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As Oklahoma’s gubernatorial candidates prepare for a debate on Wednesday, October 19, recent polling shows the state’s race for governor is now a toss-up.
For the first time in at least a decade, three of the latest polls show Democrat Joy Hofmeister leading against incumbent Republican Governor Kevin Stitt.
While Governor Kevin Stitt has loudly led a campaign focused on attacking liberal views, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who switched from Republican to Democrat to run against Stitt, has been quietly gaining support from all corners of the state.
A SoonerPoll measuring the support of candidates for Oklahoma Governor, which ran from Oct. 4-6, had Hofmeister up 47%-43% against Stitt. Days later, a poll from Ascend Action, which ran from Oct. 10-12, had Hofmeister up 49%-42%. And most recently, Amber Integrated, one of the most trusted polling firms in the state, had Hofmeister up 46%-45% against Stitt.
Both Ascend Action and Amber Integrated are Republican polling firms.
Joy Hofmeister vs. Kevin Stitt
Stitt, who became Governor of Oklahoma in 2018, has spent much of that time fighting against federal health mandates, while supporting the privatization of public schools and the state’s medicaid program. He’s proudly signed legislation banning abortion at any stage, along with a slew of anti-LGBTQ+ bills. He was also removed from the Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, has vigorously reinstated the death penalty in Oklahoma, and is currently defending his administration from both state and federal corruption lawsuits.
Meanwhile, Hofmeister has spent much of the last year on a message of bringing people together, supporting public education, and defending tribal sovereignty.
It appeared to pay off when, for the first time in history, the state’s Five Major Tribes (Choctaw, Cherokee, Muscogee, Chickasaw, and Seminole) jointly endorsed Hofmeister for Oklahoma Governor.
“It’s clear Oklahomans are ready for change,” the Joy Hofmeister campaign said in a statement shared with The Black Wall Street Times.
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll keep talking with voters about issues that impact their families like eliminating the grocery tax, standing against Stitt’s school voucher scheme, opportunities for better jobs and increased accountability so our tax dollars aren’t squandered through self-dealing and corruption,” the campaign added.
Stitt still favored to win ahead of debate for Oklahoma Governor
Despite the new polling, unseating an incumbent Republican in Oklahoma is still an uphill battle.
FiveThirtyEight, a nationally recognized polling website which measures the combined averages of individual polls, still has Governor Stitt ahead by nearly two points.
“Kevin Stitt is going to win this race because Oklahomans know Kevin Stitt is fighting for them, cutting taxes, balancing the budget, and funding pay increases for every teacher, while his Democratic opponent supports tax increases and marches in lock-step with Joe Biden’s liberal agenda that’s threatening Oklahoma,” Governor Kevin Stitt’s campaign manager, Donelle Harder, told The Black Wall Street Times via email.
The next Oklahoma gubernatorial debate takes place Wednesday, October 19 at 5:30 p.m. at the Will Rogers Theatre in Oklahoma City, according to the Oklahoman.
NonDoc editor-in-chief Tres Savage and News 9 anchor and reporter Storme Jones will moderate the debate, though it will not be televised. Instead, News 9 will stream the event on its Facebook page and website. NonDoc will also stream the debate on its Facebook page.
C-Span will air the debate for Oklahoma Governor nationally on its cable channel, and the Tulsa Press Club will host a watch party at 415 S. Boston in Tulsa.