Primary Election Results for State Offices
Kevin Stitt was a surprise winner in the 2018 Republican primary, having never before held public office, and in fact not having even been involved much in the political process at all. Surprisingly, he did not even vote in the 2016 intensely-fought Oklahoma Republican Presidential Primary in which Senator Ted Cruz of Texas won over businessman Donald Trump.
Stitt ran as a businessman and a political outsider. He received an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University in 1996 and after graduation worked in the mortgage loan industry. He started Gateway Mortgage Group in 2000 “with only $1,000 and a computer.” Gateway grew into an enterprise employing over 1,100 people, and had 145 offices in 40 states. After his election, he converted the company into a mortgage bank.
Stitt, 49, has been a mostly conservative governor, but has been the target of a dark money group which spent over one million dollars in advertising in opposition to Stitt’s reelection. Those behind the ads have not been fully uncovered, but since the ad campaign began so early, it was initially thought the group was behind one of the Republican challengers. However, new ads have already surfaced following the June 28 primary. There are indications that large contributors to the Hofmeister campaign are also contributors to the group. Gov. Stitt has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump who did a fundraiser for Stitt in April.
Since Stitt was opposed for the Republican nomination by three challengers this year, the possibility that he might be pushed into the August 23 Runoff Primary Election was present. But, he managed to capture the nomination with an impressive 69.06 percent of the vote on June 28.
Joel Kintsel of Oklahoma City, who is currently on leave from his job as executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, finished second to Stitt with 14.33 percent. Kintsel is a lieutenant colonel in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, and has been in charge of the state’s veterans agency since 2019. He previously was the parliamentarian for the Oklahoma House of Representatives for 14 years.
Dr. Mark Sherwood of Broken Arrow finished in third place with 13.26 percent. He is a certified Naturopathic physician and founder of the Functional Medical Institute, a wellness-based medical practice in Tulsa. He and his wife have authored three best-selling books on diet and health. Previously he served 24 years in the Tulsa Police Department, including service on the department’s SWAT Team. He was also a former Oklahoma state and regional bodybuilding champion, and an ex-professional baseball player.
Moira McCabe finished in last place with 3.35 percent. She is a stay-at-home mother who resides in Oklahoma City.
Stitt will have several challengers, including a Democratic Party opponent, in the general election. Two candidates ran for the Democratic Party nomination in the June primary.
State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister was elected as a Republican in 2014, defeating incumbent Republican Janet Barresi in the primary. At the time, Hofmeister told the editor of the Oklahoma Constitution that she was opposed to Common Core (which Barresi had supported) and that she was a conservative Republican. Either Hofmeister has changed her views since then, or she was masquerading as a conservative Republican in order to get elected. Hofmeister, 57, has taken increasingly liberal positions while in office, especially after her reelection in 2018. It is therefore no surprise that she changed her registration to Democrat last year and would run for governor. She could not run for reelection due to Term Limits. Hofmeister won the Democratic Nomination for governor with 60.73 percent of the vote.
Former State Senator Connie Johnson received 39.27 percent. She was the Democrat nominee against Senator James Lankford when he ran for a full term in 2014. She ran for governor in 2018, and lost the Democrat nomination to former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson who went on to be defeated by Stitt in the General Election.
In addition to Stitt and Hofmeister, there will be two other candidates on the November ballot.
The Libertarian Party candidate, Natalie Bruno, has been a digital marketer and advertiser in Oklahoma for several years working for companies like Cox Media, Tyler Media, Gatehouse Media, the Oklahoman, and is currently the Director of Digital Strategy at Skyline Media Group. Bruno, 37, was the Marketing Director for the Jo Jorgensen and Spike Cohen Presidential/Vice-Presidential Libertarian Party campaign in 2020. She was the only Libertarian Party candidate to file.
Former State Senator Ervin Stone Yen of Nichols Hills initially said he would challenge Governor Stitt for the Republican nomination. But, last October he announced that he had changed his registration from Republican to independent. This was not his first party change. He was registered as a Democrat before changing to Republican prior to his run for the Oklahoma Senate. Yen was elected to the state senate in 2014 and served one term before being defeated for reelection in 2018. He was the first Asian American to serve in that body, and also the most liberal Republican to serve in the Senate with a cumulative average of just 24% on the Oklahoma Conservative Index published by the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper.
Dr. Yen, 67, is an anesthesiologist and has been critical of Governor Stitt’s handling of the COVID pandemic, and even demanded a statewide mask mandate. While serving in the Senate he pushed for the elimination of religious and personal exemptions for the vaccination of children.
As of now, Stitt is favored for reelection, especially considering his strong showing in the Primary Election. But that could change as the campaign progresses, especially if the dark money campaign against him continues at an aggressive pace.
Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell, 42, of Tulsa was elected to the office in 2018 with 61.89 percent of the vote. The former Oklahoma Republican Party chairman and small business owner was the youngest state Republican Party chairman in the country at the time of his election to that post. In 2010, he helped Republicans secure all five congressional seats and every statewide elected office simultaneously for the first time in Oklahoma history. In 2013, former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus appointed Pinnell as the RNC’s National State Party Director to serve as the chief liaison between the RNC and state parties. Pinnell traveled to all 50 states and played an integral role in Republicans taking control of the United States Senate in 2014 and helping Donald Trump win the White House in 2016. Pinnell is running for reelection and did not receive a challenger for the Republican nomination. He will face a Democrat and a Libertarian candidate on the November ballot.
Melinda Alizadeh-Fard, 60, of Edmond was the only Democrat to file. She has had her own law office for the last 20 years, and since 2017she has served as an associate immigration attorney for Stump and Associates in Oklahoma City. She was an administrative law judge for 13 years and general counsel for the Oklahoma Public Employee Association from 2004 to 2006.
Chris Powell, 50, of Bethany (a community in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area) was the only Libertarian Party candidate to file. Powell is an evidence specialist for the Oklahoma City police department. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1985 to 1995. In 2016 he ran for Oklahoma County Clerk under the Libertarian Party banner and received over 89,000 votes, which is more votes than the Libertarian Party presidential candidate received in the county. He has been active in the state party since 2000 and has served as chairman and vice chairman. He won the Libertarian nomination for Governor in 2018 and received 3.44 percent in the General Election. He currently serves on the Bethany City Council.
Auditor and Inspector
Cindy Byrd, 49, of Coalgate was elected Auditor and Inspector in 2018 with 75.18 percent of the vote. Byrd is a CPA and has spent over two decades in state government. Before her election to the post, she served as Deputy Auditor and Inspector. She ran for reelection this year and had a challenger for the Republican nomination. She won the race with 70.04 percent of the vote.
Steven McQuillen of Tulsa received 29.96 percent. He has served as an accounting manager for Tulsa Public Schools since 1998. He has also served as a volunteer auditor and treasurer for the Philippine American Association of North Eastern Oklahoma.
Since no other candidates filed, the office was filled in the June 28 Primary Election. Byrd has thus been reelected to serve another term.
Last year, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced he was resigning effective June 1. Hunter was elected to the post in 2018. On July 23, Governor Kevin Stitt announced the appointment of John O’Connor to serve as the Attorney General. Under the Oklahoma Constitution, the Governor has the authority to fill the position should the office be vacated prior to the term’s expiration.
O’Connor, 67 of Tulsa ran for election to a full term this year. He had 40 years of experience in the field of law, focusing on civil litigation including commercial and general civil litigation. In 2018, President Donald Trump nominated O’Connor to serve as a United States District Judge for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Oklahoma, but the nomination did not advance. O'Connor has requested the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the McGirt ruling, and filed a brief requesting the overturn of the Roe vs. Wade ruling which had legalized abortion. He has filed several lawsuit against Biden administration regulatory requirements. He was challenged for the Republican nomination, and narrowly lost with 49.13 percent of the vote.
Gentner Drummond 58, of Hominy challenged Hunter for the 2018 GOP nomination and narrowly lost to Hunter in the Runoff Election, receiving 49.95 percent of the vote. Drummond served as an Air Force pilot during the Gulf War, and is an attorney, rancher, and businessman. He is the principal owner of Blue Sky Bank. He had not previously been active in the Republican Party and had contributed to Democrat candidates who ran against Sen. Jim Inhofe, Sen. Tom Coburn, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine. He also contributed to Joe Biden in August of 2020. He finished in first place with 50.87 percent, and is the Republican nominee for the General Election.
No Democrats filed for the post, but Lynda Steele, 31, of Warr Acres (a community in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area) filed as a Libertarian and will be on the November ballot. Steele joined the Oklahoma Army National Guard and is the first female cannon crew member in the organization. She founded a group called Furnishing Fatherhood. Steele is strongly pro-choice on abortion.
Incumbent Republican State Treasurer Randy McDaniel, elected in 2018, is not running for reelection. Prior to his election as State Treasurer, McDaniel served in the Oklahoma House. McDaniel began his career in banking and then worked for more than twenty years as a financial advisor for both individuals and institutions. Three Republicans, a Democrat, and a Libertarian filed for the open office.
Todd Russ could not run for reelection to the Oklahoma House due to Term Limits. He has a 68% cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index. Russ, 61, of Cordell has more than 35 years of banking experience. He served as President and CEO of Washita State Bank in Burns Flat from 2003-2008. He sold the majority of his bank stock and began management consulting with banks and businesses in 2008. During his banking career, Russ served as a director of the Oklahoma Bankers Association (OBA) and Chairman of OBA’s Small Bank Council. He finished first with 48.51 percent of the vote in the June 28 primary, earning him a spot in the Runoff Primary Election on August 23.
Former State Senator Clark Jolley (R-Edmond) stepped down from his post as Chairman of the Oklahoma Tax Commission to run for Treasurer. Jolley is an attorney and an adjunct professor at two universities. He had a 67% cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index for his twelve years in the Oklahoma Senate. After leaving the Senate in 2016, he served as Secretary of Finance, Administration and Information Technology under Gov. Mary Fallin. He finished second in the June primary with 33.87 percent and will face Russ in the Runoff Primary.
Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten of Nichols Hills finished in third place with 17.62 percent. He is a small business owner and professional musician. In 2016, Hooten filed for Oklahoma County Clerk, and in the Republican primary elections defeated incumbent Claudia Caudill, and went on to victory in the General Election. He was reelected in 2020. He had been considered a major contender in the State Treasurer race, until he resigned as Oklahoma County Clerk amid controversy in the final weeks of the campaign.
The winner of the Runoff Primary Election will face a Democrat and a Libertarian in the November election.
Only one Democrat filed and he will be on the November ballot. Charles De Coune, 50,of Oklahoma City ran as an independent for Treasurer in 2018 and received 28.42 percent of the vote. There was no Democrat in that race and he finished second to McDaniel, ahead of the Libertarian candidate. He ran as a Democrat for Oklahoma County Court Clerk in 2020, but lost in the General Election to Republican Rick Warren, receiving 43.2 percent of the vote. De Coune was educated in Belgium before moving to the U.S. as an exchange student. He moved to Alva, Oklahoma in 1994 to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University. After two years he transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma to study Finance. As a UCO student, he interned with Merrill Lynch and with Northwestern Mutual Life. He then became a Financial Analyst at MidFirst Bank. After serving two years as the Chief Operating Officer for an Oklahoma City charter school, he joined the Oklahoma Water Resources Board as its Lending Manager.
Gregory Sadler, 49, of Newalla was the only Libertarian to file and will be on the November ballot. In 2020, he unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Oklahoma Senate. Sadler works for a printing company.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Joy Hofmeister was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2014, and reelected in 2018.She could not run for reelection this year due to Term Limits. She changed her party registration from Republican to Democrat and is now running for Governor. Four Republicans and a Democrat filed for the open seat.
Oklahoma Education Secretary Ryan Walters, 36, of Edmond is running for the Republican nomination. Governor Stitt appointed Walters to his cabinet as Education Secretary in 2020. He also serves as executive director of Every Kid Counts Oklahoma. He previously taught history at McAlester High School, and advanced placement U.S. History at Millwood High School in Oklahoma City and McAlester High School. Earlier this year he sent a letter to the Stillwater Public Schools Board instructing them to put an end to their bathroom policy, which allows students to use whichever bathroom aligns with their gender identity. He is supportive of School Freedom legislation that would allow state funding to follow the student and pay tuition at non-government schools. He finished in first place with 41.46 percent of the vote on June 28, and will compete in the Runoff Primary Election on August 23.
Shawnee Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. April Grace, 56, of Norman finished second with 30.63 percent in the Republican primary, gaining her a spot in the runoff. She has spent 30 years in government education as a teacher, building administrator and assistant superintendent. She has served as Superintendent in Shawnee since 2016. She was named the 2021 State Superintendent of the Year by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators (OASA), as well as OASA District 9 Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. John Cox of Peggs finished in third place with 24.15 percent. He is a career government educator working as a math teacher, coach, and administrator. He was the Democrat nominee for the office in 2014 and 2018, losing both times to Hofmeister. This time he ran as a Republican.
William Crozier of Union City finished last with 3.76 percent. He is a longtime conservative activist and this was his second race for state superintendent. He made an unsuccessful run in 2006. In 1972 he was the Republican nominee for Oklahoma’s Fourth Congressional District against Democrat Congressman Tom Steed. He was the Republican nominee against Democrat U.S. Senator David Boren in 1984. Crozier also made an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 2010.
The winner of the Republican nomination on August 23 will face a Democrat in November. Jena Nelson, 44, of Edmond was the only Democrat to file. She was named Oklahoma Teacher of the Year in 2020. Nelson has taught at Deer Creek Public Schools for the past five years and has spent 16 years in government education, teaching subjects such as English and theater. She currently serves as student support coordinator and teaches academic enhancement at Deer Creek Middle School. Prior to her time at Deer Creek, Nelson taught at Edmond Public Schools, Putnam City Public Schools, and in East Baton Rouge Louisiana.
Republican Leslie Kathryn Osborn, 58, of Mustang was elected Labor Commissioner in 2018 with 61.73 percent of the vote. Previous to her election she served ten years in the Oklahoma House. As chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee during the 2017 Legislative Session, she spearheaded passage of tax and fee increases, some of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. She had a cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index of 51%, placing her in the RINO (Republican In Name Only) category. Osborn is running for reelection and had two challengers for the GOP nomination. She finished in first place with 47.82 percent of the vote and will be in the Runoff Primary Election on August 23.
Sean Roberts, 48, of Hominy finished in second place with 38.27 percent, earning him a spot in the runoff. He is a member of the Oklahoma House and could not run for reelection due to Term Limits. He has a 79% cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index and several times made the Top Conservative Legislators list. Roberts narrowly survived a 2018 effort that defeated several of his colleagues who also voted against the massive tax and fee increases pushed by Osborn.
Keith Swinton of Norman finished third with 13.91 percent. He ran for Labor Commissioner in 2018, but lost in the Republican primary. For three decades he worked for the United States Postal Service’s National Center for Employee Development.
The winner of the Republican nomination on August 23 will face a Democrat and a Libertarian on the November ballot.
Jack Henderson, 71, of Tulsa was the lone Democrat to file. He is a former Communications Engineer at AT&T. In 2004 he was elected to the Tulsa City Council and served multiple terms, but was defeated for reelection in 2016.
Will Daugherty, 28, of Yukon was the only Libertarian to file. He is development manager for FirstLight Home in Care in Oklahoma City, which provides in-home senior care services. He is chair of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party.
Glen Mulready, 61, of Tulsa was elected Insurance Commissioner in 2018 with 61.97 percent of the vote. Prior to his election, he served eight years in the Oklahoma House and led efforts to reform the state’s insurance regulations. During his time in the Legislature he had a cumulative average of 61% on the Oklahoma Conservative Index. Also prior to his election, he worked in the insurance industry for more than 33 years. He spent 13 years on the executive teams of Oklahoma’s two largest health insurance companies and for eight years was self-employed as an independent agent. Mulready ran for reelection and since no other candidates filed for the office, he will serve another four-year term.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates oil and gas drilling, electric and gas utilities, trucking, pipelines, and telecommunications in Oklahoma. There are three Corporation Commission seats with six-year staggered terms. So, every two years one of the seats is up for reelection. The seat held by Republican Dana Murphy is up for election this year. Murphy could not run for reelection this year due to Term Limits. Four Republicans, a Democrat, and an independent filed for the open seat.
Senate Majority Leader Kim David (R-Porter) finished first with 41.06 percent of the vote on June 28 and will be in the Runoff Primary Election. She could not run for another term in the Legislature due to Term Limits. During her service in the Legislature she has been a strong supporter of the Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) which produces hydroelectric power. “For the past decade, I’ve fought to ensure Oklahomans have reliable, affordable energy and strong infrastructure,” David said. “Serving on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is the next step in continuing this important work while growing jobs and opportunities in our state.” Senator David, 61, has a 60% cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index.
Todd Thomsen, 54, of Ada finished second with 25.99 percent and will also have a spot on the runoff ballot. He was a football player at the University of Oklahoma and is a former Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader. He was elected to the Oklahoma House in 2006 and could not run for reelection in 2018 due to Term Limits. He had a cumulative average on the Oklahoma Conservative Index of 55 percent. After leaving the Legislature, Thomsen worked as managing director of community relations for Epic Charter Schools.
Justin Hornback of Broken Arrow is an organizer with the Pipeliners Union 798 in Tulsa. He finished in third place with 20.35 percent.
Harold D Spradling, 88, of Cherokee was making his third race for a spot on the Commission and finished in last place with 12.59 percent. He previously ran in 2018, and 2020. The retired businessman and social worker was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Oklahoma House in 1994.
The winner of the Republican nomination on August 23 will face a Democrat and an independent on the November ballot.
Margaret Warigia Bowman, 53, of Tulsa was the only Democrat to file. She is an associate professor of law and the director of sustainable energy and resources law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Don Underwood, 71, of Inola filed as an independent.