Oklahoma voter turnout gets boost from congressional, legislative races

Legislative, congressional races boost turnout for Oklahoma's runoff election.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: August 26, 2010
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Voter turnout in the Republican state insurance commissioner race Tuesday was a dismal 14.5 percent, but participation at the polls was much greater in areas that featured competitive legislative and congressional races, information from the state Election Board shows.

The battle between James Lankford and Kevin Calvey for the GOP 5th Congressional District post attracted 26.5 percent of the registered Republican voters in the district, which covers most of Oklahoma County and all of Pottawatomie and Seminole counties, said Paul Ziriax, state Election Board secretary.

Lankford, who won the race, and Calvey reached out to voters in advertisements, meetings and postings on social media sites such as Facebook.

The 45,713 who voted in the race was more than the 42,417 who voted in the 2006 Republican runoff between Mary Fallin, who then was lieutenant governor and who eventually won the race, and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.

Only 11.3 percent of registered Republicans voted in the Tulsa-area 2nd Congressional District runoff between Charles Thompson, who won, and Daniel Edmonds.

Voting results are unofficial. The numbers do not include provisional ballots, votes cast by disabled voters or overseas absentee ballots not yet received.

Results of the legislative runoff races will be certified Tuesday by the state Election Board.

The congressional races will be approved Sept. 8 to allow 14 days for overseas absentee ballots to be counted.

Insurance commissioner

The Republican runoff for an insurance commissioner nomination was the only statewide race. The 119,864 voters compares with a spirited GOP lieutenant governor's runoff in 2006 between then-House Speaker Todd Hiett and then-state Sen. Scott Pruitt. That race attracted 130,037 voters. In 2002, the GOP runoff between Jeff Cloud and Dana Murphy for an open seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission drew 87,319 voters.