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.


Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

7 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

7 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

9 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

10 days ago

(Pexels photo)...

Associated Press

Baby in Kansas City, Missouri, dies after her mother mistakenly put her in an oven

An infant in Missouri died when her mother mistakenly put her down for a nap in an oven, a prosecutor said Saturday.

10 days ago

Former Arizona Department of Corrections boss Charles Ryan received probation on Feb. 9, 2024. (AP ...

Associated Press

Former Arizona corrections boss sentenced to probation over armed 2022 standoff with police

Former Arizona Corrections Director Charles Ryan was sentenced Friday to probation for his no-contest plea to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a 2022 armed standoff at his Tempe home.

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt defeats Democrat Joy Hofmeister