Updated: Oklahoma Democrats show up to vote #NativeVote18
It was a big night for #NativeVote18 in Oklahoma, Utah, and Colorado. One more primary election for the books.
Ashley McCray, Absentee Shawnee and Lakota, was the top vote earner for Democrats for the post of state corporation commissioner. Updated: Finally tally leaves McCray just short, 49 percent, of a runoff. So she will again face voters in August. McCray ran on a platform against fracking and the promotion of wind and solar as sustainable energy sources.
She posted on Facebook: “Maybe Oklahoma is ready for the revolution after all.”
In the fourth congressional district, Rep. Tom Cole, Chickasaw, easily won his Republican Party nomination again. Cole had more than two-thirds of the vote. Cole was first elected in 2002.
In the second congressional district, Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Cherokee, was cruising toward the Republican renomination with a two-to-one lead over a crowded field and enough votes to avoid a primary runoff. This would be Mullin's fourth term.
Cole and Mullin are the only tribal citizens serving in the Congress.
On the Democratic side, Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols, Cherokee, was leading four candidates with 37.9 percent of the vote. His nearest rival, Clay Padgett, had just under 25 percent, and Elijah McIntosh, Muscogee, was third at 19 percent. The top two Democratic candidates will advance to a runoff election in that race.
The Democrats in the second district showed up to vote in greater numbers than the Republicans. That could be that there is more interest in the Democratic primary -- or a signal for the fall election. There were 85, 892 votes castmfor Democrats in this district and 60,250 votes for the Republican candidates. This was the only congressional district in Oklahoma where the party vote was that see-saw. Remember Oklahoma is a red state. Deep red.
In the first congressional district, Amanda Douglas, Cherokee, posted a strong second place finish, trailing the leader by about two points and she earned enough votes to continue to the August runoff election.
There were only two candidates running on the Democratic side for lieutenant governor. Anastasia Pittman, Seminole, held the lead with all of the precincts reporting over rival Anna Deamore with less than a percentage separating the two.
Pittman is one of six Native Americans running for the office of lt. governor this election cycle.
Another candidate with tribal ties, Kevin Stitt, Cherokee, took second in a crowded Republican race for governor. The winner, Mick Cornett, had 29.3 percent, Stitt at 24.4, and Todd Lamb at 23.9. Again, the top two candidates will face voters again in August.
Oklahoma voters also appeared to be passing a medical marijuana law, the yes votes leading by about 11 points with more than half the statewide votes counted.
Joseph Salazar, Apache, the only state representative with tribal ties, was in a close race for the state’s attorney general post. This race is a contest for the future of the Democratic Party in the state. Salazar represents the Bernie Sanders’ wing and his opponent, Phil Weiser, fits into the establishment.
With about ninety percent of the votes counted, Weiser had a 50.9 percent lead over Salazar’s 48.1 percent.
Salazar is currently a state representative. In that job, he convinced his colleagues to pass a bill that banned the practice of jailing indigent defendants who were too poor to pay fines. He told the Denver Post: “No one at the state capitol can say I don’t stand up for the little guy.”
Utah polls close at 10 p.m. Eastern. Results from San Juan County, where there is a contested county commission race, are not expected until late.