Democrats record another surprise win in a very red state

A 26-year-old lesbian wins a state legislative seat in an Oklahoma race. Democrats are on a roll

By Matthew Rozsa
Published November 15, 2017 2:03PM (UTC)
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(AP Photo/David Goldman)

The Democratic Party continued its run of political triumphs on Tuesday when it picked up major wins in the South and Southwest.

The victory in the Oklahoma state legislative election was perhaps the most striking one. Certainly it was a major upset — a little-known, 26-year-old lesbian Democrat named Allison Ikley-Freeman wound up winning a State Senate seat in western Tulsa county over Republican candidate Brian O'Hara, according to Tulsa World. Both candidates were seeking a seat that will soon be vacated by the incumbent State Senator Dan Newberry, although Newberry's resignation won't take effect until Jan. 31.

When Democrats tried to take Newberry's seat in 2016, they wound up losing by 15 percentage points, despite investing heavily in that race. This has made Ikley-Freeman's 31-vote victory all the more shocking, although she may have benefited from the much lower turnout in that election.

To the west of Oklahoma, Democrats scored another victory in the mayoral race to lead New Mexico's largest city, Albuquerque. Democratic New Mexico State Auditor Tim Keller easily defeated the Republican candidate, Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, with 62 percent of the vote to 38 percent of the vote, according to CBS News. Keller's victory occurred one day after Albuquerque's ethics board ruled that he had violated campaign finance laws, although they didn't issue sanctions against him and Keller insisted that he did so unintentionally.

Republicans have had a poor month in November, particularly by losing major races in Virginia and New Jersey. They may also struggle in the Alabama special election to replace former Sen. Jeff Sessions (now President Donald Trump's attorney general), with Republican nominee Roy Moore fighting sexual assault allegations while Democratic candidate Doug Jones currently remains scandal-free.

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Albuquerque Allison Ikley-freeman Brian O'hara Dan Lewis Lgbt New Mexico Oklahoma Tim Keller Tulsa