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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Superintendent of Education Joy Hofmeister is switching to the Democratic party in her bid to become the next governor of Oklahoma.

She says Governor Stitt’s mismanagement of the pandemic, which has killed over 10,000 Oklahomans, is a key reason she’s running.  

“I’ve been thinking about this for many, many months and I am very concerned about extremism in the Republican party that Kevin Stitt has hijacked in Oklahoma. I am focused on supporting children’s education and access to affordable and quality healthcare and stabilizing our infrastructure, particularly in rural Oklahoma,” Hofmeister said.

The news coming as a surprise to many Oklahoma politicians, including former Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb.

“Joy’s gonna be a serious candidate,” said Lamb, (R) Flashpoint commentator. “If she thought she could beat Kevin Stitt as a republican, she would not have switched parties.”

The Oklahoma Democratic Party is welcoming Hofmeister.

“We have a known progressive in former Senator Connie Johnson and now a moderate in Superintendent Hofmeister, it gives democrats a choice. And more than giving democrats a choice, it gives Oklahomans a choice,” said Alicia Andrews, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairwoman.

KFOR was denied an interview with the Oklahoma Republican Party instead being referred to a Facebook post— saying in part,

“I am not trying to start a fight here, but, surely I’m not the only one that views this as just one more way our state Chairman, John Bennett, has been absolutely correct?

I wonder, how many of our friends who are considered to be “moderate” Republicans have been supporting Hoffmeister? Were they only doing this because she has an “R” by her name?

My guess is, yes. So they are part of the problem and the reason someone like Hoffmeister is now challenging Governor Stitt as a Democrat. Just another fox that was let loose in the hen house, by Republicans.!!!”

Leslie NesSmith, Oklahoma Republican party Chief of Staff

Hofmeister responded to that post.

“The focus really needs to be on Oklahoma families and when we look at what has happened just in the last year, 10,000 Oklahomans have lost their lives,” Hofmeister said. “Children have bore the brunt of the disruption that came from a mismanaged pandemic response at the state level by Governor Stitt.”

Stitt’s campaign manager also released a statement—

“Under Governor Kevin Stitt’s leadership, the State has increased its funding of public education to historic highs and enacted another teacher pay raise all while lowering taxes and building the State’s largest savings account. Oklahomans across the state overwhelmingly support Stitt’s results-oriented, conservative leadership. After decades of politicians leaving us in last place, Stitt has already established a proven track record of progressing Oklahoma towards Top Ten in critical categories while protecting our freedoms and core values.”

Donelle Harder, campaign manager