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Stitt win tops Oklahoma’s general election ballot

November 7, 2018
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Oklahoma Republican Governor-Elect, Kevin Stitt, speaks to his supporters during a watch party in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — While the race to become Oklahoma’s next governor topped the ballot in Tuesday’s election, voters had plenty of other decisions to make.

Voters decided contests for U.S. House plus statewide offices, and races for state Legislature, judge and district attorney. Here are some things to know:

CONGRESS

Neither of Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate seats were up for re-election, but all five of the state’s U.S. House seats were on the ballot. Republicans mostly maintained their grip on Oklahoma’s federal delegation, save for a major upset. In Oklahoma City-based District 5, Democratic voter enthusiasm propelled nonprofit agency director Kendra Horn to victory over Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Russell, a retired Army officer seeking a third term.

In Oklahoma’s only open U.S. House seat, Republican fast-food restaurateur Kevin Hern maintained GOP control over Tulsa’s 1st Congressional District. Hern beat Democratic nominee Tim Gilpin, an attorney. The seat was left open when former GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine was tapped to head NASA.

Republican U.S. Reps. Tom Cole, Frank Lucas and Markwayne Mullin all easily won re-election.

TEACHERS AND THE LEGISLATURE

Only a handful of the nearly 50 teachers on the ballot were successful in their races for House and Senate seats, but there will still be some more educators in the Legislature this year.

Energized teachers helped knock off some of the dozen GOP incumbents who already were ousted from office, many of them targeted because of their opposition to a tax hike used to pay for teacher raises.

But on Tuesday, it was Democratic incumbents who were ousted from office. Three Democratic incumbents, including House Minority Leader Rep. Steve Kouplen of Beggs, were defeated. Democratic Reps. Donnie Condit of McAlester and Karen Gaddis of Tulsa, both former teachers, also were defeated.

STATE QUESTIONS

Of the five state questions on the ballot this year, the only one certain to pass is known as Marsy’s Law, which would expand crime victims’ rights.

Other measures to elect the governor and lieutenant governor on a joint ticket and to create a gross production budget reserve fund from oil and natural gas revenue both were defeated.

Two other state questions, one that would allow optometrists and opticians to operate in retail establishments and another to allow school districts to use property tax revenue for classroom needs, were too close to call late Tuesday.

STATEWIDE OFFICES

Republicans pulled off a sweep of statewide elected offices, winning contests for governor, lieutenant governor, auditor and inspector, attorney general, treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and corporation commissioner.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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