Senate-18 vote to highlight busy election cycle in Yukon

Five contested state legislative races impact this area

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By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A busy election season will feature five contested state races that impact the Yukon area.

Candidate filings for state legislative offices were April 13-15 at the Oklahoma State Election Board in Oklahoma City.

The primary election will be Tuesday, June 28 (run-off Aug. 23). The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Two Republican candidates filed April 13 seeking to represent a “new” State Senate district that will cover most of Yukon city limits.

Yukon’s Hunter Zearley, 27, and Yukon’s Jack Stewart, 72, are contenders in Senate District 18, an office that’s moving from eastern Oklahoma.

This race will be decided in the June 28th Republican primary election. The winner will earn the next four-year term in the 48-member Oklahoma State Senate.

Zearley works for the Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall and Stewart is a three-term Canadian County commissioner.

Senate District 18’s revised boundaries will include a significant part of the Yukon area and Oklahoma City in eastern Canadian County and Bethany and Woodlawn Park in western Oklahoma County.

The current District 18 senator, Kim David (R-Porter), could not file for re-election due to term limits. The district has covered parts of Cherokee, Mayes, Muskogee, Tulsa, and Wagoner counties.

After legislative redistricting, Senate District 18 is moving primarily because of population growth in eastern Canadian County.

Canadian County is Oklahoma’s fastest-growing large county and the state’s fourth largest county overall.

Canadian County’s population increased from 115,541 in 2010 to 154,405 in 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Meanwhile, a Republican incumbent who represents part of Yukon in the State Senate has drawn three challengers.

Four candidates filed April 13 for State Senate District 22.

State Sen. Jake A. Merrick, 40, is being challenged for the next four-year term by Edmond Republicans John A. Williams, 66, and Kristen Thompson, 36; and Edmond Democrat Blake Aguirre, 25.

This race will be decided in the Nov. 8th general election.

Merrick, of Yukon, was elected to the State Senate in an April 2021 special election to finish the final 21 months of former Sen. Stephanie Bice’s unexpired term after Bice was elected to Congress.

Most of Yukon has been part of Senate District 22, which is moving further north and east after redistricting.

Senate District 22’s new boundaries in Canadian County will be north of Britton Road and east of Gregory Road.

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IN THE HOUSE

Three Republican state representatives who represent parts of the Yukon area each drew opponents as they seek new two-year terms in the 101-member Oklahoma House of Representatives.

In each case, the incumbent filed on the first day and the challenger filed on the last day of the three-day filing period.

  • State Rep. Jay W. Steagall, 45, is being challenged by Yukon Independent Cassie Kinet, 37, in House District 43.

This race will be decided in the general election.

Yukon’s Steagall defeated Kinet in the November 2020 election by a 72.55% majority. He’s now seeking his third term in the State House.

  • State Rep. Rhonda Baker, 53, is being challenged by fellow Yukon Republican Ron Lynch, 58, in House District 60.

This race will be decided in this summer’s Republican primary.

Baker was first elected to the State House in 2016 and is seeking her fourth term.

House District 60 will include much more of Yukon after restricting.

  • State Rep. Denise Crosswhite Hader, 57, is being challenged by Edmond Democrat Mike Bockus, 38, in House District 41.

This race will be decided in the general election.

Crosswhite Hader is seeking her third term, having been re-elected without opposition in 2020.

House District 41 includes far north Yukon.

  • State Rep. Brian Hill, 45, has earned his third term after no other candidate filed for the House District 47 seat that includes parts of south Yukon.

New Oklahoma House and Senate districts go into effect on Nov. 23 after the 2022 election cycle.

By law, the Oklahoma Legislature must redraw legislative district boundaries to reflect changes in population every 10 years following the decennial Census.

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