Oklahoma voters heading to the polls for major primary races, here’s a breakdown

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In a matter of days, Oklahomans across the state will head to the polls to vote in the statewide primary.

Registered voters will be tasked with voting in a series of races including one for a U.S. Senate seat, and several U.S. House seats.

In the primary election, registered Republicans will only be able to vote for Republican candidates at this time. Also, registered Democrats and Independents will only be able to vote for Democratic candidates.

The polls will open at 7 a.m. on June 30 across the state.

Corporation Commissioner (Republican)

Harold Spradling, 86, ran for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in the past. He says due to the coronavirus pandemic, he will not be going door-to-door to shake hands with voters. However, he says he encourages retirees to get involved in public service.

Todd Hiett is seeking re-election to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and recently became the chairman of the commission in 2019. In the 1990s, Hiett was elected to serve in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. After several years, he was chosen as the first Republican Speaker of the House in more than 80 years.

United States Senator (Democrat)

Abby Broyles was born and raised in Bethany, Oklahoma before she decided to attend college out-of-state. After graduating college, Broyles became a journalist and returned to Oklahoma to focus on investigative reports into politicians and the justice system. She soon decided to put herself through law school while also reporting at KFOR. In her bid for a U.S. Senate seat, Broyles says she wants to work to help close the gender pay gap, create affordable healthcare for Oklahomans with pre-existing conditions, fully fund our military bases, and update federal laws in terms of medical marijuana.

Sheila Bilyeu grew up in Freedom, Oklahoma before attending Oklahoma State University and Northern Arizona University. Bilyeu has spent decades campaigning for Democrats across the country and says she is ready to fight for justice in the U.S. Senate. Bilyeu says she believes in student-loan forgiveness and free tuition at public universities. She also says she wants to work to keep and increase Social Security and provide Medicare for all.

  • R.O. Joe Cassity, Jr.

R.O. Joe Cassity, Jr. is a retired college professor and reservist in the United States Army. He is now a lawyer in Ponca City. Cassity says he enthusiastically supports civil rights, women’s rights, and the American Union Labor Movement.

Elysabeth Britt was born and raised in Oklahoma and attended Putnam City North High School. After graduation, she enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. and served on active duty from 1997 to 1999. After the military, she attended college and spent nearly two decades in human resources. Britt says she wants to become a senator so she can advocate for competitive wages and hold corporations accountable, ensure student and home loans are fair and equitable, protect American copyrights, and invest in emerging science.

United States Senator (Republican)

Neil Mavis is a Wi-Fi architect from Tulsa who says he was inspired to run for the U.S. Senate after seeing reports of Congressmen selling stock shortly before the coronavirus pandemic shocked the market. As an underdog candidate, Mavis says he hopes that he can raise issues that might otherwise be ignored. Mavis says he also wants to expand gun rights, do away with warrantless searches, do away with civil asset forfeiture, and strengthen protections for property rights.

Sen. Jim Inhofe has been in the United States Senate since 1994. He serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He says he is committed to rebuilding the American military to address growing threats from our enemies. Inhofe says he believes that the country should build a wall at the southern border to stop illegal immigration from Mexico and he introduced the Asylum Abuse Reduction Act, which requires migrants to declare asylum at embassies in Mexico or Canada before they can enter the United States. Inhofe says he believes many areas like healthcare and education are better left to the state level rather than legislating it from a federal level.

  • John Tompkins

Dr. John Tompkins is an orthopedic surgeon from Oklahoma City but has had little time to campaign. As a Naval reservist, he was deployed to New York City in early April to help with the influx of COVID-19 patients.

JJ Stitt is a farmer and gun shop owner in Kingfisher who says he is the strongest Second Amendment candidate to ever come forward. He is a 17-year veteran of law enforcement and served on the Internet Crimes Against Children Federal Task Force. In addition to fighting to protect the Second Amendement, Stitt says he supports building a wall along the southern U.S. border, and is pro-life.

United States Representative- District 01 (Democrat)

Kojo Asamoa-Caesar is a first-generation American who went on to study law at the College of William & Mary. After graduating, Asamoa-Caesar became a kindergarten teacher in Tulsa and was named ‘Teacher of the Year’ in his second year of teaching. Asamoa-Caesar says he wants to enact universal childcare, eliminate tuition at public colleges, cancel all student loan debt, and achieve universal healthcare for all Americans. In the House, he says he wants to strengthen DACA and honor all tribal treaties, rejoin the Paris Agreement, and transition to 100% renewable energy in the future.

Mark A. Keeter is a businessman and a lawyer who says he wants to fight waste and fraud at all levels of government. Keeter says he wants to fight to ensure that all Americans have affordable insurance, reduce prison sentences for non-violent offenders, and cut government waste. He says as a representative, he would fight for intelligent border control that doesn’t hurt our allies.

United States Representative – District 02 (Republican)

Joseph Silk, a conservative state senator, says he believes he can better serve Oklahomans in Washington, D.C. Silk says he wants to require the federal government to create a balanced budget without increasing taxes and fees on hard-working citizens. He agrees with building a wall at the southern border and securing any other entry points. Silk says he wants to abolish abortion, and says the Christian church has a duty to engage in and influence the government.

Markwayne Mullin was first elected to serve in Congress in 2012 and is currently serving his fourth term in office. He currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and sits on the Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change, the Subcommittee on Health, and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Mullin says he continually fights for business owners across the country by pushing for reforms to tax codes, ending heavy-handed regulations and rein in spending. He says Americans should have affordable and quality healthcare and favors market-based and patient-centered reforms. Mullin says the government must start charting a course toward balancing the budget.

Rhonda Hopkins is a nursing assistant with the Cherokee Nation and says she felt the need to run for Congress because she believes lawmakers are turning a blind eye to Social Security. Hopkins says she wants to see Social Security turned into a trust fund which would allow Americans to become the owner of their own Social Security account. She says it would also allow recipients to leave Social Security to anyone when they die.

United States Representative – District 04 (Democrat)

David R. Slemmons grew up in Nevada and decided to join the military as a conscientious objector in 1971. He was sent to Alaska and earned an FBI file for his participation in public demonstrations against the Vietnam War. Slemmons eventually took a job at the University of Oklahoma and became heavily involved in the local theater scene. As a representative, Slemmons says he wants to provide quality healthcare and education for all, while protecting the environment for future generations. He says he has marched for equal rights for all and plans to fight for everyone in Congress.

Mary Brannon won the Democratic primary in 2018 but was defeated by incumbent Tom Cole in the general election. She says she is running for Congress because she wants to protect veterans from organizations that want to privatize the VA, she wants to stop cutting Social Security and Medicare and make the richest 2% of Americans pay their fair share. Brannon says she also wants to fight for affordable health care and lower drug costs for Oklahomans.

John D. Argo says he wants to protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans, while also targeting medical insurance. Argo says he wants to create a lawful and level government -regulated system where insurance policies can truly be used to protect and cover Americans.

United States Representative – District 04 (Republican)

Trevor Sipes says he fully supports legal immigration and wants to work to reform the current immigration system. Sipes also says that he opposes Common Core education and supports reforms and upgrades to our health insurance and Medicare system. He says he also wants to work with current representatives to bring as many manufacturing jobs back to the United States as possible.

Rep. Tom Cole was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and he currently serves on the Appropriations Committee and Rules Committee. Cole says plans to continue fighting for a strong national defense and balancing the budget to pay down the national debt. He says he supports legislation that would make changes to Social Security for the next generation of recipients, while leaving the current system in place for those who planned their retirements around it. Cole also helped pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2017, which lowered individual income tax rates and lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent.

  • Gilbert O. Sanders

Gilbert O. Sanders grew up in Oklahoma and graduated from Oklahoma State University. After his graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant with the U.S. Air Force. After being stationed in Vietnam to set up the Vietnamese version of the U.S. Air Force’s Squadron Officer School, he transferred to the U.S. Army and was assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. Since he had a master’s degree in psychology, he was assigned to develop the first treatment center for substance abuse in a combat zone of Vietnam. After obtaining his doctorate, Sanders began working at a federal prison in El Reno and created the first comprehensive drug treatment program at a maximum-security federal correctional institution.

James Taylor has been a U.S. History teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Oklahoma City since 2014 and he also serves as the Senior Pastor of Christ’s Church in Norman. Taylor says he will fight to end federal mandates on education and give power back to local school boards and parents. When it comes to the economy, he says he wants to remove barriers to economic growth domestically and will fight to insure a fair playing field for small businesses. He also says he will fight against corporate welfare.

United States Representative – District 05 (Democrat)

Tom Guild went on to earn a political science degree from the University of Oklahoma and a law degree from Southern Methodist University. He became a teacher at the University of Central Oklahoma after graduation. Guild says he is the only candidate who supports Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, a living wage, the Protecting the Power to Organize Act, and limiting the power of the president to start new wars without the approval of Congress.

Kendra Horn, a fifth generation Oklahoman, is currently serving in her first term in Congress. Horn runs two nonprofits focused on developing leadership skills and encouraging women to run for public office, and she has also worked in the aerospace industry and as an attorney. Horn says she is fighting to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare by holding insurance companies accountable, to expand job training programs, create a comprehensive infrastructure plan to fix crumbling roads and bridges, and find new opportunities for rural investment.

United States Representative- District 05 (Republican)

  • Charles Tuffy Pringle

Charles ‘Tuffy’ Pringle says he wants to work to bring pharmaceutical companies back to the United States and stop the government from intruding into the personal lives of citizens. He specifically says his life has been affected by the Dodd-Frank Act, and says he wants to work to repeal it.

Michael Ballard served in the United States Army and served in Iraq during the War on Terror. When he was with the Oklahoma National Guard, he helped train troops on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan. Ballard says he supports the push for a wall at the southern border and believes in a free market, adding that high taxes and regulations hamper the growth of the economy. When it comes to education, Ballard says he supports school vouchers and home schooling. If elected, Ballard says he will not serve more than three terms in the House of Representatives.

Stephanie Bice was elected to the Oklahoma State Senate in 2014 and served for two years as Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Chair of Senate Finance Committee. Bice is well-known for overhauling the state’s liquor laws. In her bid for Congress, Bice says she wants to enforce strong border protections with a wall, additional border agents and technology. She says she wants to work to find a way to address high prescription drug costs while also supporting funding for vocational schools and training programs to expand career options for Oklahomans.

Terry Neese is a successful businesswoman who was awarded the Enterprising Women Legacy Award and the National Women Business Owners Corporation Leadership Award in 2013. In Congress, Neese says she wants to pass long-overdue reforms to simplify our nation’s tax code and cut burdensome regulations on business owners. Neese says her top priority would be helping President Trump fund the border wall along the U.S.- Mexico border. She says she wants to completely repeal Obamacare and replace it with a system that cuts healthcare costs, expands access to quality-care and protects Medicare for seniors.

Miles V. Rahimi served with the U.S. Navy for eight years and now wants to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rahimi says he supports putting an end to trade deals and foreign worker visa programs, putting an end to chain migration, securing the border, and stopping the ‘anchor baby’ phenomenon. Rahimi says he will fight to cut off the supply of opioids from Mexico and get federal funding for programs that help people recover from addiction. He says he also supports setting up a two-term limit for U.S. senators and a three-term limit for representatives.

David Hill is a successful businessman who owns and operates MAR-K, a parts manufacturer for classic automobiles and trucks. He also co-founded the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Hill says he will work to advance President Trump’s vision to put Americans to work, protect the borders, restore infrastructure and roll back the burdensome regulations on industries. When it comes to healthcare, Hill says he wants to reform the system so Americans can choose their doctor, afford health insurance, and enjoy healthcare without spending a fortune.

Shelli Landon is a songwriter, harpist, pianist, and recording artist who is now setting her sights on the U.S. House of Representatives. Landon says she is in favor of constructing a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, but disagrees that taxpayer-funded public education should be guaranteed through college. Landon says she supports mandatory minimum sentences for violent crimes and strongly disagrees with the legalization of recreational marijuana. She says she also disagrees that sexual orientation should be a protected class in non-discrimination laws.

Janet Barresi ran a successful dental practice for 24 years and became the Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction from 2011 to 2015. Barresi says she supports building a wall along the southern border, banning Sanctuary Cities, and closing loopholes that incentivize coyotes who traffic immigrants across the border. Barresi says Congress must adopt a balanced budget that negates a deficit each year and pays down the national debt. She says she also supports eliminating the United States Department of Education and eliminating burdensome federal education regulations.

Jake A. Merrick has spent 20 years in ministry and is a business owner. Merrick says he believes the tax code needs to be updated and supports the Fair Tax bill. He says he supports a border wall and believes there is a solution for those who remain undocumented in the country. In addition to bringing the free market into healthcare, Merrick says he wants to see incentives offered for increased physical fitness programs and nutritional programs.

State Questions

State Question 802 would expand Medicaid across Oklahoma. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government is responsible for paying for 90% of the costs associated with expanding Medicaid and the state is responsible for the other 10%.

While critics argue that expanding Medicaid would cost the state more money, supporters say it would play a big role in providing healthcare to those in need and saving rural hospitals.

In addition to these races, officials say there are dozens of other local county and state races that will appear on the ballot.

To see the races for each county, visit the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website.

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