Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Okla. Commissioner Murphy Loses Runoff for Lt. Governor

Oklahoma Corporation Commission Chair Dana Murphy came up short Tuesday in her bid to become the state’s lieutenant governor, losing a runoff for the Republican nomination.

Murphy visits with SPP Director Harry Skilton | © RTO Insider

Murphy was bested by former state GOP Chairman Matt Pinnell, who received 58.1% of the vote to her 41.9%. Murphy beat Pinnell in a four-way primary in June, winning 45.8% of the vote to Pinnell’s 35.69%, less than the 50% required to avoid a runoff.

Only 295,132 Oklahomans cast ballots in the runoff, compared to 429,483 in the primary.

Pinnell will face Democrat Anastasia Pittman, a state senator from Oklahoma City, on Nov. 6.

In a concession statement issued Tuesday night, Murphy thanked supporters and called for cooperation at the State Capitol. Murphy campaigned as a problem-solver and made it a point to crisscross the state and visit as many residents as she could.

“It’s time to address the roots of problems and create lasting solutions,” Murphy said in her statement. “Going forward, I hope the next crop of leaders at the State Capitol will bring their best, put partisan politics aside and do something different.”

SPP CEO Nick Brown, New Mexico Commissioner Pat Lyons listen to Murphy during an RSC meeting | © RTO Insider

The lieutenant governor’s office is seen as a stepping stone to the governor’s mansion. Outgoing Gov. Mary Fallin served three terms in the higher office, but current Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb failed to make it out of this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

Murphy, 58, a petroleum geologist and lawyer, has sat on the OCC since 2009. Her current terms ends in 2022. She is also a past chair and current member of SPP’s Regional State Committee. (See Oklahoma Regulator Sets Sights on Higher Office.) She was applauded for not running negative ads during the two-month runoff campaign.

— Tom Kleckner