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Oklahomans elect Kevin Stitt as state’s next governor

OKLAHOMA CITY - The race for Oklahoma's next governor has come to an end, and the voters have chosen Kevin Stitt to lead the state.

On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters headed to the polls to decide between Kevin Stitt, Drew Edmondson and Chris Powell.

Stitt, a business owner from Tulsa, said he wanted to run the state government like a business, give first-time teachers a $5,000 bonus and reduce and streamline several state agencies in an effort to save money.

Edmondson, a former attorney general and educator, said he wanted to raise the GPT back to 7% in order to restore education funding, crack down on lobbying and create a bill to protect local farmers.

Powell, a veteran, said he wanted to eliminate tax incentives for special interests, consolidate state agencies and decriminalize marijuana.

While early voting had Edmondson ahead of the other candidates, Stitt quickly took the lead and never looked back.

At times, Stitt led Edmondson by as many as 130,000 votes.

By the end of the night, Stitt finished with 54 percent of the vote and 637,000 votes.

Edmondson finished with 42 percent of the vote and 494,000 votes. Powell finished with 3 percent and 40,000 votes.

Governor Mary Fallin released a statement following Stitt's victory, and it says in part:

"Congratulations to Kevin Stitt on being elected Oklahoma’s 28th governor. I wish him the best of luck when he takes over the helm of our state January 14. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he will have a very smooth transition. My office is well prepared to help make him successful. The governor-elect’s office at the state Capitol is equipped with computers and telephones to begin the orderly transition of power."

Senate President Pro Tem-designate Greg Treat released the following statement following Stitt's victory:

“I want to congratulate Governor-elect Kevin Stitt on his impressive win in the governor’s race. Voters connected with his bold, new vision for Oklahoma. There will be a lot of common ground and shared goals between Governor-elect Stitt and the Oklahoma Senate Republicans. I’m very excited and optimistic about the future of Oklahoma. Thank you to my fellow Oklahomans for putting trust in Senate Republicans. We stand ready to work closely with Governor-elect Stitt and Speaker McCall to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state!”

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs released the following statement:

"Congratulations to Kevin Stitt, his family, and his campaign staff on a hard-fought victory. Tonight, voters chose the conservative principles. They want government that is both effective and efficient. They want to keep taxes low and regulations minimal to allow our economy to grow and our people to flourish. It is clear tonight that Oklahomans are tired of tax increases and constant demands for more revenue. OCPA stands ready to work with our newly elected officials to focus on protecting taxpayers, reforming our government, and creating a prosperous future for Oklahomans.”

The Oklahoma Education Association released the following statement:

"Throughout the campaign, Kevin Stitt talked about making Oklahoma public education one of the best systems in the country. We look forward to working with Gov. Stitt to make his campaign promise a reality. Education has been the No. 1 issue among voters since April and he will have a very strong education caucus in the state legislature to help make our children a true priority."