AFR's Steve Thompson Touts Rural Oklahoma's Pivotal Influence Over State's Election ResultsWed, 29 Aug 2018 16:49:35 CDT
The parties have spoken and with that both the Democrats and Republicans have set their tickets for the upcoming General Election in November. As of Tuesday evening of this week, Oklahomans cast their votes electing Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt to carry the GOP’s flag this fall when he will face Democratic Nominee and former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays reached out to Steve Thompson, director of government affairs for American Farmers & Ranchers, for his reaction to the results of last night’s upset for many of the state’s incumbents and longtime establishment leaders. You can listen to that complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Democracy is great… and it’s even better when you have one candidate from OKC and one from Tulsa and rural Oklahoma gets to be very relevant,” Thompson said. “I think that’s the main takeaway here, is that the rural Oklahoma vote mattered.”
The first-time political newcomer, Kevin Stitt, won 55 percent of the vote with 164,816 cast in his favor compared to Mick Cornett’s 45 percent, with 137,261 votes cast for the former Oklahoma City mayor. Of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, Stitt took 68- the large majority of which would be easily considered rural areas. Thompson says Stitt had shown a particular proactive willingness to meet with rural communities throughout his campaign leading up to Tuesday’s Run-off Election and believes that to have helped clinch the more than 27,000 vote lead that secured his victory over his opponent that has long been a fixture in Oklahoma politics. The candidates’ have been used to illustrate the stark contrasts between establishment politics and a younger group of fresh blood that voters seem to be shifting in favor of; a common theme that permeated other races in this cycle as well.
“I can’t remember an election season that the spirit of the legislative session and the rancor from that towards the incumbents really continued all throughout this election season and we have a lot of new faces headed to the State Capital one way or another,” Thompson observed, adding that he will spend the next several weeks ahead of the General Election connecting and educating those candidates backed by AFR members about the issues that concern them to ensure their voice is heard once they reach office. “The rural vote has been so critical up to this point and we’ve got their attention. So, it’s a critical time to get our message across so that when they get to the State Capital, they are aware of the issues.”
Thompson also shared during his visit that he, too, is seeking office as AFR’s next president. Terry Detrick has announced his plans to retire from the post at the organization’s next convention in February.
“I have gone ahead and thrown my hat in the ring. I have worked with the organization for the last seven years in all facets of that,” he said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to continue on there in a little different role, but I’m very excited for the future of AFR and would like to continue helping our members in any way possible.”
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