Legislative seats in Norman and Tulsa, sales tax initiatives for improvements in Oklahoma City and a sheriff’s race in the state’s largest county are among the items on special elections ballots on Tuesday.
Voters in Norman’s House District 46 will select a new legislator to replace former Republican state Rep. Scott Martin, who resigned in May to take a position as director of the Oklahoma Chamber of Commerce. In that race, Democratic schoolteacher Jacob Rosecrants faces Republican businessman Darin Chambers in the district that includes mostly western Norman and where Republicans have a roughly 3,000-voter advantage in registration.
And in Tulsa’s Senate District 37, Republican voters will pick from seven GOP candidates seeking to replace outgoing Republican state Sen. Dan Newberry in a winner-take-all primary after Newberry announced plans to resign to take a new private-sector post. The winner will face Democrat Allison Ikley-Freeman in a Nov. 14 general election. Republicans have a nearly 10,000-voter advantage in the district, which includes sections of Tulsa, Sand Springs and Jenks.
The two open posts are the seventh GOP-held legislative seats to be vacated in the past year after two other Republican senators and two GOP House members previously resigned and a fourth Republican House member died in office. Of the three special general elections held so far, Democrats have taken two of the seats from Republicans.
Among the other ballot items Tuesday are sales tax hikes and a general obligation bond package in Oklahoma City for road, public safety, parks and other city improvements. The 15 separate proposals include a 10-year, $967 million bond package, a permanent quarter-cent sales tax increase pay for additional police and firefighters, and a 27-month extension of a 1-cent sales tax for streets, sidewalks, trails and bicycle infrastructure.
Voters in Oklahoma County also will elect a new sheriff on Tuesday after longtime Sheriff John Whetsel resigned in February amid an ongoing investigation into his office’s finances. Among those seeking the post are Republican P.D. Taylor, Democrat Mike Hanson and independent Ed Grimes.
Various school and municipal elections also will be held Tuesday in communities across Oklahoma.