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Voters 'embracing the American experience' in runoff elections

Casting a ballot on Tuesday was just another way for Klaas Reimann-Philipp to embrace his new homeland.

Originally from Germany, Reimann-Philipp became a U.S. citizen four years ago, which afforded him the right to vote.

"I'm kind of embracing the American experience," Reimann-Philipp said as he exited a north Oklahoma City precinct.

On Tuesday, voters across Oklahoma cast ballots in a variety of runoff elections.

Reimann-Philipp said he was most interested in the Democratic runoff for Oklahoma County commissioner in District 1.

He voted for Carrie Blumert over Al McAffrey.

"This might sound kind of one dimensional, but I do feel like having more female representation in government is important, that's one reason I voted for her," Reimann-Philipp said.

Tim Melton was most interested in the Democratic congressional runoff for the 5th District.

Melton said he had been a supporter of Tom Guild, but referred to an incident during the June primary when the candidate was caught pulling out the signs of his opponent, Kendra Horn.

"I was kind of a supporter of Tom Guild, I was very torn, ... but Tom's little mischief in the first part of the primary where he pulled (Horn's) signs off kind of turned me off," Melton said.

Many voters were likely focused on the Republican runoff for governor between former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, with Democrat Drew Edmondson awaiting the winner in November.

"Politicians aren't my favorite people because they're all crooks and criminals," said Brian Blackaby, adding that he wasn't a fan of Cornett.

All three of the state's recognized parties — Republicans, Democrats and Libertarians — had at least one statewide runoff.

But registered Independents are allowed to vote on a Democratic ballot, which is what Bethany Patterson did.

Patterson said she was most interested in the Democratic race for Congress and she hoped Tuesday's winner will beat incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Russell.

"I don't think there's a huge difference between Kendra Horn and Tom Guild anyway," Patterson said. "If either of them gets in, that's fantastic."

June's primary saw historic turnout, while runoffs typically see a significant drop off.

But voters on Tuesday said runoff elections were as important, if not more so, than the primary.

"Every election is important and I just make it a habit to vote any time I have an opportunity to," Melton said.

Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

Meg Wingerter

Meg Wingerter has covered health at The Oklahoman since July 2017. Previously, she lived in Topeka, Kansas, and worked at Kansas News Service and The Topeka Capital-Journal, where she earned awards for business coverage. She graduated from... Read more ›