OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Nov. 8, Oklahomans will head to the polls to select candidates for various state and national offices. Here is a look at state and federal races Oklahomans will decide.
Candidates for Governor’s Race:
Kevin Stitt (R)
Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) has been Oklahoma’s governor for the last four years, much of which was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. While many places across the country closed down to slow the spread of COVID-19, Stitt pushed for Oklahoma to open earlier than other places in order to keep the economy stable.
While many Oklahoma businesses fared better than their counterparts across the nation during the pandemic, the Sooner State also recorded one of the highest death rates in the country.
Stitt has consistently said that he wanted to make Oklahoma a “Top Ten” state, and also wanted Oklahoma to be the most “business friendly” state in the nation.
Under his leadership, his campaign says that Oklahoma has ranked #1 as the state with the lowest cost to do business and #3 lowest cost of living.
During his time as governor, Oklahoma’s unemployment rate hit a record low and became the third lowest in the country.
There have been historic investments in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which has reached nearly $2 billion.
He has also been a staunch critic of abortion, and has said he would sign every anti-abortion measure that crossed his desk.
However, Stitt’s term has been littered with controversy ranging from a feud over tribal gaming compacts, Oklahoma’s use of COVID-19 funds, and a controversial contract with Swadley’s BBQ,
Joy Hofmeister (D)
Joy Hofmeister is the Democratic nominee for Oklahoma Governor.
Originally registered as a Republican, Hofmeister has served as the Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction since 2015.
During her time as state superintendent, Hofmeister has pushed for better teacher pay, solving the teacher shortage, and protecting children in the classroom.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Hofmeister battled Gov. Stitt over mask mandates in classrooms and plans to keep schools open.
She says she is adamantly against school vouchers, saying the program would be a major issue for rural school districts.
In 2019, Hofmeister made the Rave Panic Button available to all public school districts, which alerts authorities to an active shooter.
At one point, she was charged with knowingly accepting large corporate campaign donations in excess of maximum amounts. However, those charges were ultimately dismissed.
In terms of abortion, Hofmeister said she is personally pro-life but believes that Oklahoma’s current anti-abortion laws are too radical and put women in harms way.
If elected, Hofmeister said she will institute “a line by line” audit of every state contract to root out waste, wants to recruit mental health professionals to work in underserved communities, and remove the restriction on local governments to raise the minimum wage.
Ervin Yen (I)
Ervin Yen is the Independent candidate for Oklahoma Governor.
Yen is a former District 40 State Senator who was originally registered as a Republican, but is now challenging Gov. Stitt as an Independent.
Yen says he chose to become an Independent because he “isn’t controlled by the party politics” that are trumping “common sense policies and reform.”
“I didn’t leave the Republican Party… the Republican Party left me! I will always be a Moderate Conservative but I cannot agree with their choice to cater to the extremism that has divided this country,” Yen said.
Dr. Yen practiced medicine in Oklahoma City for 38 years and was a state senator for four years. As a senator, Yen voted to raise teacher pay while increasing the state savings account through oil and gas revenue.
If elected, Yen says that he will push for a significant pay raise for teachers and wants to ensure an equitable distribution of education funding across the state.
He says he is against school vouchers and believes they will kill public education in rural communities.
In terms of abortion, Yen says that his studies in medicine mean that when life ends and begins is a matter of science and not religion. Therefore, he says he believes the decision should be between a woman and her doctor.
He goes on to say that the total abortion ban is “gross overreach of state power.”
Yen says he wants to create more accessible and affordable healthcare in Oklahoma by creating incentives for medical students to stay in the Sooner State after graduation. Also, he says he wants to tackle prescription medication prices by capping the sales price of certain drugs, like insulin.
Natalie Bruno (L)
Natalie Bruno is the Libertarian candidate for Oklahoma Governor.
Bruno is a marketing executive from Edmond and is currently on the associate board for Oklahoma Lawyers for Children.
She says she doesn’t believe the government should be making healthcare decisions for Oklahomans; whether it is regarding an abortion or vaccines. Rather than banning abortions, Bruno says she wants to focus on higher quality sex education, over-the-counter birth control without a prescription, and more accountability for men in the situation.
Bruno says she thinks Oklahomans should have the right to produce and consume cannabis legally, adding that a free cannabis market could boost the economy. She also says Oklahoma needs to expunge all cannabis-related crimes from state records and citizens’ backgrounds.
When it comes to education, Bruno says she wants to do away with the State Board of Education and give control back to individual districts.
Bruno stresses that Oklahoma’s criminal justice system also needs to be reformed. She says the state needs to implement innovative police practices, address inmate mental health, and focus on violent crimes. She also calls for the end to the war on drugs and to end the militarization of law enforcement.
She also calls for the release of non-violent offenders from the state’s prison system.
When it comes to the Supreme Court’s McGirt decision, Bruno says the State of Oklahoma needs to respect the Court’s decision and tribal sovereignty.
Candidates for Lieutenant Governor
Matt Pinnell (R)
Matt Pinnell, the current Lieutenant Governor, is the Republican nominee for the position.
In addition to his role, Pinnell also serves as President of the Oklahoma State Senate and as Secretary of Tourism and Branding on Stitt’s Cabinet.
Pinnell’s campaign says Pinnell has used his platform to shrink the state’s skills gap through CareerTech programs, recruited businesses to Oklahoma, and increased tourism to the Sooner State.
During his time as Lt. Governor, Pinnell had to address the Swadley’s BBQ scandal after documents showed he signed off on millions of dollars worth of expenditures without ever seeing the bill. Pinnell’s office told KFOR that he had full faith in the agency director at the time, and believed that all of the expenses had been properly vetted.
If re-elected, Pinnell says he will focus on bringing teacher pay to at least the regional average, make sure school funding follows students to their chosen school, establish STEM programs in kindergartens across the state, and partner with CareerTech to provide hands-on instruction to high school students.
He says he also wants to ensure routine audits are performed on every government agency, and reduce and streamline state agencies, boards, and commissions.
Before being elected as Oklahoma’s Lieutenant Governor in 2018, Pinnell served as Director of State Parties for the Republican National Committee from 2013 to 2017. He also served as chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party from 2010 to 2013.
Melinda Alizadeh-Fard (D)
Melinda Alizadeh-Fard, a former immigration attorney and administrative law judge, is the Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma.
Alizadeh-Fard says she wants to restore transparency and accountability to the office following the Swadley’s Foggy Bottoms scandal.
She says her priorities include improving public education, recognizing the sovereignty of the tribal nations, and improving healthcare in the Sooner State.
Alizadeh-Fard says if elected, she will use tax dollars wisely and not support cronyism in the state.
Chris Powell (L)
Chris Powell is the Libertarian candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma.
Powell has served as a Bethany City Councilman, and was the first Libertarian nominee for Oklahoma Governor in 2018.
Powell says he doesn’t actually believe the state needs a Lieutenant Governor. Instead, he says he wants to spread awareness that the office is unnecessary and should be eliminated.
“The Lt. Governor has very little responsibility and even less authority. Occupants of the office have typically spent their time preparing for their run for Governor, an unfair advantage over other candidates gained at taxpayer expense,” Powell said in a statement in September.
Currently, if the Oklahoma Governor is out of commission due to extended illness or travel, the Lieutenant Governor steps in as acting Governor.
Powell argues that power should be given to the Secretary of State or President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.
Candidates for Oklahoma Attorney General
Gentner Drummond (R)
Gentner Drummond is the Republican candidate for Oklahoma Attorney General.
Drummond is a decorated fighter pilot who led the first U.S. combat mission in the Gulf War. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and became one of the most highly decorated Oklahomans of the Gulf War.
Following eight years of military service, Drummond earned a law degree and became a practicing attorney. He also became a successful businessman and led a ranching operation in Osage County.
Drummond served as an Assistant District Attorney in Osage and Pawnee counties from 1995 through 1998.
If elected as Oklahoma Attorney General, Drummond says he will protect Second Amendment rights, protect the state against federal government overreach and uphold the rule of law to serve Oklahomans.
He says he also wants to protect victims of sexual assaults by clearing the rape-kit backlog as quickly as possible in an attempt to arrest predators.
Lynda Steele (L)
Lynda Steele is the Libertarian candidate for Oklahoma Attorney General.
Steele served 12 years in the Oklahoma Army National Guard and ushered enlisted females into combat military occupational specialties in 2016.
Steele says her upbringing in a single-parent household helped shape her understanding of the world, and who is truly protected by the law.
If elected, Steele says she plans to create the first division for Sovereign Nations at the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office. She says she wants to work with the tribes to cultivate a relationship to work together regarding tribal jurisdiction.
Steele says she also wants to enact family court reform and hold courts accountable for their actions. She said she will also fight for the cannabis industry and its patients.
Candidates for State Treasurer
Todd Russ (R)
Todd Russ is the Republican candidate for Oklahoma State Treasurer.
Russ has been in the banking industry for more than 30 years and served as vice-president and executive vice-president at banks in Chickasha and Oklahoma City until becoming president and CEO of Washita State Bank.
Throughout his career, Russ worked to address performance, profitability, and compliance issues with Oklahoma banks, corporations, and small businesses.
Since 2009, Russ has been a representative in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He serves on the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Common Education Committee, and Insurance Committee.
Russ says he is the only candidate in the race with the background of being a CEO of a bank.
If elected, he says he will manage the state’s money with strong conservative policies.
Charles De Coune (D)
Charles De Coune is the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma State Treasurer.
De Coune is originally a native of Belgium but moved to the United States as an exchange student.
He spent more than two decades working in banking and finance before joining the Oklahoma Water Resources Board. Now, he lends money to municipalities throughout Oklahoma.
His campaign says De Coune is the only Certified Public Funds Investment Manager in the race and is the only banker whose practices were not called “unsafe and unsound” by the FDIC.
If elected, he says he wants to bring transparency, financial stewardship, and sound investment practices to the Oklahoma Capitol. He says he also will set checks and balances in place to require lawmakers to certify that the Open Meetings Act was followed before taxpayer money could be disbursed.
De Coune says he wants to make sure public education money isn’t handed over to private businesses and safeguard taxpayer money by preventing backroom deals. He says also wants to manage the Unclaimed Property Funds more seriously to reunite Oklahomans with their money and focus on long-term investments rather than short-term fixes.
Gregory Sadler (L)
Gregory Sadler is the Libertarian candidate for Oklahoma State Treasurer.
Sadler was raised on a farm and worked for a local printing company for 20 years. He says he is not a career politician but has banking experience and believes in frugal spending, low taxes, and transparency.
“I believe in spending the absolute least amount of taxpayer money and being 100% transparent when we do. This is the State of Oklahoma’s money, this is your money, the taxpayers. We have to make sure our elected officials keep this in mind,” Sadler said on his campaign website.
If elected, Sadler says he will alert the taxpayers to any unethical or wasteful spending.
Candidates for State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Ryan Walters (R)
Ryan Walters is the Republican nominee for Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction, a position currently held by Joy Hofmeister.
Walters is currently serving as the Oklahoma Secretary of Public Education, a position he was appointed to be Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Prior to his appointment, Walters was a high school history teacher at McAlester High School. He was even a finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of Year in 2016.
As the Secretary of Public Education, Walters is responsible for various agencies, boards, and commissions.
In that position, Walters has spoken out against critical race theory being taught in classrooms and has even called for districts to revoke teaching licenses of certain educators related to CRT complaints.
He is also an advocate for school vouchers, which would provide public funds to families who decide to move their children to a private school.
This past summer, Walters found himself at the center of a major controversy.
A federal audit took a closer look at the way COVID-19 pandemic relief funds were spent in Oklahoma. The audit criticized Walters for reportedly allowing the money to go to families who spent the funds on things like televisions, power washers, and air conditioners.
Walters says if he is elected as state superintendent, he will create a pathway for the state’s best teachers to make six-figure salaries. He said he also wants to “break the grip” that unions have on teachers.
Jena Nelson (D)
Jena Nelson is the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Nelson is a 6th and 7th grade English teacher at Classen SAS Middle School. She has been an educator for over 16 years and was named the 2020 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year award.
She recently was presented the Award for Teaching Excellence from the OEA and was one of 45 national educators to receive the California Casualty and The NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence.
Nelson says over the past three years, she has been asked to write dozens of recommendations for teachers leaving their jobs. She says she wants to increase teacher pay, and reduce the clutter that teachers face to help encourage more professionals to stay in the field.
Nelson is a critic of the school voucher system. She argues that taking public dollars out of public schools will harm kids and majorly impact rural schools.
She says other priorities are improving student mental health by increasing the number of counselors with mental health training in schools. She says she also wants to protect rural schools and communities by getting broadband internet to every rural school and community.
Candidates for Commissioner of Labor
Leslie Osborn (R)
Leslie Osborn is the Republican candidate for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner.
Osborn has been a small business owner for 22 years and is the current Oklahoma Labor Commissioner.
She served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and made history as the first female to chair the Judiciary Committee. During her time in the Legislature, Osborn received multiple Legislator of the Year awards.
Osborn says her goal is to continue to ensure safe workplaces and strong companies.
Jack Henderson (D)
Jack Henderson is the Democratic nominee for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner.
Henderson is a former Tulsa City Councilman and co-founder of the North Tulsa Economic Development Initiative.
During his time in local politics, Henderson says he learned how to work across party lines in order to accomplish common goals.
If elected, Henderson says he hopes to eliminate ‘Right to Work’ requirements. He said he also will work to stop wage theft and equal pay for women.
Will Daugherty (L)
Will Daugherty is the Libertarian candidate for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner.
Daugherty was born and raised in Oklahoma and is an Air Force veteran.
Daugherty says he wants to fight to remove occupational licensing fees for new businesses in order to help small businesses in Oklahoma. Instead, he says he would make all occupational licensing fees due only when a business reports a year of profits.
He says he also wants to help understaffed restaurants and businesses by working with the Legislature to nullify federal identification requirements. At that point, he says around 85,000 undocumented immigrants would be able to legally work in Oklahoma.
If elected, Daugherty says he will work with the Legislature to incentivize businesses to pay higher wages to employees in exchange for a lower corporate tax rate.
Candidates for Corporation Commissioner
Kim David (R)
Kim David is the Republican candidate for Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.
David has been a Republican leader in the Oklahoma State Senate and is the first woman since statehood to be named majority leader of the Senate.
She currently operates a small business and previously worked in petroleum marketing.
David says she knows how important low energy costs are to Oklahomans and small businesses, so she wants to work to keep costs low across the board.
Margaret Bowman (D)
Margaret Bowman is the Democratic candidate for Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.
Dr. Bowman is an international expert on public policy, infrastructure, water, and energy. She earned her doctorate from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Currently, she teaches water law, natural resources law, and energy law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.
Before becoming a professor, she served as an honors trial attorney in the environmental division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she tried cases in federal court.
Bowman says she believes that Oklahoma needs to conduct a grid audit and ensure that the Sooner State has the most up-to-date, efficient, and resilient electric grid in the country.
In addition to being a leader in oil, gas, and wind power, Bowman says Oklahoma needs to diversify its energy portfolio to become leaders in biomass, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy as well.
Dr. Bowman also says that every county in Oklahoma should have a competitive telecommunications market and broadband Internet access.
Don Underwood (I)
Don Underwood is the Independent candidate for Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner.
Underwood did not have a publicly accessible campaign website or social media page to discuss his stance on the issues.
Candidates for United States Senate
James Lankford (R)
James Lankford is the incumbent and the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.
Before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and the U.S. Senate in 2014, Lankford was the director of the Falls Creek Youth Camp and served in student ministry for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
In 2020, he was awarded the “Guardian of the Small Business” award and the “Taxpayer Super Hero” award from Citizens Against Government Waste.
He currently serves on the Committee on Finance, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Indian Affairs and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
If he is re-elected, Lankford says he wants to work to solve the budget crisis and eliminate wasteful spending. When it comes to international issues, he says the US should limit funding to the United Nations until there is legitimate oversight.
Lankford said he is a big proponent of Second Amendment rights, and supports parents being able to choose how their children are educated. He said the standards for public schools should be determined by the state, not the federal government.
He said it is essential to negotiate trade agreements with markets around the world for agriculture, and protect farms and ranches from tariffs.
Madison Horn (D)
Madison Horn is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Horn is a Cherokee Nation tribal citizen and currently works within the cybersecurity industry.
Horn says that she wants to increase accountability and transparency at the U.S. Capitol, expand reproductive rights to be free from government overreach, reduce wasteful government spending, incentivize the creation of a business-friendly atmosphere across the nation, and tackle rising costs that hurt families.
If elected, Horn says she also wants to expand access to health and human services across rural communities. She also said the U.S. needs to take an all-of-the-above approach to energy to strengthen national security and fight against authoritarian governments that are leveraging their oil production capabilities against us.
In terms of education, she said she wants to expand early childhood education, raise teacher wages, and invest in modernizing the education system.
When it comes to tribal affairs, Horn says she wants to foster collaboration between the tribes and the federal government to develop joint co-ops, and expand educational and health resources.
She says one of her priorities is to guarantee access to medical procedures for veterans, and expand mental health services and assistance to vets. Horn said she also wants to assist in skills training and development to help veterans get back to civilian life.
Michael Delaney (I)
Michael Delaney is the Independent candidate for U.S. Senate.
Delaney said he decided to run for the U.S. Senate after he saw what was going on locally and nationally on the political stage and how decisions made by politicians were impacting his community and family.
Delaney said the United States need to do more to address climate change and its impact on communities across the country, along with expanding its energy portfolio to other renewable forms of energy, and relying less on fossil fuels.
When it comes to healthcare, Delaney says he wants healthcare to be codified as an equal right, including medical, bodily autonomy, and privacy. He said he also supports universal healthcare.
Delaney says he also believes addiction should be treated as a health crisis and not a law enforcement issue, so it should be decriminalized. He said he would support ending the war on drugs era laws, repealing the Controlled Substances Act, and ending mandatory minimum sentencing.
He supports a minimum wage increase, free community college, food desert eradication, bail reform, and free internet.
Kenneth Blevins is the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate.
Blevins is a welder and pipefitter from Tulsa who says he understands the needs of average working Americans.
Blevins says that he wants to implement term limits at the U.S. Capitol, and will work to protect the Second Amendment.
As the United States’ debt climbs, Blevins says he wants to fight overspending on foreign military operations, and end the senseless funding of needless studies. Instead, he believes more money should be spent tackling the national debt.
He says he want to decriminalize marijuana on a federal level, and create more government transparency surrounding bills that are proposed to Congress.
In terms of veterans, he says he will always aim to keep Americans home with their families and not in unnecessary foreign engagements. Blevins says he will work with Veterans Affairs to provide better care for veterans facing life-long health consequences of their service.
Candidates for United States Senator
Markwayne Mullin (R)
Markwayne Mullin is the Republican nominee for United States Senate.
Mullin was first elected to Congress in 2012 and is currently serving his fifth term in office. He is also the founder of Mullin Plumbing and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation.
Mullin currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, including the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Subcommittee on Health, and on Environment and Climate Change.
Mullin says he is pro-life and has consistently maintained a 100% voting record with National Right to Life. He also says he will defend religious freedom, traditional marriage and conservative values.
If re-elected, Mullin says he will fight against liberal agendas and push forward former President Trump’s work. He says he wants to make the United States energy independent again and combat inflation.
He says he also will work to build the wall and secure the border.
Kendra Horn (D)
Kendra Horn is the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.
Horn became the first Democratic woman to represent Oklahoma in Congress when she won the 2018 election for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.
During her time in Congress, she earned a reputation as one of the most bipartisan and accessible members of Congress. She hosted over 54 town halls over the span of two years and had 25 bills signed into law by President Trump.
She served on the House Armed Services Committee, where she focused on strategic and nuclear arms control, nuclear safety, missile defense, and national security space policy. Horn also played a leading role in improving housing conditions for services members through the Tenant’s bill of Rights and the Military HOMES Act.
If elected, Horn says that she will push for a more all encompassing energy policy that includes oil and gas. She says that while the United States should invest in renewable energy, she says the country needs to invest in newer oil and gas technology to make those systems more efficient.
Horn says investing in American energy will also help reduce the country’s dependence on China and other foreign countries that have their own agendas.
If elected, Horn says she will also work to protect Social Security so it is not defunded or privatized.
Ray Woods (I)
Woods is 87-years-old and is a veteran and a retired business owner, who says he is a common man seeking an elected seat.
He says if elected, he will reinstate the Constitution of the United States, and work to tackle the outrageous health care costs impacting our nation.
He says he believes the educational system should be run and funded by the states, and not the federal government. Woods says he would work to dissolve over 200 years of abused, archaic and misused federal laws.
Robert Murphy (L)
Robert Murphy is the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate.
Murphy is a Vietnam veteran who is a retired data technician from the University of Oklahoma.
He says he wants to work to dismantle the legal structure that allows the banks, the military, the corporate giants, and the main-stream media to control so much of daily life.
If elected, Murphy says he will work to tackle federal encroachment on Oklahoma’s sovereignty, tribal relations, and the federal drug policy.
Murphy says he wants to work with federal authorities and tribal nations to develop effective solutions moving forward from the McGirt decision.
He says he believes that all drugs should be legalized so that Americans can make their own decisions about their what can be used as medicine.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
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