Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt defeats Democrat Joy Hofmeister

Nov 8, 2022, 8:06 AM | Updated: 8:25 pm
Joy Hofmeister, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, waves to supporters as she arrives on h...

Joy Hofmeister, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, waves to supporters as she arrives on her campaign tour bus, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt held off a tougher-than-expected challenge to his reelection on Tuesday, defeating Democrat Joy Hofmeister despite millions of dollars in attack ads against him.

Stitt, 49, was aided in part by a late infusion of advertisements from the Republican Governor’s Association that linked Hofmeister to President Joe Biden, who lost every one of the state’s 77 counties in the 2020 presidential election and remains unpopular in the state. The ads also criticized Hofmeister, the state’s superintendent of public schools who switched parties to run against Stitt, for supporting a series of tax increases in 2018 that helped fund pay raises for teachers.

Hofmeister, 58, had been blasting Stitt on the campaign trail for his voucher-style plan to divert public education money to private schools, an issue that concerned voters in deep-red rural swathes of the state with few private-school options for students.

But Stitt, a wealthy mortgage company owner who dumped nearly $2 million of his own money into his campaign in the closing weeks, told voters he was making progress on his promise of four years ago to improve the state’s low rankings in many quality-of-life indicators. The loans to his campaign boosted his total fundraising haul to more than $10 million, more than triple the $3.1 million raised by Hofmeister.

He boasted of record-level state savings and funding for public schools under his watch, and the state’s rapid emergence from pandemic-related closures that helped the economy rebound quickly and keep the state’s unemployment rate low.

“The turnaround that you elected me to do, it is working,” Stitt told a crowd of more than 300 gathered at the Crossroads megachurch on Oklahoma City’s south side for a rally last week with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. A separate rally was held with Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin in Tulsa.

Jessica Perez, 46, cast her ballot Tuesday for Stitt at Oklahoma Christian University and said his oversight of the state during the pandemic appealed to her.

“It didn’t make sense to me that you could go to Home Depot, but not to church,” Perez said. “I believe he’s an effective leader. What he says he’s going to do, he does.”

Stitt also survived a barrage of blistering attack ads from dark-money groups, which don’t have to report their donors and spent millions since the June primary hammering his school-voucher plan. Other ads highlighted his mass release of prisoners and a series of scandals in his administration, including a lucrative no-bid contract with a barbecue restaurant, misspent pandemic relief funds for education and his plans to build a new state mansion.

The dark-money attacks on Stitt and other media boosting Hofmeister followed ongoing feuds Stitt has engaged in with many of the 39 federally recognized Native American tribes, another issue Hofmeister hits hard on the campaign trail.

Independent Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former Republican state senator, and Libertarian Natalie Bruno of Edmond also were running on Tuesday’s gubernatorial ballot.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


              Joy Hofmeister, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, waves to supporters as she arrives on her campaign tour bus, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma Gov. Kevin State, left, addresses a campaign rally with his wife, Sarah Stitt, right, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Joy Hofmeister, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, waves to supporters as she arrives on her campaign tour bus, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma Gov. Kevin State, left, addresses a campaign rally with his wife, Sarah Stitt, right, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Joy Hofmeister, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma governor, waves to supporters as she arrives on her campaign tour bus, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              Oklahoma Gov. Kevin State, left, addresses a campaign rally with his wife, Sarah Stitt, right, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
            
              FILE - Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister delivers a report on Epic Charter Schools during a news conference, June 21, 2022, in Oklahoma City. Hofmeister is running for governor in the Nov. 8 election. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
            
              FILE - Oklahoma Gov. Kevin State addresses a campaign rally Nov. 1, 2022, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

AP

FILE - Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, center, who founded local newspaper Apple Daily, is arrest...
Associated Press

Hong Kong publisher’s national security trial postponed

HONG KONG (AP) — The trial of a Hong Kong newspaper publisher who was arrested in a crackdown on a pro-democracy movement was postponed Thursday after the territory’s leader asked China to effectively block him from hiring a British defense lawyer. Jimmy Lai, 74, faces a possible life sentence if convicted under a national security […]
21 hours ago
Audience members listen as President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Tribal Nations Summit at t...
Associated Press

Biden pledges new commitments, respect for tribal nations

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to give Native Americans a stronger voice in federal affairs, promising at the first in-person summit on tribal affairs in six years that he will bolster tribal consultations, inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making and funding for communities struggling with the impacts of climate change. Biden […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

El Salvador journalists sue spyware maker in US court

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Journalists from an investigative news outlet in El Salvador sued NSO Group in United States federal court Wednesday after the Israeli firm’s powerful Pegasus spyware was detected on their iPhones. In January, the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, an internet watchdog, reported that dozens of journalists and human rights […]
21 hours ago
FILE - People hold signs and shout slogans before the cancellation of the Los Angeles City Council ...
Associated Press

LAPD seeks Reddit search warrant over leaked council remarks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have sought a search warrant for the Reddit website as they try to identify the person who leaked a racist discussion between Los Angeles City Council members and a powerful labor leader, causing a scandal that has rocked the community and shaken faith in its lawmakers. The LAPD is trying […]
21 hours ago
FILE - AWS CEO Andy Jassy discusses a new initiative with the NFL during AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las ...
Associated Press

Amazon CEO says company won’t take down antisemitic film

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday the company does not have plans to stop selling the antisemitic film that gained notoriety recently after Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out an Amazon link to it. Pressure has been mounting on Amazon to discontinue sale of the film, called “Hebrews to Negroes: […]
21 hours ago
This photo provided on Dec. 1, 2022, by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim J...
Associated Press

North Korea’s Kim calls for meeting to review state affairs

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a major political conference before year’s end where he’s expected to address his increasingly tense relations with Washington and Seoul over the expansion of his nuclear and missile programs. North Korea’s state media said Thursday that Kim presided over a meeting of […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt defeats Democrat Joy Hofmeister