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GOP incumbents ousted in Oklahoma amid teacher challenges

At least six Republican incumbents were bounced from office during Oklahoma's primary election, including several who were targeted by pro-education groups

Published on June 27, 2018 8:50AM

Last changed on June 27, 2018 12:47PM

In this Friday, June 8, 2018 photo, elementary school principal Sherrie Conley, who is running for state representative in District 20, talks with a constituent at a bagel shop in Norman, Okla. Conley is part of a wave of about 100 educators, including dozens of Republicans, who are running for office in the aftermath of a teacher walk-out that shut down public schools for two weeks this spring and opened an unusually bitter chasm in the state’s ruling party. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press

In this Friday, June 8, 2018 photo, elementary school principal Sherrie Conley, who is running for state representative in District 20, talks with a constituent at a bagel shop in Norman, Okla. Conley is part of a wave of about 100 educators, including dozens of Republicans, who are running for office in the aftermath of a teacher walk-out that shut down public schools for two weeks this spring and opened an unusually bitter chasm in the state’s ruling party. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

FILE - In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Benita Boone, right, an educator joining on the 110-mile trip from Tulsa to the state Capitol, shouts as the walkers rally with other teachers while protests continue over school funding, in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Oklahoma Supreme Court says an initiative petition that would overturn a package of tax hikes for funding teacher pay raises and public schools is invalid. The court handed down the order Friday, June 22, 2018, and ordered that the initiative petition not appear on the general election ballot in November. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The Associated Press

FILE - In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Benita Boone, right, an educator joining on the 110-mile trip from Tulsa to the state Capitol, shouts as the walkers rally with other teachers while protests continue over school funding, in Oklahoma City, Okla. The Oklahoma Supreme Court says an initiative petition that would overturn a package of tax hikes for funding teacher pay raises and public schools is invalid. The court handed down the order Friday, June 22, 2018, and ordered that the initiative petition not appear on the general election ballot in November. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett, right, gives a telephone interview during his watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mick Cornett, right, gives a telephone interview during his watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Kevin Stitt speaks to supporters at his election watch party for Oklahoma Governor candidate Kevin Stitt at Gateway Mortgage in Jenks, Okla., Tuesday, June 26, 2018.  (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)

The Associated Press

Kevin Stitt speaks to supporters at his election watch party for Oklahoma Governor candidate Kevin Stitt at Gateway Mortgage in Jenks, Okla., Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Stephen Pingry/Tulsa World via AP)

Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb waves to supporters as he walks off the stage on election night during the Republican primary for Governor in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press

Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb waves to supporters as he walks off the stage on election night during the Republican primary for Governor in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

FILE - In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 file photo, people vote at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City during early, in-person absentee voting. Oklahoma election officials say nearly twice as many Republicans and Democrats are voting early in this year's primary elections compared to four years ago, and enthusiasm is particularly high among Democrats. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Thursday, June 21, 2018 file photo, people vote at the Oklahoma County Board of Elections in Oklahoma City during early, in-person absentee voting. Oklahoma election officials say nearly twice as many Republicans and Democrats are voting early in this year's primary elections compared to four years ago, and enthusiasm is particularly high among Democrats. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

FILE - In this April 26, 2018, file photo, state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, speaks in Oklahoma City. Cleveland voted against a tax hike to fund raises for teachers and now finds himself facing an opponent who was a teacher, elementary school principal Sherrie Conley. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

The Associated Press

FILE - In this April 26, 2018, file photo, state Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, speaks in Oklahoma City. Cleveland voted against a tax hike to fund raises for teachers and now finds himself facing an opponent who was a teacher, elementary school principal Sherrie Conley. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018 photo, Pat McFerron, a longtime Republican political consultant and pollster, speaks in Oklahoma City. McFerron has said that incumbents are generally going to be more successful in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Associated Press

In this Wednesday, June 20, 2018 photo, Pat McFerron, a longtime Republican political consultant and pollster, speaks in Oklahoma City. McFerron has said that incumbents are generally going to be more successful in the upcoming election. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — At least six Republican incumbents were bounced from office during Oklahoma's primary election, including several who were targeted by pro-education groups.

Tuesday's primary election was the first test for many of the nearly 100 teachers running for office in Oklahoma after a year that saw tens of thousands of educators walk off their job for two weeks to protest dwindling funding for schools.

Oklahoma voters also approved the nation's first medical marijuana question on a ballot this year and winnowed the 15-candidate field seeking to replace Gov. Mary Fallin as the state's next chief executive.

Several GOP incumbents who voted against tax hikes to fund teacher pay raises were either ousted from office or pulled into a runoff against a fellow GOP opponent.

"Our voices were heard tonight," said Sherrie Conley, an assistant principal at an Oklahoma City elementary school who ended up in a Republican runoff with incumbent Rep. Bobby Cleveland.

Of the 10 "no" voters in the House who were running for re-election, two were defeated outright on Tuesday night — Reps. Chuck Strohm of Jenks and Scott McEachin of Tulsa. Seven others ended up in an Aug. 28 primary runoff against fellow Republicans.

Four other Republican incumbents also were defeated on Tuesday, including one who lost to a seventh-grade English teacher from Elgin.

GOVERNOR

Fifteen candidates — two Democrats, 10 Republicans and three Libertarians — ran to replace Fallin, who has served eight years as the state's chief executive. Most of the attention, and money, has been focused on the Republican primary, which included former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, and Tulsa mortgage company founder Kevin Stitt.

Cornett and Stitt both advanced to the Republican runoff, knocking off Lamb, the early favorite and establishment pick who started the campaign with $1 million in carryover funds from his lieutenant governor's campaign.

Stitt took advantage of his status as a political outsider and outraised all of his opponents with $4.2 million, including $2.1 million of his own money, to narrowly edge out Lamb for the second spot in the runoff.

On the Democratic side, former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson clinched the nomination over ex-state Sen. Connie Johnson. The $1.5 million Edmondson raised was more than 20 times as much as Johnson.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday easily approved the medicinal use of marijuana, despite opposition from law enforcement and business, faith and political leaders.

State Question 788 was the result of an activist-led signature drive. It allows physicians to approve medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis. The proposal doesn't list any qualifying medical conditions, allowing doctors to prescribe it for a wide range of ailments.

Opponents had argued the proposal was too loosely written, and Gov. Mary Fallin said it would essentially allow recreational use. After the vote, Fallin said she would work with state agencies and lawmakers to establish a regulatory framework "to make sure marijuana use is truly for valid medical illnesses."

It was the first marijuana question on a state ballot in 2018, and Oklahoma voters showed up in droves. The state's election board says more votes were cast on the issue than in the 2014 general election.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

The top two candidates in the most heated statewide primary race advanced in the Republican primary for attorney general. Sitting Attorney General Mike Hunter led the three-candidate race and faces Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond in a runoff for the GOP nomination. Hunter was appointed to the post by Fallin after former Attorney General Scott Pruitt was tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A series of attack ads launched by Hunter and Drummond provided plenty of fireworks.

Angela Bonilla finished third in the Republican race.

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Associated Press writer Adam Kealoha Causey contributed to this report.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy



 

 

 

 

 

 

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