With the election literally around the corner, here is how I plan to vote. I've focused on what will be on the ballot in Muskogee County, but also included some of the important, competitive legislative races throughout the state.
President: Anybody but Clinton. I've previously voiced my opinion about Trump. Since Oklahoma will overwhelmingly vote for Trump, I will either leave that line empty or cast a protest vote. (Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost. - John Quincy Adams)
U.S. Senate: James Lankford
U.S. House: Republican nominees
State House: I'll focus on the Muskogee-area races, plus a few competitive races that I know something about the candidates.
- Rep. George Faught (HD14 - Muskogee/Cherokee counties)
- Avery Frix (HD13 - Muskogee/McIntosh counties) - Democrat-held seat
- Kevin McDugle (HD12 - Wagoner County) - Democrat-held seat
- Bob Ed Culver (HD4 - Cherokee County) - Democrat-held seat
- Steven McGowan (HD1 - McCurtain County) - Democrat-held seat
- Matt Jackson (HD85 - Oklahoma County) - Democrat-held seat
- Dewayne Pemberton (SD9 - Muskogee/Cherokee counties) - Democrat-held seat
- Sen. Joseph Silk (SD5 - far southeast corner) - probably the most important reelection, Silk has the highest Conservative Performance Index score in the legislature.
- Sen. Larry Boggs (SD7 - heart of "Little Dixie")
Supreme Court - James Winchester: NO. Our entire Supreme Court needs to be thrown out for striking down pro-life measures.
Supreme Court - Douglas Combs: NO. Our entire Supreme Court needs to be thrown out for striking down pro-life measures.
Court of Criminal Appeals - Clancy Smith: No.
Court of Criminal Appeals - Robert Hudson: Yes.
Court of Civil Appeals - Tom Thornbrugh: Yes.
Court of Civil Appeals - John Fischer: No.
Court of Civil Appeals - Larry Joplin: No.
For more on the judges, read this from OCPAC and this from Steve Fair. If history is made and a judge loses his retention election, the Governor appoints a new judge.
State Question 776: For. Would reiterate that the death penalty is not unconstitutional nor "cruel and unusual punishment".
State Question 777: FOR. This measure is intended to protect farmers and ranchers from undue government interference and from outside groups seeking to hurt agriculture in Oklahoma. Contrary to the apocalyptic rhetoric coming from the out-of-state animal-rights/environmentalist groups fighting this, at the very worst this is a "do-little" measure. This won't hurt small farmers. Farmers won't suddenly decide to poison the water and air (like you, they need good water and good air). The sky won't fall. Foreign corporations, already banned, won't be dropping a pig farm next to your suburban house. However, if SQ777 fails, you can be sure the animal-rights/environmentalists will charge into Oklahoma to restrict farming and ranching.
State Question 779: AGAINST. A 22% increase in state sales tax to fill the pockets of higher education, under the misleading guise of "teacher pay raises" is not what Oklahoma needs. Read more from AFP and OCPA Impact.
State Question 780: Against. Many of the drug crime reforms in this measure were addressed by the legislature this past session. Let's see how those work before making further changes.
State Question 781: Against. Michael Bates makes a good argument for a 'no' vote (although David Van Risseghem has good points in favor; if you do vote for 780, you should vote for 781).
State Question 790: FOR. This would remove a section in the state constitution that has been used to infringe on religious liberties.
State Question 792: Against. As someone who does not nor will ever consume liquor, I was a little torn on this. 792 would institute some semi-free-market(ish) reforms, however, if it passes this would not take effect until October 1st, 2018. Whichever way you vote, you're voting for some aspect of the liquor industry. Reading the fine print on this seems like it replaces one set of complicated restrictions with another set. Frankly, I'm surprised the state Supreme Court didn't strike this down as 'logrolling'.
If you need more information on the Judges on the ballot, see these posts.
If you need more information on the State Questions, see these posts. For SQ777 in particular, read these. For SQ779 in particular, read these.