The most depressing news for progressives about Tuesday’s primary election results is that all the incumbents of Oklahoma’s archconservative Congressional delegation won their races in what media outlets described as “blowouts.”
Steve Russell has arrived to greet his supporters. He will now face (a yet unknown) democrat in the general election pic.twitter.com/AJRjL3eAie
— Phil Cross (@philsnews) June 29, 2016
The numbers support that description. U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine won with 80 percent, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin won with 63 percent, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas won with 77 percent, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole won with 71 percent and U.S. Rep. Steve Russell won with 80 percent. (I’ve rounded the numbers.)
What this means is that there’s probably little to no realignment or major dissatisfaction happening among the Republican electorate here, and hope for progressive victories, especially at the Congressional level, remain slim. This could also be a sign that Republicans will continue to dominate Oklahoma with large majorities in the House and Senate at the state Capitol.
'I feel like it's been a win already': Education advocates tout progress ahead of primaries https://t.co/HSDh8kXKoK
— KFOR (@kfor) June 29, 2016
I wrote “could” because it seemed like a mixed night for the so-called “teacher caucus,” the group of candidates with educational experience who ran focused pro-education campaigns. Oklahoma Watch reported that there “at least 40” such candidates and . . . “only 20 of those 40 candidates, almost all of whom were political newcomers, will continue this political season.” Note the use of the word “only” here. But as Oklahoma Watch also noted, some 23 candidates with educational experience didn’t face an opponent in the primary so there’s still a sizable number of candidates running under the common cause of improving funding for education.
One interesting race, in my viewpoint, was the State Senate District 41 Republican primary. That district is in Edmond and is Clark Jolley’s seat. Jolley is term limited this year. Adam Pugh collected the most votes in the race, forcing the well-known Paul Blair into a runoff after almost winning it outright. Pugh collected 49.89 percent of the vote. Blair is the pastor of the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond and is described as a “former collegiate and professional football player.” I think many people thought Blair would perform much better in the election.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Kevin McDonald, a Democratic candidate and teacher running on a pro-education platform. McDonald is a solid candidate for a number of reasons. Check out his site. He has been named “Teacher of the Year” in both the Guthrie and Edmond school districts.
Given McDonald’s popularity as an educator here and the fact Republicans seem split on a candidate, this race in the general election should draw special attention from the overall Democratic Party. The point is that McDonald might be able to pull out an upset victory in a decisively Republican area of the state.
November is still a long ways off and there’s no real final “take” on the possibility of major change here given the primary results. The early signs are mixed, but the Congressional incumbent blowouts remained the big news Tuesday.
The runoff elections will be held Aug. 23. The general election is Nov. 8.