Incumbent Insurance Commissioner John Doak easily defeated challenger Bill Viner in Tuesday’s Republican primary.
The Associated Press had called the race in favor of Doak within an hour of the polls closing.
Doak had 77.5 percent of the vote with all precincts reporting Tuesday night. Viner had 22.5 percent of the vote. Out of 244,898 votes cast, Doak received 189,760 votes, and Viner received 55,027 votes.
Doak secured another four years in office with the primary win. No Democrat filed for the statewide office, which regulates Oklahoma’s $18-billion insurance industry.
A political newcomer, Viner had no website, did little campaigning and had no campaign donors. He spent election night shopping the clearance racks at Target with his wife before returning home to eat ice cream and watch the election results on television.
Viner said he was happy with the votes he received after spending only $5,000 of his own money on the race. He decided to run because he believes that Oklahomans’ insurance rates are too high and spending has been excessive under Doak.
“I think there’s a lot of people who had some questions about Mr. Doak and I’m glad they voted for me,” Viner said.
Viner, 61, of Moore, is an auditor for the Oklahoma Tax Commission and previously worked as an examiner for the state Insurance Department and the Nevada Division of Insurance.
He said he hasn’t ruled out running for insurance commissioner again in four years.
Doak, 51, of Tulsa, spent the evening celebrating with supporters at Pharridge Farm Western Party Barn in Tulsa.
He said he planned to continue his work to educate consumers about their insurance polices and disaster preparedness. Doak has made a point of visiting each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties every year, something he plans to continue doing, he said.
While Oklahomans pay some of the highest insurance rates in the nation, because of the state’s propensity for wind and hail damage, Doak said he believes the solution is not more regulation, but rather making the state a more inviting place for insurers.