By Conrad Dudderar
Republican Jake Merrick of Yukon and Democrat Molly Ooten of Edmond have won the special primary election for State Senate District 22, setting the stage for a final face-off this spring.
Votes were tallied Feb. 9 in the 27 precincts across District 22 in Canadian and Oklahoma counties.
Merrick topped Edmond’s Keri Shipley by a 58.42% margin (2,328-1,657) while Ooten bested Edmond’s Dylan Billings by a 72.55% margin (1,020-386) to claim their party’s nomination.
Some 5,391 votes were cast in the District 22 primary, with 3,985 Republican and 1,406 Democrat.
Merrick and Ooten will square off in the April 6 general election to see who will fill the Senate 22 vacancy and succeed Stephanie Bice, who was elected to Congress.
Merrick, 39, is a small business owner and Ooten, 31, is a speech pathologist.
Both primary victors shared messages with supporters on their campaign Facebook pages.
Merrick: “It truly is about ‘We the People’! This has always been the focus and it will continue to be. … Now on to April to ensure this seated is locked in for the conservative base here in District 22! It’s my greatest honor to even be considered for a place of leadership to represent the will of the people in the greatest state in the Union.”
Ooten: “This has been an incredible experience, and we want to make sure we use this momentum in the best way possible. We are just getting started! … Thank you all for believing in my dream. I am ready to move forward with compassion, determination, and a deep commitment to this community.”
Senate District 22 is comprised of northern Oklahoma County and eastern Canadian County, including parts of Yukon, Piedmont, Edmond, and Deer Creek.
CANADIAN COUNTY BALLOT RESULTS
Thirteen precincts were open in Canadian County for the primary, with 2,588 votes being cast (2,021 Republican and 567 Democrat).
Among Canadian County Republican voters, Merrick was favored over Shipley by a 62.35% margin (1,260-761).
Meanwhile, Canadian County Democrat voters sided with Ooten over Billings by a 67.72% margin (384-183).
The winner in the April 6th general election between Merrick and Ooten will take office to finish the final 21 months of an unexpired four-year term in the 48-member Oklahoma State Senate.
The seat is vacant after Bice, a Republican, joined the U.S. House of Representatives in January.
Bice, who served Senate District 22 from 2014-20, defeated incumbent Democrat Kendra Bice to earn a two-year term representing Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.