Hofmeister Wins Dem Nomination in Oklahoma Governor’s Race | Health and fitness

By SEAN MURPHY – Associated Press Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, a longtime Republican who switched parties last year, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday in the race for governor.

Hofmeister defeated longtime Democratic Party activist and former state senator Connie Johnson in Tuesday’s primary.

Hofmeister said she switched parties because she wanted to challenge Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who easily won the GOP nomination on Tuesday against three Republican challengers.

Hofmeister upset a GOP incumbent in 2014 to become superintendent and won re-election in 2018. She and Stitt clashed over the governor’s push to ban mask mandates in schools during the coronavirus pandemic and his support to a voucher scheme that would divert public funds to private schools.

Independent Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former Republican state senator, and libertarian Natalie Bruno of Edmond will also be on the November ballot.

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THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Kevin Stitt easily won Tuesday’s GOP primary in his race for re-election as governor of Oklahoma, taking advantage of a massive fundraising advantage to send three more Republicans .

Stitt’s feuds with fellow Republicans in the Legislature and with many Oklahoma-based Native American tribes didn’t seem to bother GOP primary voters, though strained relations with the tribes, which grew more powerful with an influx of casino revenue over the past few decades, likely will play a role in November’s general election.

Independent Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former state senator, and libertarian Natalie Bruno of Edmond will also be on the November ballot.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republican Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister both enjoyed huge fundraising advantages over their opponents in Tuesday’s primary election in a State where burning issues like abortion, guns and the death penalty are likely to be a focus in the race.

Stitt, 49, the wealthy former head of a Jenks-based mortgage company, has raised about $5.4 million, nearly 20 times more than his top three GOP opponents combined, and is a heavy favorite To advance. But the first-term governor was also forced to spend heavily on advertising to counter millions of dollars in black money attack ads that portrayed him as soft on crime.

His main Republican opponents include Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs chief Joel Kintsel, 46, political unknown Moira McCabe, 40, and former Tulsa police officer Mark Sherwood, 57, a naturopathic doctor.

Polling places statewide are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Stitt took strong stances on burning issues important to conservatives during his first term, enacting one of the nation’s toughest abortion bans in May, expanding access to guns and overseeing the return of the death penalty after nearly seven years. hiatus.

On the campaign stump, Stitt focused on what he called “Oklahoma’s turnaround” and pointed to the state’s low unemployment rate and rebounding economy, including more than 2 billions of dollars that have been cashed into government savings accounts. Even after four years in office, Stitt has portrayed himself as a businessman and political outsider in the mold of former President Donald Trump.

“I was a total stranger to politics,” Stitt said this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida. “In fact, my very first political donation was to Donald J. Trump for President.”

On the Democratic side, Hofmeister, 57, a longtime Republican and two-term Oklahoma public school system official, announced last year that she was switching parties to run against Stitt. The two had clashed over the state’s handling of COVID-19 in schools, including banning mask mandates, and Stitt’s support for a voucher scheme that would divert funds from the public education to private schools.

Hofmeister faces Connie Johnson, 70, a longtime Oklahoma Democratic Party loyalist and former state senator, who was a leading liberal voice during her 12 years as an Oklahoma lawmaker. State.

As a lifelong Republican, Hofmeister doesn’t offer as clear an alternative to Stitt as most Democrats would. She describes herself as “pro-life”, although she says a decision on an abortion should be between a woman and her doctor. Johnson, on the other hand, was a strong proponent of abortion rights during his time in the Senate.

Hofmeister had a major fundraising advantage over Johnson, raising more than $1.1 million compared to Johnson’s $53,000. Of all the gubernatorial candidates, including Stitt, Hofmeister had the most cash on hand, about $490,000, ahead of Tuesday’s primary, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Independent Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former Republican state senator, and libertarian Natalie Bruno of Edmond will also be on the November ballot.

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