By Patrick B. McGuigan | CapitolBeatOK
OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma’s ballot Tuesday include eight legislative run-offs, but the results were consequential.
Kay Floyd, previously a state administrative law judge, won the Democratic nomination in House District 88.
An intra-party critic of departing Republican state Rep. Randy Terrill prevailed over the incumbent’s preferred choice in House District 53.
And Republicans enhanced their strong majority in the upper chamber.
In a “red state” year for Oklahoma, Floyd’s electoral strength might be one of the few bright spots for legislative Democrats. She positions the legislative minority to hold an Oklahoma City seat that previously belonged to Al McAffrey, who won a special Senate election in February. See story here.
Floyd garnered 904 votes (63 percent of the total) to secure the Democratic nomination in the state House District 88 seat in MidTown Oklahoma City. Floyd defeated health-care worker Mike Dover.
With turnout higher than anticipated by Floyd’s team of activists, she won every precinct.
In an interview with CapitolBeatOK, Floyd, a newcomer to electoral politics, reflected, “Talking to people on their doorstep from the cold of winter to the heat of summer really is essential.”
Floyd said she learned that education, not the economy, was voters’ top concern.
“It quickly became apparent that education is what was on everyone’s radar. There are 20 schools in this district — some private, public, charter and magnet, all of them preparing the next generation of Oklahoma’s workforce for the future.
“The people in this area really make the connection that only by creating quality education, can Oklahoma truly invest in the local economy.”
Although the district leans more Democratic as a result of reapportionment, Floyd intends to take her Republican opponent, Aaron Kaspereit, seriously.
If she wins, Floyd hopes for a seat on the House Education Committee.
“I would be honored to be able to serve on that committee. I think that by working with moderate Republicans and fellow Democrats, cooler heads can prevail over the radical right tea party types,” Floyd said.
In House District 53 – south Oklahoma City and Moore — the Randy Terrill era ended with a whimper, not a bang.
Contractor Mark McBride of Moore won nearly 59 percent support against Terrill’s ally, Paula Sullivan. McBride started his race intending to defeat the controversial Terrill, but Terrill instead sought a Cleveland County commissioner’s job. He lost in the June primary.
Terrill still faces prosecution in Oklahoma County for bribery allegations dating to 2010.
Two GOP Senate runoff victors – Ron Sharp, in Shawnee’s District 17, and Nathan Dahm, in Tulsa’s District 33 – were elected because no Democrats filed. The November contestants are now set in the remaining races.
Erosion of legislative strength for the party that dominated Oklahoma politics for nearly a century seems likely to continue , even though Democrats still have a plurality of the state’s registered voters.
You may contact Patrick B. McGuigan at Patrick@capitolbeatok.com and follow us on Twitter: @capitolbeatok.