Trump-Backed Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Wins GOP Nomination

Trump-Backed Oklahoma Gov. Stitt Wins GOP Nomination kevin stitt speaks during a coronavirus news conference Oklahoma GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

SEAN MURPHY Tuesday, 28 June 2022 09:42 PM

Gov. Kevin Stitt easily won the GOP primary on Tuesday in his race for reelection as Oklahoma governor, taking advantage of a massive fundraising edge to dispatch three fellow Republicans.

Stitt's feuds with fellow Republicans in the Legislature and with many Oklahoma-based Native American tribes did not seem to bother GOP primary voters, although the strained relationship with tribes, which have grown more powerful with an influx of casino revenue in recent decades, likely will be a factor in November's general election.

Independent Ervin Yen, an Oklahoma City anesthesiologist and former state senator, and Libertarian Natalie Bruno of Edmond also will be on the November ballot.

Stitt, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, a wealthy former head of a Jenks-based mortgage company, raised about $5.4 million, nearly 20 times as much as his three GOP primary opponents combined.

His Republican primary opponents included the head of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs Joel Kintsel, 46, political unknown Moira McCabe, 40, and former Tulsa police officer Mark Sherwood, 57, a naturopathic doctor.

Stitt took strong positions on hot-button issues important to conservatives during his first term in office, signing into law one of the nation's strictest abortion bans in May, expanding access to firearms and overseeing a return of the death penalty after a nearly seven-year hiatus.

On the campaign stump, Stitt focused on what he called "Oklahoma's Turnaround" and emphasized the state's low unemployment and rebounding economy, including more than $2 billion that has been socked away in state savings accounts. Even after four years in office, Stitt painted himself as a businessman and political outsider in the mold of former President Donald Trump.

"I was a complete outsider to politics," Stitt said this year at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida. "In fact, my first ever political donation was to Donald J. Trump for president."

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