For the U.S. Air Force reservist, his hopes of joining the Oklahoma Legislature have been fulfilled. For the senator and the county commissioners, it is another opportunity to continue to serve their constituents. And for the Independent candidate, it was a future that wasn’t to be.
Jay Steagall, Stephanie Bice and Jack Stewart were among the big winners in Canadian County in Tuesday’s election.
For Daniel Pugh, who chose to leave the Republican Party in an effort to challenge Stewart for the District 3 County Commissioner seat, it was a difficult loss.
On his Facebook page, Pugh wrote Tuesday that it had been gratifying to meet his supporters during his campaign.
“I carried the issues you care about to the commissioner board and challenged them to consider your concerns and wisdom on the major issues that affect us all. I had hoped to implement your wisdom serving as your new commissioner, but alas I must concede the race to Commissioner Jack Stewart for another four-year term,” Pugh wrote.
He said he felt he had made a good showing, carrying almost 40 percent of the vote.
“A loss indeed … but something to build on for the next time,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, Stewart, who received 60 percent of the vote, said he is excited and thankful that voters are giving him additional time to continue his efforts to improve the county.
“I am so thankful to everyone for the vote of confidence to be allowed to continue the work of the county. … I think we’re doing what’s best for the county. I think we are moving the county forward,” Stewart said. “I believe we have a good team in place.”
The commissioner said his focus will continue to be on improving the county’s road system.
“The roads are a top priority. The rest will take care of itself. They (roads) are really in need of care,” he said.
However, he said many roads are not in as bad of a shape as has been described, and those that are often are in municipalities.
Meanwhile, Steagall will replace John Paul Jordan as the representative serving in House District 43.
Steagall, who is a reservist in the Air Force, was deployed out of the country during the primary election and depended on friends and relatives to push his campaign forward.
He returned from his service before the runoff election and was able to campaign in person.
In Tuesday’s election, he received more than twice the number of votes as his opponent, Democrat Chantelle Cory.
“I’m excited,” Steagall said by phone.
Steagall, who will be sworn into office on Thursday, said there will be challenges ahead.
“We know there are a lot of issues facing us as a state. We all want to reach our goals,” Steagall said.
Issue such as education funding, improving the state’s infrastructure and reducing the incarceration rate are priorities, Steagall said.
However, his first priority will be learning the process and trying to accomplish what his constituents want.
“I want to be a good representative for our area at the state Capitol. I plan to take my experiences of my military background and my business background into the Capitol and develop relationships with other legislators. I want to move in the right direction and the direction we all want to move in,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bice was re-elected to her seat representing District 22 in the Senate.
“I am beyond humbled by the support I received from voters. … This has been a challenging two years. There has been a lot of discourse. I’ve tried to communicate with my constituents and to be available to them. My focus of serving the constituents paid off,” she said.
Bice also doubled her Democrat opponent, William Andrews’, vote total, overwhelmingly carrying the district.
She said she doesn’t have a goal going into her second term and will wait to see what newly elected governor Kevin Stitt proposes.
“As a legislative body, we haven’t been engaged with the current governor since I was elected. This is a reset for a fresh perspective about what we need to do to move the state forward,” Bice said.