Voters will decide primary runoff races Tuesday for Congress, the Oklahoma Legislature and the key office of state school superintendent.
A marquee race will be the contest between former Edmond Mayor Patrice Douglas, a lawyer and banker, and Steve Russell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and former Oklahoma state senator. They are vying to represent the 5th Congressional District in Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. The Democratic side of that runoff features retired college professor Tom Guild, of Edmond, against State Sen. Al McAffrey, of Oklahoma City.
The vacancy in the 5th Congressional District was created when Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, decided to run for the unexpired term of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who is stepping down two years early because of health concerns. Lankford won his primary outright and is the favorite in the general election against the winner of the Democratic runoff between state Sen. Connie Johnson, of Oklahoma City, and perennial candidate Jim Rogers, of Midwest City.
The turnout in the June 24 primary was about 31 percent for Republicans and 20 percent for Democrats. The turnout usually decreases in a runoff.
For example, when Lankford won his 2010 runoff election against Kevin Calvey, 45,719 Republicans voted in the 5th Congressional District. The primary election drew 55,867 voters.
There will also be a Democratic runoff for state school superintendent featuring Peggs Public Schools Superintendent John Cox, who received 41 percent of the vote in the primary, and Astec Charter School founder and operator Freda Deskin, who got 38.2 percent. The winner faces Republican Joy Hofmeister in the general election.
Another race of interest is in state House District 88 in Oklahoma City, where former pastor Jason Dunnington, who had 40 percent of the primary vote, faces off against Paula Sophia, a former police officer and U.S. Army veteran, who had 24 percent. Sophia is trying to become the state’s first transgender legislator. There is no Republican candidate in that district, so the winner gets the seat.
On the Democratic side, there are three Oklahoma House runoffs and one in the Senate.
For the Republicans, there are two state Senate runoffs and six in the House.
Runoffs are held when no candidate gets more than half the vote in primary races.
Sample ballots and polling place information can be obtained through the state Election Board’s website — www.ok.gov/elections. Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.