Educational choice is the winning issue in Oklahoma primary elections

The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, congratulates Oklahoma educational choice champions who won during Tuesday’s primary elections in the state. AFC supported candidates in three runoff elections, with two winning their primary today. These victories add to a number of key victories in Oklahoma this campaign season for candidates who support school choice.

“Once again, Oklahoma voters have shown that they support candidates who envision an education system where parents are empowered with the ability to make education decisions for their child – whether it be public, private, charter or virtual – so every child can access a world class education,” said Betsy DeVos, Chairman of the American Federation for Children. “Oklahoma voters understand that local control of education starts with parents and you can support local public schools while also giving a choice and educational options to students that best fit their needs.”

AFC Supported Candidates

  • Senate District 25 – AFC supported Joe Newhouse over his opponent Lisa Kramer. Newhouse is a U.S. Navy fighter pilot who campaigned as a supporter of public education and school choice, including education savings accounts or ESAs. Newhouse’s opponent opposed school choice and as a member of the Bixby School Board voted to defy the law and deny students with special needs access to state-funded scholarships. In the end, SD 25 voters strongly supported Newhouse’s optimistic message of school choice over Kramer’s indifference to children with very serious challenges.
  • House District 67 – AFC supported Scott McEachin in the runoff. McEachin is an attorney and longtime Republican activist who campaigned on boosting teacher pay without tax increases and supporting school choice, namely ESAs.

Additional candidates who have supported school choice and ESAs in writing won their primary elections as well. AFC would like to congratulate:
Republican Runoffs:

  • Adam Pugh, Senate District 41
  • Dave Rader, Senate District 39
  • Matt Jackson, House District 85
  • Lonnie Paxton, Senate District 23

Tonight’s victories follow an impressive showing by pro-school choice candidates in the June primaries where 12 out of 15 bipartisan candidates supported by AFC either won their election outright or advanced to a runoff election.

Support for educational choice is strong in Oklahoma. In the Sooner Survey, a poll conducted in November 2015 by Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates, over 70 percent of Oklahoma voters supported school choice. The support was bipartisan with 79 percent of Republicans and 60 percent of Democrats indicating support. Also 54 percent of respondents supported creating an education savings account program in Oklahoma. The poll’s findings are in line with those of numerous polls conducted by multiple pollsters in Oklahoma in the past two years.

In total, AFC’s local independent expenditure committee spent nearly $159,000 indirectly supporting 15 candidates between the the Oklahoma primary and primary runoff elections.

-30-