Conservative Oklahoma said ‘OK’ (as in the abbreviation for “Oklahoma”) to Democrat and out lesbian in a same-sex marriage, Allison Ikley-Freeman. In an historic win, and continuing a promising trend for Democratic candidates, Ikley-Freeman has been elected to the Oklahoma Senate, which Republicans have dominated for years.
While Ikley-Freeman’s victory was by a mere 31 votes, it still marks a huge upset for a state, and especially a district, that is considered deeply red. Trump won that district by 39 points in 2016. This will mark the fourth flip from red to blue in the Oklahoma state legislature this year, after seven recent Republicans resignations forced special elections.
The seat will be vacated on January 31st by the anti-gay incumbent state Senator Dan Newberry. Newberry’s exit came as Oklahomans became angered by recent Republican-led budget shortfalls and scandals. Just last year, Newberry was seen as untouchable, beating his Democratic rival by 16 points.
Ikley-Freeman said she was “shocked” by the results, stating, “It was worth fighting for. The odds were not in our favor and we knew it, but we knew if we could fight hard, we had a chance.” And fight hard they did, by, “getting out and knocking on doors,” promising to focus on the “most vulnerable Oklahomans,” said Ikley-Freeman.
Oklahomans for Equality executive director, Toby Jenkins was ecstatic in heralding the enormous significance of Allison Ikley-Freeman winning in a deeply Republican state, as not only a Democrat, but as “the first openly LGBTQ individual elected to an office in Tulsa County.”
This red-state election upset may bode well for another Democrat, Doug Jones, as he faces off against scandal-plagued Republican Roy Moore in deeply red Alabama. That election will be held on December 12.