The overwhelming number of the intra-party challenges to sitting House incumbents lie on the Democratic side in this election cycle, but Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Westville/Muskogee), who broke his three-term limit pledge during the 2018 campaign, has drawn a competitive 2020 Republican challenger. State Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow), a strong social issues conservative leader who reportedly does not get along with his party’s leadership in the legislature, announced that he will challenge the four-term Congressman next year.
In 2018, Rep. Mullin deflected a challenge from a less formidable series of candidates, 54-25-12-9%, which proved a weak performance for an incumbent in his own party. We can expect this new primary challenge to generate political fireworks.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been doing very well in southern state polling, and the new Oklahoma Sooner Poll supports the stated trend. Looking closer at the survey methodology, however, tells us that this particular study is inconclusive. First, the sampling period is over a long ten-day span (7/17-27), and second, while 373 Oklahoma voters were sampled, only 152 individuals are registered Democrats. Both factors substantially decrease reliability.
Therefore, the ballot test projecting Mr. Biden with 26% support as compared to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) 12% means that only 40 respondents chose Biden and just 17 voiced support for his chief opponent. These numbers are clearly not high enough to form a credible statewide tabulation.
Veteran Sen. Jim Inhofe (R), who will turn 86 years old before he is sworn in for a fifth full term, filed a new committee with the Federal Election Commission to signal he will indeed seek re-election. Though the move does not constitute an official announcement of candidacy, it is clear that the Senator plans to be on the ballot once again in 2020. His re-election chances are strong.
One of the biggest 2018 upsets occurred in Oklahoma City, where upstart Democrat Kendra Horn unseated two-term Republican Congressman Steve Russell (R). Since OK-5 is one of the more reliable Republican districts that switched to the Democrats last year, we can expect this seat will be a top tier GOP conversion target for the entire election cycle.
Yesterday, state Senator Stephanie Bice (R-Oklahoma City) announced that she will challenge Rep. Horn. Ms. Bice chairs the Senate Finance Committee, so it is clear that she is an accomplished legislator who should be able to run a credible challenge campaign.
Despite Oklahoma being one of the strongest Republican states in the nation, the current open Governor’s campaign is highly competitive. With education, budget, and tax issues being controversial and major points of concern in the state, the electorate is becoming more competitive. A new Right Strategy Group survey (9/25-26; 1,058 OK likely voters) finds mortgage banker Kevin Stitt (R) and former Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) locked in a single-digit battle. According to this latest polling study, Mr. Stitt’s advantage is 47-43%. Yet, in the other seven Oklahoma statewide offices Republicans enjoy their typical double-digit leads.
Voters in Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma chose nominees last night in the final multi-state primary and run-off.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum scored an upset win in the open Florida Governor’s Democratic primary while Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Palm Coast; Daytona Beach) romped on the Republican side. The Arizona Senate contest produced a solid win for Rep. Martha McSally (R-Tucson), who will now oppose Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Phoenix) in the open general election. Arizona State University professor David Garcia won the right to challenge Gov. Doug Ducey (R). Mortgage banker Kevin Stitt easily turned back Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett in the Sooner State gubernatorial run-off and now pairs with former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) in the general election.
Multiple congressional races up and down the ballot in all three states were determined, advancing both parties into the general election in all instances.
Voters in Arizona, Florida, and Oklahoma choose nominees today. In Arizona and Florida, primary elections are being held. Some Oklahoma voters will decide party run-off campaigns for those not obtaining a majority in their June 26th primary elections.
The key races are the open Florida Governor’s race (both parties), the Arizona Senate contest (Republicans), AZ Governor campaign (Democrats), the Oklahoma gubernatorial run-off (Republicans), and various congressional races up and down the ballot in all three states.
With Republicans embroiled in a hot run-off election to be decided August 28th, the Right Strategy Group surveyed both the secondary GOP contest and the general election. According to the survey (8/1-2; 737 OK likely general election voters; 385 OK likely Republican run-off voters), a dead heat would exist between former Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) and each of the remaining GOP candidates. Paired with Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett (R), Mr. Edmondson and he are tied at 39% apiece. If businessman Kevin Stitt were to become the GOP nominee, the former state AG would lead this pairing, 41-40%.
In the Republican run-off, it is the businessman, Mr. Stitt, who holds a 41-32% advantage over Mayor Cornett.
Weighing on the Republicans is poor feelings about the current Governor and legislature. Term-limited Gov. Mary Fallin (R) has among the worst approval ratings in the country, and the Right Strategy data finds her with an odious 11:80% positive or negative ratio. The Republican controlled state legislature is also poorly viewed: 19:65% positive to negative. Tax and education policies have been the reason for the state’s rough political waters.
With former Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Tulsa) accepting a position in the Trump Administration and resigning from Congress, the Tulsa-anchored 1st Congressional District is vacant. Attracting a field of five Republicans and five Democratic candidates for the safe Republican seat, the June 26th primary produced a secondary Republican run-off election featuring former Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris and businessman Kevin Hern.
Now, as the August 28th run-off is now less than one month away, a new Newson6-Oklahoma Sooner Poll (7/24-29; 811 OK-1 likely Republican run-off voters) finds Mr. Harris posting a 38-26% advantage over Mr. Hern. The original primary election yielded a 27-23% Harris-Hern first and second place finish, which advanced both into the run-off. For the Democrats, attorney Tim Gilpin and oil business analyst Amanda Douglas are also embroiled in a run-off election, but no polling numbers were released for this contest.
The new 9News (Oklahoma City)/Sooner Poll (7/18-20; 483 OK likely GOP run-off voters) finds the two Republican run-off participants, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and mortgage banker Kevin Stitt, in a dead heat, tied at 38% apiece. In the primary, Cornett placed first in a field of ten candidates with 29% of the vote. Mr. Stitt placed second with 24%, thus both advanced to the run-off election because no one reached majority support. The winner of the August 28th contest moves into the general election against former Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who won the Democratic nomination outright on June 26th. Gov. Mary Fallin (R) is ineligible to seek a third term.
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