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.
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.
Most of the legislative races attracted more than 24 percent of the registered voters in the House or Senate district, he said.
"I would not describe that as good turnout, but I would say for a runoff that's not too bad," he said.
Two races for state House of Representative seats drew about one third of the registered voters in those districts, Ziriax said. Turnout may have been propelled by the finality of the runoff — the winners faced no opposition in the November general election and advanced straight to the House seat. In the House District 100 race, 32.6 percent of the registered voters in the northwest Oklahoma City district voted Tuesday. The post was won by Elise Hall.
In the House District 86 race in eastern Oklahoma, 33.6 percent of the registered Democrats turned out at the polls. Rep. John Auffet, D-Stilwell, lost to political newcomer William T. Fourkiller, of Stilwell. Four other House races drew 24 to 26 percent of the registered voters. The Democratic House District 66 race in the Tulsa area attracted only 13.1 percent of registered voters.
In the Senate, the District 44 Republican runoff in south Oklahoma City attracted 24.5 percent of registered voters.