Republican Markwayne Mullin, of Westville, and Democrat Rob Wallace, of Fort Gibson, cruised to victories in Tuesday's party runoff races and will compete to succeed U.S. Rep. Dan Boren in the November general election.
Mullin, a plumbing company owner, defeated state Rep. George Faught, of Muskogee, by a vote of 12,046 (56.8 percent) to 9,159 (43.2 percent) to win the Republican runoff election.
Meanwhile, Wallace, a former state and federal prosecutor, defeated Wayne Herriman, a Muskogee seed company owner, by a vote of 25,073 (57 percent) to 18,901 (43 percent) to win the Democratic runoff election.
Reached by telephone at his watch party Tuesday night, Wallace said he was looking forward to debating issues in the general election campaign.
“We recognize that the voters of eastern Oklahoma are ready to send somebody to Washington who will get beyond the partisan games that are going on there — a person who understands we need to create jobs in eastern Oklahoma and that one of the best ways we can do that is to preserve our water resources and use them as a job creation tool.”
Trebor Worthen, an adviser to Mullin's campaign, said Mullin also was extremely pleased by Tuesday night's election results.
“We have been greatly encouraged by the results tonight and are extremely excited that Markwayne has won the election and is the Republican nominee,” he said. “We feel like Markwayne is the right candidate to go to Washington and oppose Barack Obama's socialist agenda.”
The candidates are competing for the right to represent the 2nd District, which includes 25 eastern and southeastern Oklahoma counties.
The competition is being closely watched nationally as Republicans view it as an opportunity to potentially pick up a seat in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic in voter registration but composed primarily of rural conservatives.
Democrats have expressed optimism that they will be able to retain the seat.
Boren, of Muskogee, is currently the lone Democrat in Oklahoma's congressional delegation.
He is retiring from the position.