Voters in Oklahoma are voting in several high profile races

Standing outside Hideaway Pizza in Oklahoma City’s historic Automotive Alley, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and Representative for the 2nd Congressional District Markwayne Mullin cruises from one television interview to another on the afternoon of the primary day.

A videographer asks the entrepreneur and former professional mixed martial arts fighter to provide commentary as if he’s just won the race so the interview can air tonight. The affable Mullin smiles and politely declines, saying “I can’t talk about something that hasn’t happened yet.”

According to polls, Mullin is the favorite in the race to replace 87-year-old Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who took office in 1994 and was elected to a fifth term in 2020. He announced in February 2022 that he would retire, effective January 3, 2023.

Thirteen candidates are in the GOP primary ballot. If no Republican candidate exceeds 50% of the vote, a second round between the first two voters will take place on August 23, 2022.

Inside Hideaway Pizza, Mullin and his campaign team hosted an Election Day kick-off party that ran from late morning to early afternoon. Mullin thanked a packed room of supporters and, in media interviews, encouraged Oklahomans to go to the polls.

“When there’s a race with 13 people on the ballot, literally every vote counts. We’re going to talk to people until the polls close (7 p.m. CST),” Mullin said. people are busy. It’s midsummer, and families have their commitments, but we have a duty to show up and vote. It’s the only way to take this country back from President Biden and his socialist program.

Among the multiple businesses Mullin operates is Mullin Ranch, where he raises cattle, so he’s used to the early mornings. On June 28, the permanent resident of eastern Oklahoma woke up, drove the 90 miles to Tulsa, stopped a few times to visit voters, then set off in the 106 mile hike to Oklahoma City for the rally of supporters.

“I spent every minute on the phone on the way here, and I will spend every minute on the phone on the way home, talking to mayors across the state and as many constituents as I can,” said Mullin, who was accompanied to Oklahoma City by his wife and three of their six children.

If the polls are accurate, Mullin and former Oklahoma House Speaker TW Shannon will advance to the second round on Aug. 23 to determine the Republican nominee.

“If I was in second place, I would love the idea of ​​a runoff,” Mullin said with a smile when asked about the concept of a runoff. “It’s a different story when you’re ahead in the polls, and if you finish first.

“If a second round happens and we’re in it, it’s like starting a new campaign,” Mullin explained. “You only have one opponent instead of 12, and it’s even more important to reach as many people as possible since, generally, polls have a lower turnout.”

As Mullin hosted a noon event in Oklahoma City before returning to Tulsa, where he will host a watch party tonight, top challenger TW Shannon cast his ballot around noon CST and encouraged Oklahomans to get to the polls before they close .

A former Oklahoma House Speaker who is one place behind Mullin in the polls, Shannon will have his watchdog party in Oklahoma City and hopes, at least, that he makes it to the second round.

State Sen. Nathan Dahm, who ranked third behind Mullin and Shannon in the last June 23 poll, is backed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who posted a Tweet with encouraging words for his candidate of choice.

Whether the GOP race is determined on June 28 or in a runoff on August 23, the winner will face Kendra Horn in November’s general election. Horn, who represented Oklahoma’s 5th congressional district from 2019 to 2020, is unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Voters across Oklahoma are also voting for the state’s other Senate seat, which is held by Republican Sen. James Lankford.

He is opposed by Tulsa-area pastor and businessman Jackson Lahmeyer in the Republican primary.

Interestingly, Joan Farr is also running in the GOP primary. She is simultaneously on the ballot in Kansas’ U.S. Senate GOP primary, which federal law allows.

The Democratic primary includes six candidates.

Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt is expected to easily win the June 28 primary and November general election. There are two candidates — state superintendent of public instruction Joy Hofmeister and former Oklahoma state senator Connie Johnson — in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Fourteen candidates are on the ballot for the Republican primary in Oklahoma’s 2nd congressional district. This seat opened up when Mullin decided to run for the Senate.

Oklahoma is a dark red state. Republicans are heavily favored to win the general election, which makes the GOP primary particularly important since the winners are virtually assured of victory in November.

Voters head to the polls in Harrah, Oklahoma, for primary election day on June 28. (Jeff Louderback/Epoch Times)

In Harrah, a town of 6,620 people 30 miles east of Oklahoma City, a steady stream of traffic poured into the Harrah Board of Education voting compound. Outside, Mike and Bernice, a retired married couple, agreed that American values ​​are at stake in this election.

“Values ​​centered around God and family still matter here, and that’s why it’s important to get out here and vote,” said Mike, a former teacher. “If only the rest of the country was like Oklahoma, then everything would be fine.”

On the outskirts of town, Harrah’s Barber Shop features a large mural of an American flag. A “Trump 2024” flag flies on a pole. Donald Trump won Oklahoma with 65% of the vote in 2020.

In nearby downtown Harrah, which consists of a single street lined with the chamber of commerce, a few shops, an old theater and a grain elevator, a railroad engineer named Kelly walks out a fitness center and talks enthusiastically about his hometown.

“I’m not much into politics, but I know people here are real conservatives who just want America to be what it was when Trump was president,” he said. “It’s a small town where people know each other and support each other. We kinda like to be left alone so we can mind our own business.

Jeff Louderback

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Jeff Louderback is a national reporter for The Epoch Times who is based in Ohio and covers the US Senate, US House, and gubernatorial races in Ohio and surrounding states.

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