Fallin coasts to win; Oklahoma schools chief loses

Fallin coasts to win; Oklahoma schools chief loses

By Tim Talley, Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 24, 2014 at 9:41 p.m.


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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin easily won the Republican primary Tuesday for a second term as Oklahoma's chief executive, but Superintendent of Education Janet Barresi lost the GOP primary badly in her bid for re-election as schools chief.

Barresi was the driving force behind the state's A-F grading scale for the performance of public schools, a system described as "not meaningful, useful or reliable," by former state Board of Education member Joy Hofmeister, who won the Republican nomination.

Following the balloting, Hofmeister said she will focus on bringing "respect for local control" back to local school districts.

"We will work to have that fit, urban, rural and suburban districts," she said.

Voter Byron Flippin, 61, of Newscastle, said he voted for Barresi in the GOP primary but bemoaned the negative campaign ads that characterized the race.

"It got a little nasty," Flippin said. "Little bit of mudslinging. Hate to see it come down to that."

Karen Wehling, 53, a teacher from of Newcastle, said she voted for Hofmeister in the superintendent's race and did not believe the candidates' campaign ads were overly negative.

"It seemed very heated, understandably," she said.

In the Democratic primary for the seat, John Cox and Freda Deskin will meet each other in an Aug. 26 runoff election. Four Democrats sought the party's nomination, including Jack Herron Jr. and Ivan Holmes.

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Fallin faced two pro-marijuana challengers in the primary, Chad Moody and Dax Ewbank. Both candidates have said they support the full legalization of cannabis.

Meanwhile, term-limited state Rep. Joe Dorman was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. Primary election winners will face each other and three independent candidates in the general election.

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Former Oklahoma House Speaker Todd Hiett won the winner-take-all Republican primary over state term-limited Sen. Cliff Branan for the statewide seat on the Corporation Commission being vacated by Patrice Douglas, who was cast into a runoff election for the open 5th Congressional District seat.

Hiett, who became the first GOP House speaker in 80 years when Republicans took over the House in 2004, and Branan were seeking a six-year term on the commission, which oversees oil and gas production, public utilities, pipelines, trucking and railroads. No Democrat or independent candidates filed to run for the seat.

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Republican John Doak was elected to a second term as Oklahoma's insurance commissioner.

Doak won another four-year term in the winner-take-all GOP primary contest. Doak defeated longtime insurance agent Bill Viner. No Democrats or independents ran for the position.

Several statewide elected officials in Oklahoma drew no opponent this cycle, including Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Treasurer Ken Miller. Races for lieutenant governor and commissioner of labor will be decided in November's general election.

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

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Tim Talley

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