by Patrick B. McGuigan
A wide range of important state and local races were either resolved or edged toward finality in this week’s June 24 election. While U.S. Rep. James Lankford soared to the Republican nomination for the remaining two years of the seat Tom Coburn is vacating, state Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, must still face perennial candidate Jim Rogers before she can nail down her party’s nod for the post.
Sen. Johnson led the primary with 71,402 votes (43.8 percent of the total cast), while Rogers had 35.5 percent (57,557) and political newcomer Patrick Michael Hayes had 20.8 percent (33,908).
Stories on the Fifth District race to take Lankford’s current seat can be found elsewhere in this edition.
Turning to state legislative races, in the Democratic state primary to replace Johnson at the state Capitol in Senate District 48, state Rep. Anastasia Pittman secured 5,658 votes, or 84.8 percent of the total. Trailing her was party activist Christine Byrd, with 1,014 votes (15.2 percent).
In other state Senate races, Dr. Erwin Yen in District 40 gained 2,741 votes (39.1 pecrent) to Rev. Steve Kern’s 1,400 (20 percent). Yen and Kern will contest the runoff in late August, with the victor facing Democratic nominee John H. Edwards in the general election. Dividing the rest of the Republican vote in S.D. 40 were Michael Taylor, Joe Howell, David Hooten and Brian Winslow.
State Rep. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, cruised to victory in the Senate District 46 race. She gained 1,629 votes (79.6 percent) to 414 for Wilfredo Santos Rivera (20.4 percent). No Republicans filed, so Floyd joins the Senate this winter.
In the contest for Rep. Pittman’s current House District 99, Rev. George Young garnered 1,074 votes (43.1 percent) to Eleanor Darden Thompson’s 778 votes (31.2 percent). Young and Thompson will square off in the runoff; finishing third was Steve Davis with 639 votes (25.7 percent). A Republican will be on the November ballot.
State Rep. Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, sailed to victory in the District 97 primary. Republican state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, R-Oklahoma City, coasted to a comfortable win in the District 54 primary.
One of the most interesting races of the year will be resolved by Democrats residing in House District 88, for the job now held by Rep. Floyd. Jason Dunnington led the field with 946 votes (40.3 percent) but must defeat Paula Sophia (552 votes, or 23.6 percent) in the upcoming runoff. Both are progressive candidates; Sophia would be the first openly transgendered elected Oklahoma elected official, if victorious.
Finishing behind the front-runners in H.D. 88 were activist Mark Faulk, with 454 votes (19.4 percent), and John Gibbons with 384 supporters (16.4 percent).
In District 82 (northwest Oklahoma City), former Republican state Rep. Kevin Calvey garnered 53 percent of the primary vote in a crowded field. Although an independent is on the November ballot, Calvey seems likely to return to the Capitol after November.
Turning to the County Commission race (District 1), incumbent Willa Johnson had 9,816 votes (75.4 percent) to secure the Democratic nomination. In November she will face Republican Daren Ward (6,725, 63.4 percent), who won the Republican primary.
Turning back to statewide races, in the race for a full six-year term in the U.S. Senate, incumbent Jim Inhofe won easily. Gov. Mary Fallin got three-fourths of the votes cast against dark horse contenderes. She will face state Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, in the general election.
Incumbent Insurance Commissioner John Doak sailed to victory in his primary; with no Democrats filed he is reelected. Similarly, because no Democrats filed, former state House Speaker Todd Hiett will assume the Corporation Commission seat after defeating state Sen. Cliff Branan, R-Oklahoma City, in the GOP primary. The Hiett-Branan joust was the closest statewide election of the day, with only 4 percent of the vote separating the two men.