All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Live election coverage

Lauren Capraro / Red Dirt Report
A Hillary Clinton supporter at Rockford Cocktail Den at a OK Democratic Party watch party.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – Red Dirt Report’s Heide Brandes and Tim Farley are covering events around the metro. The following are their updates.

9:40 p.m. (Brandes): Cathy Cummings, an outspoken opponent of State Question 777, was pleasantly stunned to learn that the "Right to Farm" bill did not pass.

"Oh, God, thank God!" she said. "This was the worst potential bill we had. It would have destroyed our state. My major concern of course was not polluting our water, polluting our air or destroying on our land.

"But I also do not believe that any industry should be free to run without regulation. Thank God it failed!"

Cummings' restaurant, Vito's, hosted one of the OK Democratic Party's watch parties tonight, where many anti-SQ 777 supporters were in attendance. (Lauren Capraro / Red Dirt Report)

9:15 p.m. (Farley): U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-Choctaw), after sweeping to victory in his re-election bid Tuesday, said congressional Republicans and Democrats must focus on overlapping concerns to make meaningful reforms.

Russell defeated former Oklahoma lawmaker Al McAffrey in a rematch of the 2014 general election.

Speaking to Red Dirt Report, Russell said national lawmakers must focus on core issues such as the economy, defense, immigration and education.

“We [Republicans] have to work across the aisle. We agree there are needs and problems and we need to focus on that and get the job done,” he said.

Russell said every congressman and every U.S. citizen agree the economy must improve and that national defense is a priority to protect the nation from terrorists.

“We all know immigration is a problem and we know education is a priority,” Russell said.

His win Tuesday is a clear sign that the fight must continue.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us and we have to do to reach out to all people. We have to get a handle on our spending and address the deficit, the wasteful spending that continues today,” he said.

Russell said the deficit could be a thing of the past if each congressman would eliminate $1 billion in wasteful spending.

“We would eliminate the annual deficit if each one of them did that,” the congressman said. “We need to keep pushing that theme.”

If a Hillary Clinton win occurs, Russell believes Congress’ work will be even more important. 

8:50 p.m. (Farley): Moments ago, U.S. Sen. James Lankford spoke to the GOP faithful and thanked them for their continued support.

“This has been a real family affair,” he said, pointing to his wife and two daughters who joined him on stage. “We have to fix the burdened areas of our government. Serving in Washington, D.C. and being a conservative is like being a termite in the Redwood Forest, meaning there is always something big to bring down. Everything in the federal government needs attention.”

Lankford said congressional Republicans will work to strengthen U.S. foreign policy and repeal Obamacare.

“People know best, not government,” he said. “We need to reset the tone of our nation and the direction we’re headed.”

In other congressional races Tuesday, all Oklahoma Republicans were winning big. Congressmen Steve Russell, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin were ahead with the preliminary results.

Gov. Mary Fallin congratulated the congressmen on their victories and predicted the GOP would retain its majorities in the state House and Senate.

(M. Tim Blake / Red Dirt Report)

8:40 p.m. (Brandes): Susan Boehrer, President of the Oklahoma Grape Growers Association, said the passage of State Question 792 proves that Oklahomans were tired of lagging behind other states when it came to the liquor laws.

"When this passes, our next step is to pull together and look at the two-year implementation of the law," she said. "We have to make sure every facet of the industry is supported, from the wine producers to the craft brewers."

Alex Weintz, spokesperson for "Yes on 792," said the passage of 792 was a long time coming in Oklahoma.

"Voters were ready to modernize beer and wine laws in Oklahoma," he said Weintz. "I think Oklahoma's realize the laws were holding the state back and were bad for consumers and bad for the economy, especially for craft brewers and wine producers."

Oklahoma Sen. Stephanie Bice has been an outspoken supporter of the measure since the beginning.

Susan Boehrer, president of the Oklahoma Grape Growers Associaton and Sen. Stephanie Bice. (Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report)

"I think this is a huge victory for Oklahoma," she said. 

8:10 p.m. (Brandes): Susan Boehrer, president of the Oklahoma Grape Growers Associaton, shares a toast with a friend at the state question 792 watch party.

8 p.m. (Brandes): Patrick Lively, president and founder of Anthem Brewing Co., weighs on results for state question 792 with Charles Stout, managing partner for Bricktown Brewery, where the 792 watch party is being held.

Preliminary results showed the state question was passing overwhelmingly in initial counts.

"I think the whole thing started with a ground swelling a public support," said Lively. "People are excited about modernizing aspects of our laws so we don't look different from Texas and Arkansas and states like that.

"We plan to continue to improve our alcohol laws."

(Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report)

7:55 p.m. (Farley): James Lankford is humbled and encouraged to win a full term in the U.S. Senate.

Lankford made his comments after entering the Republican watch party at Main Event Entertainment shortly after 7:30 p.m.

Lankford is the projected winner in a Senate race that had little competition for the former Oklahoma legislator.

With less than 2 percent of the votes in, Lankford was tabbed the winner in the Senate race against Democrat Mike Workman and Independent Sean Braddy.

The win gives Lankford and the Republican Party a chance to “refocus” their efforts on key issues such as Obamacare, duplication in government, the national budget and the deficit.

However, Lankford was hesitant to say how the GOP’s work would be affected by a Hillary Clinton win.

“There’s no way to guess how she will reach out. I don’t think it will be like Obama who didn’t work with Republicans or Democrats. So, if she wins, everything will be in the air.”

In other congressional races Tuesday, all Oklahoma Republicans were winning big. Congressmen Steve Russell, Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin were ahead with the preliminary results.

7:45 p.m. (Brandes): With over 30 precincts reporting and over 200,000 votes, preliminary results are at 67 percent for a Yes vote on State Question 792.

(Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report)

7:30 p.m. (Farley): Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said he’s not surprised Oklahoma’s seven electoral votes chose Republican Donald Trump.

Trump has been declared the winner in six other states including Kentucky and South Carolina.

Lamb, after entering the Republican watch party at Main Event Entertainment, said he expects a “long night” if Trump can exceed expectations in Florida, North Carolina and New Hampshire.

“The entire race is close,” said Lamb, who acknowledged he could be potential 2018 gubernatorial candidate. “It’s not in the back of my mind. It’s in the front of my mind.”

Despite Trump’s success in Oklahoma, Lamb said that doesn’t equate to other political successes in lower-level races.

“Oklahoma voters are very independent and vote for the man or woman they believe will do the best job,” he said.

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell was expected to join the watch party soon.

2:45 p.m. (Brandes): Ash Hall of north Oklahoma City, who voted Republican, said he was especially interested in State Question 792, which changes the laws governing alcohol sales and distribution in the state by allowing grocery stores and convenience stores to sell full-strength beer and wine seven days a week.

"I've lived in Oklahoma for a long time, and every time I leave the state, people talk about how backward we are with our alcohol laws," he said. "Then, you go to Arkansas, and they have stuff like refrigerated strong beer in the liquor stores or wine in the grocery stores. For our alcohol industry to be so over-regulated that it tells people how they can sell their product is ridiculous. We just need to modernize our laws to catch up with the rest of the country."

Hall said he voted no on State Question 777, the "Right to Farm” bill.

"Deregulating an industry to allow foreign companies in is a bad, bad idea," he said. 

8:30 a.m. (Brandes): Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford found himself at the back of a line of approximately 250 people waiting to vote. Although he was hesitant to predict an outcome of the presidential elections, he was anxious to see how the citizens would vote on the state questions.

"I think a lot of people found them to be confusing," he said. "They are written in a confusing way, and people want the facts. So they read the questions, but turn to see what people say the facts are."

U.S. Sen. James Lankford (R-OKC) and his wife Cindy wait in line at Precinct 139 to cast their vote. Like many others in Oklahoma City, Lankford faced an hour to two hour wait as lines wrapped around the building. (Heide Brandes / Red Dirt Report)

Lankford has been especially vocal about State Question 790, which he said would give Oklahomans more religious freedom. 

"It's not about the Ten Commandments at the State Capitol," he said. "Oklahoma added the separation during a time when there was a Catholic prejudice, and the reason was to prevent Catholic organizations to receive government benefits. This question would allow the state to partner with faith-based organizations and services, whether that be for helping the homeless or feeding the hungry." 

He added that the Ten Commandments reflect Oklahoma's history, which is why it could be allowed on state grounds while other monuments, like the Hindu "monkey god," would not be.

Heather Popowsky of Edmond voted early as well, but only spent about 30 minutes in line at her precinct. Although she was confident on whom she voted on for president, she said she was still confused on a few of the state questions.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK