- Associated Press - Saturday, June 30, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma voters are gearing up for another round of elections after turning out in large numbers for primary balloting that left some big wins for teachers and marijuana advocates but also saw some losses for incumbents.

Among winners in Tuesday’s primary were dozens of schoolteachers campaigning for seats in the Legislature who advanced to runoff elections or won outright. They continued momentum following a walkout in April when educators demanded more funding for public education and teacher salaries.

Supporters of medical marijuana also were successful as voters easily approved a state question authorizing the use of medical marijuana.

But six incumbent Republican lawmakers lost their jobs and others were cast into runoffs on Aug. 28. And Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, an early favorite to replace term-limited GOP Gov. Mary Fallin, was defeated.

Runoffs will decide the final slate of candidates for the Nov. 6 general election.

Here’s a look at what happened and what’s to come:


- Teachers: Almost 100 schoolteachers and administrators filed as candidates in this year’s round of elections and at least 55 won their races in the primary or advanced to runoffs in August. Many of them were motivated by the Republican-led Legislature’s cuts to funding for public schools in recent years and nearly a decade without a pay raise, funding issues that prompted thousands of educators to walk off the job in April - a walkout that coincided with the filing period for this year’s round of elections.

- Medical Marijuana: Voters easily approved State Question 788, which will allows physicians to approve medical marijuana licenses for people to legally grow, keep and use cannabis, making Oklahoma the 30th state in the nation to allow cannabis to be used as medicine. The Oklahoma Department of Health has said it is developing a regulatory framework to implement the referendum. Application information will be available on the agency’s website by July 26 and applications will be accepted by Aug. 25. Fallin said Friday a special legislative session won’t be necessary, although she warned before the election that the medical marijuana proposal was written too broadly and would essentially allow recreational use of the plant.

- Democrats: More Oklahoma Democrats voted in the primary than turned out for the 2016 presidential preference primary and easily nominated former Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson in the gubernatorial primary over ex-state Sen. Connie Johnson. Edmondson served 16 years as the state’s attorney general before running for the state’s open governor’s seat in 2010, losing the primary race against then Lt. Gov. Jari Askins by less than 1 percent.


- Todd Lamb: Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, the early favorite to win the GOP nomination to replace Fallin, placed third in the 10-candidate race for the Republican nomination and was eliminated. A former state senator and U.S. Secret Service agent, Lamb was the establishment pick but failed to make the runoff that will pit former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett against Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt.

- Opponents of education funding: Several GOP incumbents who voted against tax hikes for teacher pay raises were either ousted from office or pulled into a runoff against a fellow GOP opponent. Of 10 “no” voters in the House who sought re-election, two were defeated and seven others ended up in a runoff against fellow Republicans. Four other Republican incumbents also were defeated.


- Republican nominations: The GOP nomination for governor tops several GOP runoffs for party nominees for several statewide seats. Runoffs are also scheduled for the GOP nominations for lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor and inspector, state superintendent of education, labor commissioner and a seat on the Corporation Commission.

- Other party nominations: Democrats chose their party’s nominees for most statewide offices in the primary but will decide the nominee for a seat on the Corporation Commission. Registered Libertarians will choose their party’s nominee for governor in the runoff.

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