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Oklahoma! How Did We Forget Oklahoma!
I'm blaming Joe Biden.
Yr Editrix had a really good question in the Chatcave: "Turns out there's two senate races in Oklahoma, and the Democrats are both women named Horn. I feel like I should have known that before three days before the election, DOK." And indeed, it appears that the spreadsheet of Senate elections this year did not have "Oklahoma" checked off.
Man, I am disappointed in that spreadsheet, because it really let me down. I bet it's Joe Biden's fault.
But yes indeedy, there are two US Senate races in Oklahoma this year. One is the regular cycle election in which Sen. James Lankford, who is TERRIBLE, is running for reelection to a second term, and the other is a special election to fill out the remaining four years in the term of senior Sen. James Inhofe, who announced in March that he would retire at the end of the year. At least we managed to cover that .
Also too, there's the very tight race for governor, where incumbent Republican Kevin Stitt is facing a very strong challenge from Democrat Joy Hofmeister, the state's superintendent of public education. Hofmeister had been a Republican herself until last year, and good for her for getting out.
Hofmeister won national attention last month when she pointed out in a debate that WELL ACTUALLY, KEVIN, Oklahoma has higher rates of violent crime than either New York or California. Stitt has been such a jerk to Indigenous Americans in Oklahoma that the state's five largest tribes endorsed Hofmeister, the first time that Oklahoma tribes have gotten directly involved in a governor's race.
Hofmeister's campaign against Stitt is doing well enough that both the New York Times and the Washington Post have included Oklahoma in their "here are some races to watch for possible upsets" articles, even. The Oklahoma City Oklahoman reports today that polling in the governor's race is all over the place, with some polls showing Stitt with a big lead and others showing Hofmeister ahead, and with tons of money pouring into the state for ads, the race may very well be a tossup.
Stitt has taken to saying his supporters shouldn't believe the polls, so that's encouraging for Hofmeister. That said, Stitt has an assload of his own money to throw at himself, and recently loaned his own campaign $2 million, which is not exactly secretary of education money. Hofmeister has been making that a talking point in stump speeches, saying that Oklahoma needs "a governor who is not self-dealing or known for his cronyism or his corruption," which is a good line, too. We'll see Tuesday whether she can pull off a Democratic win in such a red red state!
Now, let's get back to the Senate races and see whether either of the Democratic Horns can hook voters. Madison Horn, the Democrat running against Lankford, is a cybersecurity professional and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Her campaign site lists reproductive health, energy innovation, and information integrity as some top issues for her, the page includes a photo of a massive DC demonstration in favor of protecting bodily autonomy, with no fussy blurring of a sign reading "fuck off," so we like that.
Unfortunately, Lankford has held a nearly 20-point lead in the polls since September, even in nonpartisan polling, so Madison Horn may not be pulling off an upset Tuesday.
In the other Oklahoma US Senate race though, former US Rep. Kendra Horn (D) is running a strong campaign against Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R), who has made it into Wonkette a few times for being generally awful. Horn knows from upset elections; in 2018 she flipped a seat in a mostly Republican district to win a term in Congress, although she narrowly lost the seat in 2020 because Joe Biden didn't cheat in that election.
Horn has complained that Mullin has been spending a hell of a lot of time fundraising and campaigning outside Oklahoma and acting like he should just be given the seat for having an R next to his name. That may be the reality in Oklahoma most years, but some recent polling shows her within six points of Mullin, an improvement in recent weeks. Mullin managed to be a jerk about her calls for at least one debate, even as he insists he's running a positive campaign, imagine that!
“She’s just trying to use us to get her attention,” Mullin recently told Tulsa’s Fox 23. “There’s no point in me just standing up there to give her a platform to attack us. We run a very clean and positive campaign. You’ve never seen a negative ad come from us. So what’s the upside of this?”
Gosh, what a positive guy!
Mullin has always irritated us; shortly after he was first elected to Congress, he got Wonkette's attention by claiming he'd spotted "physically fit" people shopping with an EBT card, proving that there is no real poverty in America. He also claimed — in 2013! — that increasing the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour would lead to $20 hamburgers at McDonalds. More recently, Mullin complained after January 6 that metal detectors in Congress are tyranny, because the Founders were good with members shooting each other we guess. Then in September of last year, his brilliant plan to do his very own A-Team rescue of Americans in Afghanistan was thwarted when neither the Pentagon nor the US Embassy in Tajikistan would support his harebrained, illegal scheme.
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