November 8 was a good day for conservatives and Republicans.
Despite the gloomy, inaccurate polls from the liberal media, Republican businessman Donald J. Trump was elected president over liberal Democrat Hillary Clinton.
And Republicans held control of the U.S. House (238 to 193) and Senate (51 to 48 over the Democrats) and the Oklahoma House and Senate.
Trump got 290 electoral votes, compared to 232 for Mrs. Clinton. Preliminary results show Trump got 47.4 percent of the national vote (59,724,042) while Clinton got 47.7 percent (59,978,469). But even if Clinton got all of the third party votes in Ohio or North Carolina, she still would have lost to Trump in those states.
Trump won 29 states while Clinton won 20 plus Washington, D.C. Third party candidates may have hurt Mrs. Clinton more than Trump. Clinton lost by about 120,000 votes in Florida while Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got 206,000 votes in that state.
In Oklahoma, the Republican presidential ticket of Trump and Mike Pence got twice as many votes as the Democrat ticket of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine. Trump got 947,934 votes (65 percent) to 419,788 for Clinton (29 percent). The Libertarian ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld got 83,337 votes (almost 6 percent).
U.S. Sen. James Lankford, running for his first full term after winning a special election to fill the unexpired term of Sen. Tom Coburn, got 979,728 votes (68 percent) and won easily.
“I congratulate President-Elect Trump and Vice President-Elect Pence on a solid victory,” Lankford said in a statement last Wednesday. “The American people have spoken. It is clear that they are tired of top-down mandates from Washington, extreme executive overreach, excessive regulations and weak foreign policy. Now, with a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican in the White House, it is time to address the real concerns of the American people. Our nation is divided, but we must unite to solve the multitude of issues we face in our country.”
Republicans had a clean sweep in Congressional races as Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Rep. Frank Lucas, Rep. Tom Cole and Rep. Steve Russell all won with more than 57 percent of the vote. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, also a Republican, won re-election after the primary when the Independent candidate withdrew.
Tulsa will have two new state senators as Republicans Joe Newhouse (District 25) and Dave Rader (District 39) won open seats.
“We have had a very long campaign with three competitive races,” Rader said. “But the support we received across Senate District 39 never wavered. To those who invested their time, talent, and treasure—thank you. To the voters across the district who chose me as their next Senator – thank you. To my family, especially Janet, who remained resilient throughout the weary days – thank you.
“Our message continues to resonate with voters across the district and we are anxious to continue the process representing District 39 with pride. Great days are ahead.”
Oklahoma House Speaker-designate Charles A. McCall said House Republicans picked up a net gain of four seats following Tuesday’s election and increased their super-majority in the Oklahoma House of Representatives to 75-26, the largest Republican majority in state history.
“I am very proud of all of our Republican candidates, and I am looking forward to working with our new members during the coming months as we prepare to govern and do the work the citizens sent us here to do,” McCall said in a statement. “Oklahoma voters sent a clear message tonight that they trust Republicans to solve our state’s economic and education challenges. The voters have given House Republicans the privilege and responsibility of leading the greatest state in the nation toward prosperity. There are going to be differences of opinion on how best to solve those problems. But I believe we can rise above partisanship and work together to develop solutions that will make our citizens more prosperous and move Oklahoma forward.”
Incumbent Republican senators from Tulsa all won re-election, including Sen. Nathan Dahm (District 33), Sen. Gary Stanislawski (District 35), and Sen. Dan Newberry (District 37).
Newberry’s brother, Donald Newberry (also a Republican), was elected the new Tulsa County Court Clerk. Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado, a Republican, won his first full term as sheriff. District 2 County Commissioner Karen Keith, a Democrat, re-elected.
In one of the most hotly contested races in the state, Rep. John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, won by 54 percent. Bennett, one of the most conservative lawmakers in the state, was targeted by liberal groups because of his stand on moral issues.
Two other conservative Republican House members, Rep. Travis Dunlap of Bartlesville and George Faught of Muskogee, easily won re-election.
Oklahoma Democrats were predictably upset at the results, particularly the election of Trump.
“2016 was a Trump tornado and some very good Democratic candidates were its casualties,” Democrat Party Chairman Mark Hammons said in a statement. “This cycle shows that Oklahoma, as well as the nation, is ready for a change. The establishment elite and political power brokers have failed us all.
“What I fear and Oklahomans have not yet realized is that in Oklahoma, the establishment and the political power brokers the Republican Party.
“The question Oklahomans should ask is: Will the Republican Party heed the winds of change and go in a new direction? Will the Republicans stop favoring the elite and start taking care of grassroots people and their needs?”
Many teachers at Oklahoma’s public schools are upset about the failure of State Question 779, which would have raised state sales tax and given teachers a $5,000 a year raise.
Oklahoma is facing another budget shortfall due to lagging oil production.
Speaker-designate McCall has reorganized the staff structure in the Speaker’s Office and selected staff for the 56th Legislature.
McCall said the personnel budget for his office will be nearly half a million dollars less than the Speaker staff budget in 2004 and will also be significantly lower than that of any previous Speaker office during the last twelve years.
“As all Oklahomans are aware, the historic collapse of the oil and gas industry resulted in a $1.3 billion budget shortfall during the last legislative session,” said McCall, R-Atoka. “We also know the 2017 budget will present more challenges. Our economy is forcing families to tighten their belts, and they expect the same from those who they sent to the state Capitol to represent them. Our staff can be leaner and more efficient, and I believe we can still serve our citizens with excellence.”
The 56th Legislature convenes for “Organizational Day” on January 3 to formally elect House leadership and certify the members of the House of Representatives. The House reconvenes on February 6 to begin the legislative session.
On November 8, Oklahoma voters said no to new protection for farmers, no to returning the Ten Commandments to the State Capitol and no to raising state sales tax by one cent for public education.
“Until we are prepared to take bold action on behalf of public education, we will continue to suffer the consequences, as a greater and greater number of teachers leave the state or exit the profession altogether,” said State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who is under felony indictment for campaign violations. “I believe Oklahomans support teachers, but they did not want to relieve the Legislature of its responsibility. I will be back before state lawmakers this next legislative session, fighting for kids and a regionally competitive wage for teachers – one that reflects their work as highly trained professionals who change the lives of nearly 700,000 students every day.”
Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, was disappointed that State Question 777 (right to farm) was defeated.
“Although we are disappointed in today’s vote, we will not waver in our commitment to ensuring our family farmers and ranchers can continue to operate without fear from outside interest groups and provide consumers with choice when they go to the grocery store,” Buchanan said in a statement. “This has always been the charge of Oklahoma Farm Bureau and we will continue in this endeavor.”
“We are strongly disappointed voters decided against an amendment that would protect the very industry that we all depend on to feed and clothe our families,” said Terry Detrick, president of the American Farmers and Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union. “The opposition purposefully confused voters with misleading ads and false information. Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are resilient people and we will continue to work hard growing food and fiber while protecting the environment.”
Voter rejection of State Question 790, which would have repealed the Blaine Amendment from the Oklahoma Constitution, drew national reaction.
“We are going to keep knocking on every door until these ugly discriminatory laws are resigned to the dustbin of history,” said Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Senior Counsel Eric Baxter.
Thirty-six states adopted Blaine Amendments in the 1870s, fueled by anti-Catholic bigotry. Oklahoma State Question 790 was supported by Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma Archbishop Paul Coakley and former Governor Frank Keating.
Oklahoma votes did approve state questions that strengthened the death penalty; change illegal drug possession from a felony to a misdemeanor; created a County Community Safety Investment Fund; and liberalization of state liquor laws.
Thanks to passage of State Question 792, retailers like QuikTrip, Reasors and others will be able to dramatically increase sale of hard beer and wine.