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CU-Friendly Candidates Win in Oklahoma Midterms
Thursday, November 8, 2018 6:55 AM

The 2018 midterm elections were arguably the most turbulent and unpredictable in recent history. But despite an historic number of open seats and candidates running to fill them, the vast majority of those supported by Oklahoma credit unions found themselves in the win column. In fact, in the general election, 94 percent of the candidates backed by the Oklahoma Credit Union Political Action Committee found themselves in the win column. Of those supported by OCUPAC in the course of the entire 2018 election cycle, 84 percent will hold office in 2019.

“Voters were angry and they were engaged," said Nate Webb, executive director of the Oklahoma Credit Union Association. "That’s why it was so important to invest in candidates we felt would be supportive of credit union issues moving forward. That’s our number one priority.”

Webb also reports that of the money spent on campaign contributions, 89 percent went to winning candidates.

“At the end of the day, we are making decisions on behalf of all our OCUPAC contributors," Webb said. "Stewardship of those funds is always top of mind.”

Of Oklahoma’s five U.S. representatives, three were supported by CULAC, two incumbents and one open-seat candidate. All three won decisively.

“When it was all said and done, it was a good night for Oklahoma credit unions," Webb said. "But it didn’t happen by accident. A lot of credit belongs to the OCUPAC Board of Trustees, the Cornerstone Credit Union League, and, most importantly, our OCUPAC contributors.”

Gubernatorial, State, and U.S. House Races

Republican Kevin Stitt won the Oklahoma governorship, defeating Democrat Drew Edmondson with 54.3 percent of the vote as of this writing. Because polls leading up to the election were so close, Stitt’s wide margin of victory was surprising.

Although, in the statewide races, the GOP retains a trifecta (Governor’s Mansion, House, and Senate), Democrats saw a couple of bright spots—most notably the pick-up of two State Senate seats in Oklahoma City.

“I think these two State Senate pickups, combined with the 5th Congressional District, reflect a distinct demographic shift in Oklahoma’s urban area, particularly Oklahoma City," said Webb. "We are seeing similar, less dramatic shifts in Tulsa.”

Still, Republicans maintain super majorities in both chambers, with a net pickup of two House seats that brings the chambers' partisan split to 25 Democrats and 76 Republicans.

In the Senate, Democrats saw a net pickup of one seat, bringing the partisan split to nine Democrats and 39 Republicans

All but one other statewide seat was open, and all were retained by Republicans.

In the U.S. House, representing Oklahoma:

  • District 1
  • Kevin Hern (R) with 59.3 percent of the vote
  • District 2
  • Markwayne Mullin (R/Incumbent) with 65 percent of the vote
  • District 3
  • Frank Lucas (R/Incumbent) with 73.9 percent of the vote
  • District 4
  • Tom Cole (R/Incumbent) with 63.1 percent of the vote
  • District 5
  • Kendra Horn (D) wins District 5 in an upset over two-term incumbent Steve Russell (R), with 50.7 percent of the vote, breaking the GOP stronghold on the state's U.S. delegation.

 

Oklahoma's U.S. Senate elections will be held in 2020.

Ballot Measures

Voters approved only one of five state questions on yesterday’s ballot. SQ 794, also known as Marsy’s Law, is a constitutional amendment proposed by the Legislature that would guarantee certain rights to crime victims and their families. These include expanding the opportunities for a victim to be heard during court proceedings, speedy resolution of a case, the right to talk to prosecutors, and the right to refuse interviews with defense attorneys.

The remaining four measures failed. They are:

  • SQ 793. Would insert language into the state constitution that would effectively override certain statutes regulating optometrists and opticians. The end goal is to allow big-box retailers like Walmart to have optometrists and opticians in their stores without a so-called “second door.”
  • SQ 798. This measure, proposed by the Legislature, would change the state constitution so that the governor and lieutenant governor are elected as a “team” instead of independently, as has been the case since statehood. The process for these joint nominations is not specified in the proposed amendment and would be determined by law.
  • SQ 800. This Vision Fund would have essentially created an endowment managed by the state treasurer. It would have exempted from the constitution prohibition against investment of state funds in private equities such as shares of stock. Four percent of the fund would have been apportioned annually to the general fund.
  • SQ 801. The Legislature proposed lifting the constitutional restrictions on the permanent school millages authorized in Article X, Section 10. Currently, 10 of the 15 mills allowed must be spent on operations, and the remaining 5 mills on construction and maintenance of buildings. SQ 801 would have allowed local districts to decide how to spend the proceeds from the 15 mills.

If you have questions about this information, please contact Oklahoma Credit Union Association Executive Director Nate Webb at 405-445-1510 or nwebb@okcua.coop.