MIAMI - Oklahoma voters turned out Tuesday to narrow their selections for the November General Election selecting their party picks in a crowded runoff.
Oklahoma is among ten states where a runoff is required if a party candidate does not secure a majority of the vote in a primary election.
In Ottawa County, Libertarians made their selection for Governor while Democrats cast their vote for party candidates vying for the Oklahoma District 2 Congressional seat, Corporation Commissioner, and the County Commissioner District 1 seat.
Local Republicans made their decision on party candidates for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Auditor and Inspector, Attorney General, Labor Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Corporation Commissioner.
U.S. Representative OK Dist. 2
On the federal level, Democrats made their selections statewide for U.S. Representative seats in Oklahoma Districts1 through 5.
For District 2, which includes Ottawa County, Democrats chose current Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols as their congressional candidate over veteran, educator, and cattleman Clay Padgett.
Statewide, Nichols garnered 56.84 percent of the vote and also saw solid results on the county level earning 61.12 percent of the vote from Ottawa County Democrats and participating Independents.
This election cycle, the Democratic Party has opted to allow registered Independents to vote in its primary.
Nichols will now face Republican incumbent Markewayne Mullin and local Libertarian Richard Castaldo of Grove in November.
"We’ve heard it can’t be done. That’s the narrative some in the establishment would have us believe. They hope to see us give up, to shy away from the challenge," read part of a statement issued by Nichols following his victory Tuesday night.
"But we have news for those who doubted our determination: they’ve underestimated the people."
In the gubernatorial race, Chris Powell took the Libertarian vote over Rex Lawhorn securing his spot in the November race in the first primary runoff election in the party's history. The former Libertarian State Chair garnered the majority with 59.07 percent of the vote.
In Ottawa County, Libertarians went with Lawhorn over Powell giving him 66.67 percent of the local vote.
In a video posted to his campaign's social media pages following his win, Powell congratulated Lawhorn for running a solid campaign and thanked supporters before expressing his confidence in delivering the message of the Libertarian platform to Oklahoma voter going into the November election.
“I think we’re ready to move forward into the General Election campaign and really show how we contrast with the power accumulation ways of the two establishment parties and we can really deliver to the people of Oklahoma the message that we want to empower them and take power away from the State Capitol and those two establishment parties,” said Powell in the video.
Republicans selected newcomer and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt over former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett in the Tuesday runoff.
Stitt secured 54.56 percent of the vote statewide following a contentious campaign race against Cornett leading up to the runoff.
Stitt was also favored on the county level securing 65.21 percent of the Ottawa County Republican vote.
"THANK YOU! On behalf of my entire family, my staff, and all our volunteers and supporters I want to say thank you for your vote, and for helping us move on to the General Election in November. Tonight was another big step forward. Now, it’s time to go win in November!" wrote Stitt in a message issued to campaign supporters late Tuesday.
Stitt and Powell will now face-off with Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson in November for Governor.
Republicans went with Matt Pinnell over Dana Murphy in the runoff for Lieutenant Governor, with Pinnell earning 58.14 percent of the vote statewide and a hefty 72.06 percent of the vote in Ottawa County.
Pinnell will now face Democrat Anastasia Pittman and Independent Ivan Holmes in November.
The runoff races for Republican picks for State Auditor and Inspector and Attorney General both saw tight finishes.
Cindy Byrd eeked ahead with 50.17 percent of the vote statewide over Charlie Prater.
On the county level, results were not as close with Byrd earning 52.74 percent of Republican votes in Ottawa County.
Byrd will face Libertarian John Yeutter in November.
The Republican runoff for Attorney General saw incumbent Mike Hunter barely take the lead over Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond Tuesday night by less than 300 hundred votes.
Drummond announced Wednesday afternoon that he was conceding the Republican nomination "in an effort to bring unity to the Republican Party," according to the Associated Press.
In turn, Hunter thanked Drummond for his concession and support in a statement issued by his campaign late Wednesday afternoon that also focused on the role of Attorney General as a vital and nonpartisan one.
“We need to remember, the role of the Attorney General is not a partisan role. Criminals don't discriminate between Republicans and Democrats when they prey on the vulnerable," read the statement in part. "Opioids are not more addictive for members of one party than the other, and justice denied for one is justice denied for all. I will continue to run the Attorney General's office with integrity and a focus on protecting and serving all Oklahomans."
Hunter received 50.05 percent of the Republican vote statewide but was way behind on the county level with Drummond the preferred candidate in Ottawa County with 62.13 percent of the local party vote.
Hunter will now face Democrat Mark Myles in November.
For Commissioner of Labor, Republicans selected Leslie Osborn as their candidate over Cathy Costello with Osborn earning 52.35 percent of the vote statewide.
Locally, Costello pulled ahead of Osborn securing 55.28 percent of the Ottawa County Republican vote.
Osborn will face Democrat Fred Dorrell and Independent Brandt Dismukes in November.
In education, incumbent Republican Joy Hofmeister won the party selection over Linda Murphy earning 56.68 percent of the statewide vote for Superintendent of Public Instruction.
On the county level, locally rooted Murphy won out earning 55.04 percent of the Ottawa County Republican vote.
Hofmeister will face Democrat John Cox and Independent Larry Huff in November.
The race for Corporation Commissioner saw runoffs for both Democrats and Republicans Tuesday.
Ashley Nicole McCray earned a big win on the Democratic ticket over Blake Cummings with 65.08 percent of the vote statewide and 62.67 percent of the vote in Ottawa County.
Republicans went with incumbent Bob Anthony over former State Legislator Brian Bingman, with Anthony securing 53.61 percent of the party vote statewide while Bingman pulled ahead on the county level with 53.81 percent of the vote in Ottawa County.
Bingman and McCray will face off with Independent Jackie Short in November.
Ottawa County Commissioner Dist. 1
Democrats in the five Ottawa County precincts included in County District 1 selected Mike Furnas over Kevin Dunkel as their party candidate for County Commissioner with 57.10 percent of the vote.
"I am so thankful and appreciative to everyone who voted and supported me in the runoff and I hope to have your continued support in the general election in November! THANK YOU!" said Furnas in a Facebook post following his win.
Furnas will face Republican Mike Moore in November.
November General Election
Party candidates selected in the June and August primary races will vie for their selected offices in the Nov. 6 General Election.
The last day to register to vote in the General Election is Friday, Oct. 12. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 31, according to the Ottawa County Election Board.
Early voting dates for the General Election are Thursday and Friday, Nov. 1-2 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ottawa County Courthouse Annex Community Room, 123 E Central Ave., Miami.
To download a voter registration form, confirm your registration, or find your voting place use the Online Voter Tool at the Oklahoma State Election Board website, https://www.ok.gov/elections, or call the Ottawa County Election Board at 918-542-2893.