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Hofmeister and Stitt spar in governor's race debate

Joy Hofmeister and Kevin Stitt on Oct. 19, 2022
KWTV - News 9
Joy Hofmeister and Kevin Stitt on Oct. 19, 2022

Wednesday night saw the only planned governor’s race debate between incumbent Kevin Stitt and challenger state Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

Hofmeister, who recently changed her party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, distinguished herself from Stitt by saying she’s rooted in Oklahoma and in touch with the needs of the state regardless of political affiliation.

“This is about people over party. This is about Oklahomans. This is about the real issues facing Oklahoma today. I am going to fight like hell for the future of this state, and I don’t care, I'll hold both parties accountable. We’re going to do what’s right for Oklahomans,” said Hofmeister.

Stitt said Oklahomans voted for an economically savvy outsider who promised to shake things up.

“We’ve gone from budget nightmares, almost zero money in savings, and you elected a business person. You wanted an outsider to put a fresh set of eyes on every contract and hold government accountable,” said Stitt.

Another clear divide was on abortion. Hofmeister said the women of Oklahoma have seen and heard Stitt’s anti-choice platform, and while Hofmeister is pro-life, she thinks abortion is a medical decision between a woman and a doctor.

Stitt, who’s signed extremely restrictive abortion legislation, said he would nevertheless approve exceptions for rape or incest if Oklahoma's Legislature deemed them necessary.

Hofmeister and Stitt are facing off in November's general election. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Monday.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.