four-fold increase over the last governor election in 2014 — a figure more in line with a presidential election than a gubernatorial one.
Leading up to election day, the contenders have sparred in advertisements, debates and mailers about the issues that have defined the race. Edmondson has argued that Stitt, who founded Gateway Mortgage Group, turned his back on teachers during the walkout last April and is unprepared for political office, having rarely voted and having showed seemingly little interest in politics prior to running for governor.
Stitt, meanwhile, has said that his lack of political experience is a strength, not a weakness. He’s used his go-to phrase — “I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman” — throughout the campaign to illustrate what he argues is his outsider status. Stitt has said that lack of political background will allow him to look at the state’s problems, like education and teacher funding, or prison over-incarceration, with fresh eyes.
Edmondson’s camp, however, has argued that Stitt has failed to distance himself much from Gov. Mary Fallin’s policies, which Edmondson has argued helped put Oklahoma behind other states.
For the most part, Stitt has successfully distanced himself from Fallin. Though he’s never fully differentiated himself from the two-term governor when it comes to policy, he’s painted himself as an “outsider,” someone different from the “career politicians” who have run the state for so long.
That mindset has helped draw in supporters of Donald Trump. Oklahoma voters may have sided with Trump’s opponent Ted Cruz in the 2016 primary election, but Trump appears wildly popular with Oklahoma conservatives today. In October, Vice President Mike Pence came to Tulsa to rally for Stitt and drew a crowd of several thousand.
Edmondson, on the other hand, has maintained a lower profile — focusing mostly on a ground game of energized supporters and moderate advertising campaigns prior to the polls opening.