Oklahoma Capitol

Primary elections are Tuesday for Oklahoma legislative seats. Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman file

Voters will cast ballots in several state House and Senate districts during Tuesday’s primary.

In races with three or more candidates, a candidate must secure 50% plus one vote to avoid the Aug. 25 runoff election.

The general election is Nov. 3.

Three Democrats and three Republicans are vying for the Senate District 35 seat, which includes portions of Tulsa along the east bank of the Arkansas River, roughly east to Harvard Avenue, from the edge of downtown south to about 121st Street.

The seat became open after Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, reached his 12-year term limit.

The Democratic field is Jo Anna Dossett, Carly Hotvedt and Stan Allen Young.

The Republican contest is Cheryl Baber, Kyden Creekpaum and Linda Morrissey.

All six candidates are from Tulsa.

Dossett, 39, is a teacher who is married with two children. She is the sister of Sen. J.J. Dossett, D-Owasso. She supports State Question 802, which is also on the June 30 ballot.

Hotvedt, 36, is an attorney who is married with an adult son. She made an unsuccessful attempt in 2018 for the Oklahoma House. She supports State Question 802, which she said is an incredible investment where the state can draw down $9 for every $1 in state funding.

Young, 61, is a retired nurse anesthetist and retired from the U.S. Naval Reserve. He supports State Question 802, saying it is crucial for rural hospitals and important to get the “spigot of federal dollars turned back on.”

Baber, 55, is a married attorney with two sons. The former assistant U.S. attorney previously made a failed attempt for the Oklahoma House of Representatives. She does not support State Question 802, saying it will be expensive, may drive quality care down and create another group of welfare recipients.

Creekpaum, 38, is a married attorney with two children. He said he has not made up his mind on State Question 802, saying the state needs to find a way to pay for it, but he believes there is a strong majority of people who support it.

Morrissey, 67, is married with three grown children. She was a judge beginning in 1995 until retiring in March. She said her background in the law will be beneficial in the Legislature to ensure laws are not unconstitutional. She supports State Question 802.

A doctor and small-business owner will face off in the Republican primary for Senate District 37, which includes much of west Tulsa, Jenks, Sand Springs and western Tulsa County.

The winner of the race between Chris Emerson, 52, an anesthesiologist, and Cody Rogers, 32, who operates an asphalt and concrete paving company, will face Sen. Allison Ikley-Freeman, D-Tulsa, in the Nov. 3 general election.

Ikley-Freeman narrowly won the post in 2017 during a special election after it was vacated by former Sen. Dan Newberry, R-Tulsa.

Emerson, who is married with nine children, is voting for State Question 802, Medicaid expansion, which also appears on the June 30 ballot.

Rogers, who is married with five children, also is supporting SQ 802, but said he doesn’t see how the state will be able to afford it, especially given the current budget situation in which state revenues are on the decline.

Both believe President Donald Trump has done a good job in office.

The state representative from House District 69, which includes Jenks, far south Tulsa and Bixby, will be determined in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

First-term incumbent Sheila Dills and challenger Angela Strohm are the only candidates for the seat, which means it will not be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

“I’ve kept my promises,” Dills replied when asked why district Republicans should return her to office. “I promised to listen and to stay connected, and I’ve done that.”

Strohm is the wife of former Rep. Chuck Strohm, whom Dills defeated in the 2018 Republican primary. Angela Strohm could not be reached for comment for this story, but has been active in the local Republican Party for many years.

Dills’ first term has been marked by strong involvement in education issues and, in particular, public accountability for virtual charter schools. Her House Bill 2905 was the major virtual charter reform legislation to come out of the 57th Legislature.

Strohm, who has taught in public and private schools, has been more critical of public schools than Dills. In some of her public comments, she has warned of undue influence from national organizations espousing liberal agendas.

Two-term incumbent Carol Bush and 21-year-old newcomer Taylor Woodrum will decide the state House District 70 race.

Bush, 59, is a former director of the Tulsa Crime Prevention Network and operated several small businesses. She also worked for the Tulsa County Health Department.

As a legislator, Bush is chairwoman of the House’s Children, Youth and Family Services Committee and has carried several bills related to child welfare reform.

“The thing I’m most proud of is I promised I would be accountable and I have been,” Bush said. “When my phone rings, I answer it. I answer my own email. I think that’s what people expect.”

Woodrum, an OSU-Tulsa student and retail worker, said he decided to challenge Bush because “I didn’t see myself represented in the Legislature or my district.”

He said the Second Amendment, abortion and making Tulsa a more attractive place for young people are his chief concerns.

“Really, the reason I’m running is that Bush doesn’t represent me, but I would also like to see Oklahoma prosper,” he said. “Growing up, kids I went to high school with said they couldn’t wait to move out of state. I don’t feel that way.”

Woodrum said he is a 2017 Cascia Hall graduate.

District 70 runs mostly between Lewis and Yale Avenues from 71st Street to 21st Street.

Republican voters in House District 71 will choose a nominee from among three candidates in Tuesday’s primary election.

HD 71 includes some of the city’s wealthiest and poorest neighborhoods, extending along the east bank of the Arkansas River from 21st to 81st Streets and east to Lewis Avenue.

Beverly Atteberry, Mike Masters and David Hullum are competing for a spot on the Nov. 3 general election ballot opposite first-term Democratic incumbent Denise Brewer.

Atteberry, 52, is an attorney who has lived and worked in the district since the 1990s. She was an unsuccessful candidate in HD 71 in 2018.

That experience, she said, gives her an advantage this time, especially since COVID-19 brought a halt to door-knocking and face-to-face campaigning.

“I learned a lot about the district, its wants and needs,” Atteberry said.

Masters, 40, is a public school teacher who says he has long wanted to be a “public servant.”

“It’s something I’ve struggled with, having not served in the military,” he said.

Now a real estate agent, Masters and his wife, Alexandra, an attorney, have four school-age sons. That, and his experience as a teacher, have fostered some strong ideas about education reform.

Hullum, 37, could not be reached for this story. He is in the oil and gas business and was a candidate in 2018. He was also briefly a candidate for congress in 2016 but withdrew from the contest.

Four years ago, Monroe Nichols defeated former Tulsa City Councilor Maria Barnes by 81 votes to win the state House District 72 Democratic primary and, because there were no other contestants, the entire election.

Barnes and Nichols are once again the only names in the hat in HD 72, with their Democratic primary deciding the overall winner.

“I took a break and now I’m ready to get back to work,” said Barnes, who is community outreach director for Crosstown Learning Center.

“I just feel like this is something I needed to do,” said Barnes, 59. “I’m not going to say anything negative about Monroe. But if you want a change, you need to do something. Give people a choice.”

Nichols, 36, is vice chairman of the Democratic caucus and has been involved in several legislative areas, including promotion of low-income housing, economic development, civil rights, health care and schools. Recently, Nichols announced a police reform initiative that would include a state oversight office.

“My father was a police officer, my uncle is a current police officer; this package is not an attack on law enforcement,” Nichols said.

House District 72 includes parts of north Tulsa northeast of downtown, including Mohawk Park and Sperry.

An energy attorney, an ex-Marine and an octogenarian are competing for the House District 79 nomination in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

HD 79, in southeast Tulsa, is currently represented by Democrat Melissa Provenzano, who will face the GOP nominee in November.

Maria Seidler, 65, is retired from a legal career that included stints representing small natural gas interests and working for one of the nation’s largest electric power providers. She said that experience gives her an edge in understanding and solving complex issues.

“It’s not easy to draft really good legislation that gets the outcomes we want,” Seidler said.

Clay Iiams, 29, spent eight years in the Marine Corps and is now a welder and cigar store employee. He said Provenzano does not represent his views.

“I’ve always been politically inclined,” he said. “When I look at the representation in my district, my voice is not being heard.”

Margie Alfonso, 85, has a long history of involvement in the Republican Party, including President Ronald Reagan’s AIDS/HIV initiative in the 1980s.

Alfonso’s website says she supports school vouchers and opposes “nationalized” health care and abortion rights. She supports eliminating the state income tax. Alfonso could not be reached for this story.

Two-term incumbent Mark Lawson faces challenges from small-business owner Jake Rowland and retail manager Kate Stromlund in a Republican primary in House District 30, a mostly suburban constituency in northeastern Creek and southern Tulsa counties.

In HD 30, Lawson is asking voters for a third term based on his accessibility and his work on behalf of issues related to family, children and youth services. Rowland, 43, was also a candidate in HD 30 two years ago. He lives in Bixby near the west end of the district and says representation has tended to be focused on Sapulpa. Stromlund, 60, is an assistant manager at a retail store who lives with and cares for her disabled father. Although a registered Republican, she said she’s not too happy with either party.

Other area Republican primaries of note:

House District 66: Sand Springs accounts for most of the district, but it extends through Tulsa neighborhoods north of the Arkansas River to immediately south of downtown. The winner of the primary between incumbent Jadine Nollan, 61, and Emily DeLozier, 72, will face Democrat Greg Laird in November.

House District 74: This winner-take-all north Tulsa County race is a rematch of last year’s GOP primary, when retired educator Mark Vancurren received 85% of the vote against medical marijuana business owner Brad Peixotto.

House District 11: Although anchored in Bartlesville, this district includes Collinsville and a portion of Owasso. First-term incumbent Derrel Fincher, 62, a retired educator and engineer, is opposed by Wendi Stearman, 46, of Collinsville.

The winner faces Democrat Emilie Tindle, 24, of Collinsville on Nov. 3.

House District 14: Although outside the immediate area, this winner-take-all Muskogee County primary is of interest because it pits former representative George Faught against first-termer Chris Sneed, who knocked out Faught largely on the basis of education issues.


Featured video