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Oklahoma voters head to the polls Tuesday

Voting booths are seen in Oklahoma.
Xcaret Nuñez
Voting booths are seen in Oklahoma.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Voters head to the polls Tuesday to select candidates for the statehouse, Congress and Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Fount Holland, a Republican political strategist, said Republican primaries bring out some of the most conservative voters who are normally older, such as 55 and older.

Oklahomans are more conservative than they have been in the past, Holland said.

“Republican primary voters are very much followers of President Trump, and so they’re running to reflect the people that make up the state, and not just that make up the state, but the people that care enough to show up to the polls,” Holland said.

Thirty-four Republican incumbents face challengers.

The District 4 seat for the U.S. House of Representatives has been highly publicized, with incumbent Tom Cole facing Paul Bondar, whose residency has been called into question. Cole chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Millions in advertising has been spent on the race for and against Cole and Bondar.

Andrew Hayes, Nick Hankins and Rick Whitebear Harris are also seeking the Republican nomination.

“If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will advance to the runoff primary election,” according to the Oklahoma State Election Board.

State Rep. Mauree Turner, D-Oklahoma City, who is nonbinary, is not seeking reelection.

Instead, three Democrats, Nicole Maldonado, Ellen Pogemiller and Paula Sophia, are seeking the seat. Maldonado currently works as Turner’s legislative assistant.

Senate Majority Leader Greg McCortney, R-Ada, will face Jonathon Wingard on Tuesday. Rob Crowley, who initially filed to run, withdrew from the race. McCortney has been selected as the next Senate president pro tem. If he loses, another senator will be chosen to fill the leadership post.

The Republican nomination for the Corporation Commission is a showdown between Brian Bingman, Justin Hornback and Russell Ray. Bingman is a former leader of the Oklahoma State Senate and Oklahoma Secretary of State. Hornback is a welder. Ray is the director of communications and marketing for CareerTech.

Misha Mohr, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Election Board, said making turnout predictions for a primary election is difficult because not all voters have an election every two years.

“It’s very difficult to make an apples to apples comparison when it comes to the primary election,” Mohr said.

Early voting for Tuesday’s primary ended Saturday. As of Friday morning, over 24,500 votes had been cast, either in person or via mail.

Mohr said some precincts have nonpartisan elections, which all voters are eligible to participate in.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Voters in line at their designated polling locationsby 7 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Voters must show photo identification, a county election board voter identification card.

Oklahoma has closed primary elections, meaning voters are limited to voting in their registered party’s primary. However, the Democratic party has opened its primaries to independents for 2024 and 2025, Mohr said.

If necessary, the primary runoff will be held Aug. 27. The general election is Nov. 5.