They say primary run-off elections historically have low voter turnout in Oklahoma. That makes mining for votes even more critical for any candidates who find their names on an August ballot. It might be that in addition to asking for votes, candidates should ask voters to set a calendar reminder for Aug. 23 with a strong Call To Action.
THE OKLAHOMA PRIMARY RUNOFF IS TUESDAY, AUG. 23.
The two Republicans in the State House District 36 runoff race are crisscrossing Eastern Oklahoma County asking for Republicans to vote for them just one more time. As there were no candidates from other political parties who filed for the seat, this race won’t be on the November General Election ballot, when all registered voters can vote for statewide and local candidates. In other words, the runoff voters will decide who will represent the district for at least the next two years at 23rd and Lincoln.
This is a new legislative seat, or new to the area. House District 36 used to be NE Oklahoma, however, due to population shifts revealed in the 2020 Census and a subsequent redistricting effort at the legislature, it’s now a new-to-us district featuring an open seat. The district boundary frames most of Eastern Oklahoma County, along with a slice of northern Cleveland County. Most voters in the area have been in House District 96, which included east Edmond. With the populous suburb of Edmond carved out of this district – Choctaw, Harrah, Jones, Newalla, and Luther are the small cities and towns of the district of 38,603 residents who are 76% white, 14% Native American, 6% Hispanic, 4% Black, and 2% Asian.
Who are the candidates for HD 36?
The retired Oklahoma City police detective with the well-funded campaign from Newalla, George, 54, received 1,985 votes on June 28. Raglin, 62, the relatively unknown small business owner from Harrah received 1,623 votes. With neither getting 50% of the votes cast, they advanced to the runoff.
Both candidates are political newcomers although George served for ten years as the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police president, and touts his leadership experience. George established his campaign for the office in May 2021 and started receiving donations. “Unfortunately raising as much money as possible is a necessary part of any successful campaign,” he said. Leading up to the primary, George sent a weekly mailer to targetted voters, at a cost of about $5,000 each, he said. Those mailers are expected to return in the three weeks left of the runoff campaign.
George’s pre-primary report filed in mid-June showed total campaign contributions of $89,225 with several maximum $5,000 contributions contributed by the Oklahoma City and Norman Fraternal Order of Police PACS, as well as the Oklahoma Association of General Contractors. George spent most of his campaign money on signs, mailers, and a $1,000 monthly consulting fee to CAMP, the firm operated by Fount Holland that also represents Rep. Kevin Wallace, State House Speaker Charles McCall, State Superintendent candidate Ryan Wallace, US Senate candidate Markwayne Mullin, and Congresswoman Stephanie Bice, according to their website.
Raglin points out her grassroots campaign came within 300 votes of George in the primary. She reported $11,842 in campaign contributions, mostly from individuals in and around Harrah.
Raglin has received endorsements from two of her primary opponents, Charles DeFuria and Wade Roberts. Both cited Raglin’s faith as a choice for the endorsement. “I have chosen Anita J. Raglin to endorse and support for House District 36. Anita, is Christ-centered with a biblical view on life. She is convicted in her conservative values and stands for the Constitution as it was written. This is her District and she aims to improve roads, schools, and the overall way of life for the people of the district,” said Roberts.
George received an endorsement from the Cleveland County Sheriff.
“We need law & order legislators now, more than ever. This is why I am enthusiastically endorsing John George for state House. John George has an impeccable record as a police officer and F.O.P. leader, and he will always stand up against efforts to defund the police and will make public safety a top priority,” said Sheriff Chris Amason.
Both candidates say they are conservative Republicans and each pledge to defend the Constitution, lower taxes and fight for the district.
They are both learning about the concerns and issues as they knock on doors and campaign across the district that encompasses Eastern Oklahoma County and part of Cleveland County. George notes that residents are concerned about what is going on in Washington DC, particularly with the economy.
“With the woke left attacking patriots, veterans and law enforcement across America, I believe my lifetime of experience as a police officer has never been more needed. I intend to fight against the cancel culture mentality that grips our country today,” said George.
Raglin notes the area of Eastern Oklahoma County, a rural area in close proximity to Oklahoma City, have been ignored by leaders for too long. The district falls completely in the controversial new Kickapoo Turnpike that runs through the middle of the district, including the contentious proposed extension in Newalla and Norman. Raglin notes the deteriorated condition of the roads that lead up to the Kickapoo, and wonders why the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was not better stewards of the county and local roads when they were building the new toll road. She says that makes it difficult for residents to get to work, and affects small businesses.
George sees the growth coming. “The district has to be prepared for the unprecedented growth. We must be preparing our schools, our roads, and infrastructure for this growth,” he said.
Editor’s Note: I have spent time with each candidate (which is more than I can say for the State Senate candidates! Call me!) They are working hard and are serious. They are personable, easy to talk to, and available to answer any question which is a dream of a reporter and a constituent! And I’m grateful both George and Raglin placed an ad in The Luther Register showing their support of community news, and willingness to invest in the community they want to represent at the State Capitol. One funny note, Raglin says she has lost about 18 pounds walking and campaigning this summer, which is an accomplishment since she repeatedly supports HD 36 restaurants! George works out at the gym early every morning, and tries to work in time for his bird dogs and has enjoyed meeting every voter. A proud dad of two adult daughters with his wife who is a police officer, George skipped campaigning the day before the June primary for a family birthday. But he made sure they all hit the polls the next day. Remember that CTA, vote again Aug 23. – dawn
August 23 Runoff
- Deadline to request Absentee ballot: August 8 at 5 PM
- Early Voting: Thursday, August 18, 8 AM – 6 PM, Friday, August 19, 8 AM – 6 PM, Saturday, August 20, 8 AM – 2 PM (NEW HOURS)
- Election Day voting: Aug 23, 7 AM – 7 PM