Stitt Defeats Cornett For GOP Governor Nomination
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt is the Republican nominee for the Oklahoma gubernatorial election in November.
Stitt will face Democratic candidate and former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Libertarian candidate Chris Powell.
Starting with a loaded pack of 10 in the Republican primary, the choice was whittled down to former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Stitt.
The race for the nomination became fraught after television ads attacked Stitt’s business practices and Cornett’s loyalties to then Republican candidate for president Donald Trump.
Cornett and Stitt faced off in a News On 6/News 9 debate in early August and discussed a range of topics the next governor may face.
But for some Republican voters in Oklahoma City, President Donald Trump and his policies had little effect on who they vote for in Tuesday's GOP runoff for governor.
Voter Marveta Williams, an 80-year-old retiree, said she voted for Cornett but does not like Trump and wishes "he wouldn't be quite so vulgar."
Voter Janet Cook said she also voted for Cornett and that someone who aligns themselves with Trump is not likely to get her vote. Cook, a 63-year-old interior designer, said Trump is doing some good things but displays "poor manners."
Unfortunately for Cornett, other Republican voters across the state did not share similar views and Stitt prevailed.
Stitt believes his message of being a political outsider pushed him to victory.
"We obviously worked our tail off. We put a great staff together, a great team, we traveled the state. But, you know, we have the right message. People are tired on the political insiders. They know that nothing really is going to change if we keep electing the same people so I think that's why we won this race. I think that's why we'll win in November as well," Stitt said.
After thanking his supporters at a watch party in Tulsa, Stitt took to Twitter to thank voters.
THANK YOU! On behalf of my entire family, my staff, and all our volunteers and supporters I want to say thank you for your vote, and for helping us move on to the General Election in November. Tonight was another big step forward. Now, it’s time to go win in November! pic.twitter.com/AeHdAicYpa— Kevin Stitt (@StittforGov) August 29, 2018
Cornett, said he did everything he could to get support from across the state, including Green Country.
“Tulsans embraced our campaign and gave me every opportunity to hear what I had to say. I know we fell short in votes but I kinda felt like they were always listening and encouraging and I can’t tell you how impressed I am with the city leadership and the things that they’re doing there. Tulsa’s got a great future ahead of it. I can’t wait to come back to the Gathering Place when it opens in another week or two, and I’ll be a part of it just like everybody else,” he said.
The former four-term mayor of Oklahoma City said in his concession speech that he won't run for another office and that he'll wake up Wednesday and figure out what is next.
The general election is on November 6.
Edmondson released a statement saying:
I congratulate Kevin on winning his party’s nomination. Now that the runoff elections are behind us, I am hopeful he will join me in offering real solutions to the very real problems in our state.
"As I’ve talked to everyday Oklahomans in every corner of the state, they tell me that they’re tired of political slogans and mudslinging. They tell me they want better schools. They want access to good hospitals. They want services for our veterans. They want leadership at our capitol.
“We can’t afford four more years of the same flawed policies and misguided schemes that have pulled us to the bottom in so many important areas like education, health care and mental health.
“It’s time for a governor who is willing to do the hard work and make the tough decisions. It’s time for a governor who understands that open, transparent government is good government. It’s time for a governor who stands up for the people, not the special interests. It’s time for a common-sense governor who can make our state work again.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.