Shawnee and Tulsa have new Senators after Ron Sharp, a retired Shawnee High School teacher, and Nathan Dahm, a former missionary, won Tuesday runoff elections.
Because neither race drew candidates from the Democratic or independent parties, the Republicans fortified their stronghold Tuesday night in the Senate by two seats leading up to the November general election that will determine victors in 13 other seats.
Sharp, 60, defeated fellow Republican Ed Moore, a Baptist minister from Shawnee, in a very close runoff election for Senate District 17, which is in parts of Oklahoma and Pottawatomie counties.
Sharp had 1,705 votes or 52 percent and Moore had 1,608 votes or 48 percent of the votes.
“It was a close one,” Sharp said. “It took a team effort to win this race.”
Sharp said he's going to represent the entire district: Choctaw, Jones, Luther, McLoud.
“They're all going to see me,” he said. “There's not going to be any part of District 17 that doesn't see me. I want them to know that they will have access to their Senator.”
The district lines had been considerably redrawn for the seat before the June primary and no Democrats, including nine-year incumbent Sen. Charlie Laster, of Shawnee, filed for the seat.
In the primary two months ago, Moore had a slight lead and received 34 percent of the vote and Sharp 31 percent. Because neither candidate received a majority in the four-candidate race, they had to meet in the Tuesday runoff.
Tulsan wins election
Republicans also gained a seat in the Tulsa Senate race where incumbent Sen. Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, didn't seek re-election following redistricting.
Voters selected Dahm for the seat. He won with 54 percent of the vote over Tim Wright. The two had been incredibly close in the primary race with only 126 votes separating them, however neither received a majority.
Sharp and Dahm will take office mid-November.
In Norman, voters selected Rob Standridge to advance to the general election in November to face Democrat Claudia Griffith.
Standridge said he has been campaigning since the senator currently in office — Jonathan Nichols — filed for a judge position in 2010.
“It's been over two years,” Standridge said. “I can't imagine a longer campaign and my opponents, to their credit, they've been running a hard race.”
Standridge, 45, is a self-employed pharmacist from Norman.
In south-central Oklahoma, Corey Brooks, 33, defeated Peggy Davenport to face Democrat Mike Fullerton in the general election.
Senate District 43 represents McClain County and parts of Grady, Garvin and Stephens counties. The incumbent Greg Childers was unable to seek re-election because he no longer lived in the redrawn district lines.
“We're certainly very excited and very grateful to those who have supported us,” said Brooks, who is a retired naval officer who spent several years in Washington, D.C., working at the Pentagon. “It seems we've got a pretty good strategy going and that's meeting voters where they are.”
Brooks said he thinks his district is responding well to his Christian conservatism.
All of the races in Tuesday's runoff attracted four Republican candidates in part because no incumbent was seeking re-election, but also because the district lines were considerably redrawn.