By Chris Eversole
Republican Paul Rosino defeated Democrat Steven Vincent in the Oklahoma Senate District 45 special election Tuesday – keeping the legislative seat in Republican hands.
Rosino won 57 percent to 43 percent. He received 2,817 votes to Vincent’s 2,144.
Turnout was light, with only 4,961 votes cast in the district.
“I was never overconfident,” Rosino said Wednesday morning. “We worked hard all the way. I was still knocking on doors at 5:15 p.m.”
Vincent commented: “We ran a clean campaign, and I’m proud of it.”
He noted that he had outperformed voter registration – which is almost two to one Republican – in the district, which includes parts of the Mustang, Oklahoma City and Yukon areas.
Rosino, a Navy veteran and real estate agent, pledged to move above the current partisanship in the Legislature.
“Let’s work together and get things done,” he said. “I’m going to represent everyone, and I’m going to lead.”
He called for new blood in the Legislature.
“We keep having the same people and keep getting the same results,” he said.
Rosino said reducing the gross production tax on petroleum drilling had gone too far.
“We’re pretty much giving it (the oil and gas resource) away,” he said.
However, he also called for a line-item examination of state spending to ensure every dollar is well-spent.
“We need to do this before asking people to go back into their pockets to spend more,” he said
Vincent said that tax cuts benefitting special interests need to be reversed so the state can restore funding – and prevent future cuts – in key services, Vincent said.
The key services include schools, public safety, health care and mental health.
“We need to restore the billions that have been cut,” he said.
The special election was held due to the resignation Sen. Kyle Loveless, a Mustang Republican who resigned in April over charges of embezzling campaign funds. He pleaded guilty and is on probation.