Stitt, Hofmeister face off in Nov. 8 election for governor of Oklahoma

Incumbent Kevin Stitt (R), Joy HofmeisterNatalie Bruno (L), and Ervin Yen (Independent) are running in the November 8, 2022, general election for governor of Oklahoma.

Stitt was elected governor in 2018. Stitt has run on his record, saying “the momentum that we’ve created, and the momentum that we have to be a top 10 state—we’re halfway there. And I want to keep that momentum going. It’s unfinished business.” Stitt has campaigned on lowering the cost to do business in the state, improving public education quality, and increasing public safety. Stitt said, “We’ve been holding government accountable. We believe in small government, lower taxes.”

Hofmeister was elected superintendent of public instruction in 2014. Hofmeister has made education the centerpiece of her campaign, saying, “It’s time for an education governor.” Hofmeister has also campaigned on lowering the cost of healthcare and investing in infrastructure. Hofmeister registered as a Democrat on October 7, 2021, when she announced her bid for governor. She was previously registered with the Republican Party. In an interview, she described herself as “an aggressively moderate Democrat.”

Education policy has been a subject of disagreement in the election. In early 2022, Stitt endorsed and promised to sign Senate Bill 1647, which would have allowed eligible public school students to use state funding to pay for education services, including private-school tuition. The Oklahoma State Senate defeated the bill 24-22 in March 2022. Hofmeister opposed the bill. Stitt said, “We’re going to continue to invest in schools, but we want some of that funding to be fungible to fund the student, not necessarily the ZIP code where they ‘belong.’ Some of these school districts have high dropout rates or low test scores. They’re not going to fix themselves from within. We have to allow parents to vote with their feet.”

Hofmeister said, “We can’t afford to have someone profiting and take funds outside for private use when we do not have what we need right now for Oklahoma public school kids.”

At the time of the election, former Gov. Brad Henry (D), who left office in 2011 after serving two consecutive terms, was the last Democrat elected to statewide office in Oklahoma.

This is one of 36 gubernatorial elections taking place in 2022. The governor serves as a state’s top executive official and is the only executive office that is elected in all 50 states. There are currently 28 Republican governors and 22 Democratic governors.