Special Report: Edmond Votes – Midterm Election Guide (Part 1)
The Oklahoma midterm elections take place on November 6, along with the rest of the country. This midterm election season is shaping up to be a watershed moment for Edmond, Oklahoma, and the United States as a whole. Will our political landscape change in November, and if so, how much? Who will Edmondites choose to represent them? Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s important to know who you will be able to choose from.
Edmond Active has compiled this guide to help local voters make an informed decision in this midterm. Each candidate bio will have a link to their campaign website for you to do further research if you choose. Edmond Active does not endorse any specific candidate for any race, but believes that it is every voter’s responsibility to know who, and what, they are voting for.
Executive – Gubernatorial Race
Following the primaries, Democrats have chosen Drew Edmondson as their contender for the top spot in Oklahoma politics. After the Republican runoff on August 28, Kevin Stitt is the GOP challenger for the Governor seat. Let’s take a look at our candidates:
Drew Edmondson — Oklahoma Democratic Party
Drew Edmondson is the Oklahoma Democratic nominee for Governor, winning a primary race against Rep. Constance Johnson, 61.38 percent to 31.62 percent, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board. A former state Attorney General from 1995 to 2011, Edmondson is running on a platform focused on education spending, fixing the state budget and economic development. Edmondson last ran for Governor, unsuccessfully, in 2010.
As Oklahoma Attorney General, Edmondson was involved in a nationwide lawsuit with other Attorneys General against the tobacco industry, helped to reform the death penalty appeals process in the state following the 1995 Murrah Building bombing, and filed an indictment against former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers in 2003 shortly before federal authorities brought charges against Ebbers in 2004.
Edmondson was criticized by consumer rights advocates for his 2007 indictment of Paul Jacob and two other individuals on the grounds that they used individuals from other states to collect signatures for a ballot initiative.
In 2018, Edmondson has been a supporter of the teacher walkout, telling Oklahoma Watch in April, “There is long-term damage being done to our state every day because we don’t fully fund public education. The responsibility for that falls squarely into the lap of the Legislature. Teachers recognize that. Parents recognize that. Our business community, which relies on the availability of an educated workforce, recognizes that. It seems that the last people to come to this awakening are Governor Fallin and her legislative caucus.”
Edmondson has also vowed publicly to make state government dealings more transparent, appearing at a gubernatorial debate in May hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma and Freedom of information Oklahoma.
According to the Oklahoma Voter Guide published by the Oklahoma League of Women Voters, Edmondson supports restoring the oil and natural gas industry’s tax rates to 7 percent, will expand tax deductions for middle-class residents and small businesses, and plans to expand public-private partnerships originating from the state.
Kevin Stitt — Oklahoma Republican Party
Kevin Stitt is coming into politics straight out of an 18-year career as a mortgage lender magnate. Stitt is planning to bring his business experience to bear in the state government. According to Oklahoma Watch, his main goal is to “use performance metrics and audit every state agency.”
Stitt wants to consolidate power into the Governor’s hands. One of his pledges on his website is “Give the Governor more accountability to fire underperforming agency leaders that are in appointed positions.” His plan on education includes raising teacher pay to match surrounding states’ pay as well as give bonuses to new teachers.
Stitt is both pro-life and pro-Second Amendment, and his policy planks reflect this. He has vowed to appoint anti-abortion judges to the state Supreme Court, and would not support mandated vaccinations, according to the Oklahoma League of Women Voters. Additionally, Stitt supports President Trump’s tax cuts, and is looking for solutions to the state’s incarceration problem.
Chris Powell — Oklahoma Libertarian Party
Chris Powell was a 911 dispatcher with the Oklahoma City Police Department and a member of the Oklahoma Libertarian Party for nearly 20 years. He has run for various state offices and has been at several points one of the most successful candidates from a third party in state history. He was the chairperson of the Libertarian Party from 2003 to 2005.
Powell’s position on issues is more or less in lockstep with Libertarian Party platforms across the country. He wants to deregulate and localize education, while at the same time reprioritizing state spending “toward education first.” Oklahoma Watch reports that Powell is “in favor of decreasing tax credits and incentives and consolidating or eliminating certain state agencies to save money” before considering tax increases. Powell is also an advocate of criminal justice reform and was a supporter of SQ788, which legalized medical marijuana in the state.
In addition to these positions, Powell has also supported taxing oil and gas at the same rate as wind and other renewable resources, as well as alternative treatment options for people with mental illnesses and drug addictions who have committed crimes. According to the League of Women Voters, Powell is opposed to outlawing abortion, and conversely is against expanding Medicaid in the state.
Executive – Lieutenant Governor
In addition to the Governor’s race, Oklahomans across the state are also being asked to pick the Governor’s second-in-command. Here are the options for voters in November:
Anastasia Pittman — Oklahoma Democratic Party
Oklahoma State Sen. Anastasia Pittman, District 48, is the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor. Pittman has been in Oklahoma government since 2006, when she was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives to represent District 99. She has been a member of the House Banking Subcommittee, the Aerospace and Technology subcommittee on Energy and Technology, and the Health subcommittee on Public health, as well as the leader of the Legislative Black Caucus.
In her career as a Senator from 2014 to 2018, Pittman was a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Business and Commerce Committee, Transportation Committee and the Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs.
Pittman is classified as a pro-business politician by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, who in 2017 gave her an 80% rating in their public policy guide. She also received a B rating from the Oklahoma Sierra Club in 2016.
According to Pittman’s campaign website, she wants to “expand access to capital for small businesses, restructure student loan debt to lower the burden on Oklahoma families, reform our juvenile justice system, expand access to healthcare, and defend our constitutional rights.”
Matt Pinnell — Oklahoma Republican Party
Matt Pinnell is the former Party Director of the Republican National Committee under Reince Priebus. He was also the state chair for the Oklahoma Republican Party from 2010 to 2013. Since graduating with a Bachelors degree in Public Relations/Government from Oral Roberts University in 2002, Pinnell has been actively involved in the political scene, first as a Legislative Affairs Manager for the American International Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, then as the manager of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Political Action Committee, and then as a campaign manager for Scott Pruitt’s Lt. Governor campaign in 2006. He was the Executive Director in Oklahoma for American Majority, a conservative non-profit organization.
As with many top-level political candidates in this midterm season, Pinnell supports raising teacher pay to the regional average, as well as pushing for more STEM programs in schools. One major plank Pinnell is running on involves him pushing for “the next governor to be placed back on the governor’s cabinet as the small business advocate to represent small businesses and entrepreneurs across all seventy-seven counties.”
Pinnell also plans on promoting tourism along Route 66 in the state, “making sure routine audits are performed on every government agency in a timely manner,” and “recruit more families to become foster parents; to stand in the gap while families are restored.”
Ivan Holmes — Independent Candidate
Ivan Holmes, a retired university educator, former Oklahoma Democratic Party chair and Democratic contender in the 2014 state Superintendent race, is running for Lt. Governor as an independent. He is running on a campaign of “education, [the] environment, and nursing home protections.”
Executive – State Attorney General
The state Attorney General is responsible for advising the Governor in legal matters and for coordinating statewide law enforcement efforts. For nearly the past two years, Mike Hunter has been Oklahoma’s Attorney General, and he is running as an incumbent in this year’s midterm election. He is facing a challenge from the Democrats in the form of Mark Myles. Let’s take a look at each candidate.
Mark Myles — Oklahoma Democratic Party
Mark Myles is an economist and an attorney who practices independently in Oklahoma. Myles is running on a platform of criminal justice reform, including reintegrating non-violent offenders back into society, protecting victims’ rights and strengthening the Consumer Protection Bureau. He also plans on addressing the state’s opioid, meth, cocaine and heroin crisis by strengthening drug trafficking laws and simultaneously bolstering treatment and prevention centers.
Myles supports reproductive rights, elderly abuse protections and natural resource protections, as well as the bolstering of tribal sovereignty, police accountability through the introduction of deescalation techniques, and “justice for those abandoned by the justice system.”
Mike Hunter — Oklahoma Republican Party
Mike Hunter became State Attorney General in February 2017, after Scott Pruitt was selected to run the Environmental Protection Agency under Trump. He has previously served as Oklahoma Secretary of State and as first assistant attorney general under Pruitt from 2015 to 2016.
Hunter is running on a platform of stopping sex trafficking and the opioid crisis, as well as “standing up to those who seek to obliterate religion from public life.” He is pro-life and pro-second amendment, and supports the death penalty in Oklahoma.
Executive – State Treasurer
The office of the state Treasurer exists to ensure that the state government is spending and saving the correct amount of money. Our current Treasurer, Ken Miller, is unable to seek reelection due to term limits, and thus we have two new challengers for this important executive branch seat.
Randy McDaniel — Oklahoma Republican Party
Rep. Randy McDaniel is running for Miller’s seat straight from his tenure as a State Representative for District 83. McDaniel has a degree in Economics from OU with a Masters in Land Economy from Cambridge. He has been the Assistant Majority Whip in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
McDaniel plans to use his experience as a financial adviser to the state’s benefit, telling NonDoc that he wants to raise the state’s financial literacy.
Charles de Coune — Independent Candidate
Independent candidate Charles De Coune is running against Rep. McDaniel as a “finance professional.” Specifically he is targeting the state’s credit rating, which he says is two notches lower than bonds he manages. As a candidate for Treasurer, he stands behind efforts to fund education as a way to “lower incarceration rates tomorrow.”
Executive – Labor Commissioner
The office of Labor Commissioner has been hotly contested this year, especially during the GOP primaries. The office of Labor Commissioner oversees issues like occupational licensure, the minimum wage, and workplace safety.
Fred Dorrell — Oklahoma Democratic Party
Fred Dorrell is a 34-year veteran of labor who worked at the Tulsa Glass Plant for Ford Motor Company. He was also the United Auto Workers Local 1895 President during that time, and has spent the past six years as a Human Resources labor specialist for Spirit Aerosystems in Tulsa.
Dorrell is also an adjunct professor in Human Resources for Tulsa Community College, and sits on the Broken Arrow Planning Commission. His platform includes raising the minimum wage and reaffirming workplace safety as a right and not a privilege.
Leslie Osborn — Oklahoma Republican Party
Leslie Osborn is a State Representative who serves District 47. She was formerly the House Appropriations Committee chairperson, but was removed in 2017 after making comments about the reduction in funding to the Department of Human Services.
Osborn was a favored legislator with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Freedom Oklahoma, the OSBI and the Oklahoma Credit Union Association. She is running on a platform of a better-educated workforce and workplace safety.
Brandt Dismukes — Independent Candidate
Brandt Dismukes is an Oklahoma City resident. He states that the Labor Commission has not carried out its mission under Republican leadership.
Executive – State Auditor
If the State Treasurer is appointed to ensure that money is spent where it’s supposed to be, then the State Auditor is appointed to ensure that the Treasurer is doing their job correctly. Here are your candidates.
Cindy Byrd — Oklahoma Republican Party
Cindy Byrd is a practicing CPA and auditor who has worked for the State Auditor’s office across all 77 counties in the state. Among Byrd’s campaign planks, she plans to use the Auditor’s office to help assuage state budget problems and hold the state accountable.
John Yeutter — Oklahoma Libertarian Party
John Yeutter is a PhD-holding CPA in Tahlequah who coordinated a program that prepared free tax returns from 1998 to 2014. He’s also an associate professor at Northeastern State University. He plans to help make state finances more transparent for taxpayers.
Executive – Insurance Commissioner
The Oklahoma State Insurance Commissioner oversees the state’s insurance rules and regulates insurance companies that want to do business in the state. Here are the candidates:
Kimberly Fobbs — Oklahoma Democratic Party
Kimberly Fobbs is a former insurance professional working in policyholder services for MetLife, quality auditor and a member of the Oklahoma State Judicial Nominating Commission. Fobbs is running on a platform of ensuring affordable coverage for all Oklahomans and holding insurance companies accountable.
Glen Mulready — Oklahoma Republican Party
Glen Mulready is an insurance professional who has previously served on the executive teams of two of Oklahoma’s largest insurance companies and is currently a State House Representative for District 68 in the Tulsa area. Mulready was the House Majority Leader and served on the Insurance Committee in the House. Mulready’s platform includes combating insurance fraud, making more insurance options available, and ensuring insurance industry stability in the state.
Executive – Corporation Commissioner
The Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner’s job is to regulate various utilities industries, including the oil and gas industry. Here are your candidates.
Ashley Nicole McCray — Oklahoma Democratic Party
A long-time community activist and organizer near Shawnee and Norman, McCray has headed the #RF100 campaign in Norman, which committed the city of Norman to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, and has spent the bulk of her time as an activist advocating for environmental causes.
Her platform includes eventually eliminating hydraulic fracturing and banning interstate wastewater disposal; promoting wind and solar renewable energies; utilities adjustments for all residents; rural access to better communications technologies; and a Corporation Commission that more strongly acts in the interests of the citizenry.
Bob Anthony — Oklahoma Republican Party
Bob Anthony is the incumbent Corporation Commissioner, where he has served since 1989. According to his campaign website, Anthony is positioning himself as “an independent, conservative voice for honesty and integrity in government.”
Jackie Short — Independent Candidate
Jackie Short is a resident of Oklahoma City, a lawyer, and an independent candidate for Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner. She does not have a campaign website.
Executive – Superintendent of Public Instruction
John Cox — Oklahoma Democratic Party
John Cox is a 32-year veteran of Oklahoma public schools. He holds a doctorate in educational administration from Oklahoma State University, the Peggs Superintendent and the President of the Organization of Rural Elementary Schools.
Cox is running on a platform of investing in public schools, creating a strong pre-kindergarten through eighth grade state curriculum, and giving local school boards more control.
Joy Hofmeister — Oklahoma Republican Party
Joy Hofmeister is the incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction, running for re-election. According to her campaign website, Hofmeister has reduced standardized testing across the state, established clear academic standards in English and math following the repeal of common core, and helped provide ACT and SAT tests to students free-of-charge.
Larry Huff — Independent Candidate
Dr. Larry Huff was a Special Education Coordinator with the state Department of Education for 30 years. Huff is running as an independent candidate.
These are people for whom the entire state has to vote in November. They will be running each executive level of government for anywhere from two to four years, and maybe even longer depending on term limits. While they will not be crafting laws on either the state or national levels, their platforms will shape the direction our legislative and judicial branches take in the years to come. Consider each choice on November 6, and check back here for Part Two of our guide, which will focus on races in which Edmondites will have a more direct say – specifically, who your US Representative will be, who your options in the state Legislature will be, and who to choose from in the Oklahoma Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals.