Republicans have had complete control of Oklahoma for more than a decade and currently control both U.S. Senate seats, all five U.S. House seats and enjoy super majorities in the state House and Senate. Donald Trump won the state by more than 33 percentage points in 2020, including every one of the state’s 77 counties.
Oklahoma’s top race this November features first-term Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, a multi-millionaire mortgage company owner, against Republican-turned-Democrat Joy Hofmeister, who has served two terms as the state’s superintendent of public instruction. The race is surprisingly competitive in part because of Stitt’s ongoing feuds with many of the Native American tribes in a state where nearly 10% of the population identify as Native American, and his hardline position against abortion even in cases of rape or incest, which has turned off some moderate Republicans and independents.
Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford is seeking another six-year term against Democratic newcomer Madison Horn, a cybersecurity expert, while the state’s other U.S. Senate seat is also on the ballot after longtime Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe announced plans to step down before his term is up. In that race, current GOP U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin is favored to defeat former Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, who pulled off one of the 2018 midterm’s biggest upsets when she won a U.S. House seat in Oklahoma City that she held for just one term.
The Oklahoma City district that Horn won in 2018 has since been redrawn by the state’s GOP-controlled Legislature to make it safer for Republicans. First-term Republican U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice is expected to keep the seat in the GOP column, and Republicans also are favored to retain the state’s four other U.S. House seats.
Here’s a look at what to expect on election night:
Polls close at 7 p.m. CT (8 p.m. ET).
HOW OKLAHOMA VOTES
Most of Oklahoma votes in person on Election Day. Voters must request an absentee ballot the third Monday, or 22 days, before Election Day. A state law passed in 2022 implemented a new ID requirement when applying for an absentee ballot. In the 2020 general election, the total of advance ballots cast was 29% of the total vote count.
When the polls close, reporting will start to come in quickly, with the majority of votes counted within a few hours. In the 2020 general election, states reached 100% precincts reporting at 12:31 a.m. local time, and the estimated percentage of votes not counted on election night was 0.1%.
The AP may call a statewide or U.S. House race in which the margin between the top two candidates is 0.5% or less, if we determine the lead is too large for a recount to change the outcome. Oklahoma has no mandatory recount requirement for races with candidates.
The AP will not call down-ballot races on election night if the margin between the top two candidates is less than 2% or if the leading candidate is within 2% of the 50% runoff threshold. The AP will revisit those races later in the week to confirm there aren’t enough outstanding votes left to count that could change the outcome.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?
Q: WHAT’S CHANGED SINCE THE PANDEMIC ELECTION OF 2020?
A: A new law made absentee request deadline the third Monday (22 days) before Election Day. Another outlines new ID requirements when applying for an absentee ballot.
Q: WHAT DO TURNOUT AND ADVANCE VOTE LOOK LIKE?
A: Based on early data, the total expected vote count is about 81% compared to the final total vote count for the 2020 General Election.
Q: HOW LONG DOES COUNTING USUALLY TAKE?
A: In the 2020 general election, the first results were reported at 7:19 p.m. and nearly 100% by 12:31 a.m.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS AFTER TUESDAY?
A: Provisional ballot results are released at 5 p.m. CST on the Friday after Election Day. There is no mandatory recount requirement for races with candidates. A nonmandatory recount must be requested before 5 p.m. CST on the Friday after Election Day and completed no later than 45 days after Election Day.
READ UP ON THE RACES
Here’s more on the campaigns in Oklahoma:
— Feud with tribes threatens Oklahoma governor’s reelection
— Oklahoma Republicans release new legislative maps
— Inhofe’s resignation shakes up GOP politics in Oklahoma
“In my opinion, he’s the most anti-Native American governor in state history. I think his defeat would be met with applause by many tribal leaders, certainly by me.” — Chuck Hoskin, principal chief of the powerful Cherokee Nation, headquartered in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, speaking about Stitt.
“He seems to have enjoyed this fight, relishes it and points to it as a badge of honor. It’s almost like he’s taunting them.” — Pat McFerron, a longtime Republican strategist and pollster in Oklahoma, speaking about Stitt’s feud with Native American tribes in the state.
“We want to outlaw abortion in the state of Oklahoma. I promised Oklahomans that I would sign every pro-life bill that hits my desk, and that’s what we’re doing here today.” — Stitt on the day he signed a bill making it a felony crime to perform an abortion in Oklahoma, even in cases of rape or incest.
Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.
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