Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Runoff: 3 GOP State Senators lose, 2 abortion abolitionists win, Bice tops Neese

The votes are in, and there were is some big news out of yesterday's runoff election. Let's get into the top stories.

1. Three Republican State Senators lost
State Senators Larry Boggs (SD7), Ron Sharp (SD17), and Paul Scott (SD43) all fell to challengers last night.

  • Boggs received 46.45% in the June primary, but only increased that total to 47.7% in the runoff, losing to abortion abolitionist candidate Warren Hamilton in a high profile showdown. Hamilton will face off against Democratic nominee Jerry Donathan in November.
  • Sharp finished the primary eleven points behind former State Rep. Shane Jett, and ended up garnering 40.61% last night in a resounding defeat. No Democrat filed for this seat, so Jett will be running against Libertarian candidate Greg Sadler.
  • Scott almost won the primary outright with 49.89% of the vote (if seven votes had flipped to him, he would have had a majority), but ended up losing the runoff to Jessica Garvin 51.56% to 48.44%. Garvin now faces Democrat Terri Reimer for the general election.

2. Two abortion 'abolitionists' won
One of the big stories of the past year was the emergence of the abortion abolition movement as a political force. State Sen. Joseph Silk carried their banner with the filing of his Senate Bill 13, but did not run for reelection this year, leaving the Legislature without an open and fervent supporter of abolishing abortion. Free The States and other groups organized massive rallies at the state capitol in support of SB13, and recruited about a dozen candidates for state house and senate races this year.

Most of their candidates went down in defeat during the primary, but two of their endorsed candidates made it into the runoff: Warren Hamilton in SD7 (their top recruit), and Margie Alfonso in HD79.

As mentioned above, Hamilton defeated incumbent State Sen. Larry Boggs in a contentious and rowdy runoff (you can read more about the craziness here). Despite being the former seat of longtime Democratic legend (and criminal) Gene Stipe, the Republican candidate in this seat is the favorite to win due to the relatively rapid transition of Little Dixie from blue to red.

Margie Alfonso (age 85) is a bit of a miracle, to be honest. I didn't follow this race very closely, but here's what I know. The House District 79 GOP primary ended with Clay Iiams at 46.48%, Alfonso at 28.77%, and Maria Seidler at 24.75%. That's a big gap between first and second, almost insurmountable in a runoff. And yet, Alfonso took the runoff with an astounding 59.41% to Iiams' 40.59%. There were 602 more votes cast in the HD79 runoff than there were in the primary -- another rarity.

Alfonso faces an uphill battle against incumbent Democrat Melissa Provenzano, who captured the longtime-Republican seat when it was an open race in 2018.

3. Stephanie Bice defeated Terry Neese in the CD5 runoff
In the marquee race of the night, State Sen. Stephanie Bice defeated businesswoman Terry Neese in the 5th Congressional District GOP runoff, earning the chance to go up against incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Kendra Horn.

Neese had emerged from the primary leading Bice 36.48% to 25.41%, but Bice somehow made up that gap to win. For most of the evening it was neck and neck, within a hundred or so votes with the lead changing between the two candidates. Neese won the Pottawatomie and Seminole counties by decent margins, but Bice took Oklahoma County. As the rural and outlying areas finished reporting totals, Bice began making up ground and took the lead for good as Oklahoma County continued counting.

Bice ended up with 52.93% to Neese's 47.07%. After a financially draining and bruising contest, Bice now goes up against Congresswoman Kendra Horn, who at the end of June had $2,619,780 in cash on hand. That's almost as much as Bice and Neese had combined.

You can view the full election results at this link.


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