Republican businessman Kevin Stitt, who has pitched his gubernatorial campaign on his outsider status, has voted in just eight elections since 2000, according to Oklahoma voter history records.
None of those elections included the race for governor.
Stitt, who founded a Tulsa-based mortgage company, is among the frontrunners in the GOP primary, along with Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and Mick Cornett, a former Oklahoma City mayor. The crowded Republican field attracted 10 candidates, including Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson and State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones.
Voting records since 1999 show Stitt voting in presidential-year general elections from 2000 to 2016, along with a primary election in 2004. Since announcing his run for governor last year, Stitt also voted in a special election in November and another local election in February.
The Stitt campaign said his voter history was a public record and attempts to highlight it a week before the primary originated with other campaigns. (None of the competing campaigns contacted Oklahoma Watch about the issue.)
“Once again, career politicians who have driven us into this mess are sticking together to attack the only conservative outsider candidate in the race for governor,” Stitt spokeswoman Donelle Harder said in a statement. “Kevin Stitt is a lifelong Republican who voted for and donated to President Trump. … If Oklahomans are looking for another politician, there are plenty of others to choose from in this race.”
An Oklahoma Watch review of voting history records of the 10 Republicans, two Democrats and three Libertarians running for governor show the 45-year-old Stitt was among the least frequent voters. The data came from the state Election Board and goes back to 1999. Election Board spokesman Bryan Dean said a voter’s history is reset in the system if the voter moves to a new county.
Cornett, 59, has voted 56 times since 2000, while Lamb, 46, has voted 55 times, the records show. They were followed by Democrats Connie Johnson, 66, who voted 47 times, and Drew Edmondson, 44 times. Edmondson, 71, moved his registration to Oklahoma County in 2005, according to the election board.
Voting history for the other gubernatorial candidates:
• Gary Jones, 63, Republican, 32 times.
• Gary Richardson, 77, Republican, 27 times.
• Christopher Powell, 46, Libertarian, 25 times.
• Dan Fisher, 58, Republican, 22 times.
• Blake “Cowboy” Stephens, 57, Republican, 16 times.
• Christopher Barnett, 35, Republican, 9 times.
• Barry Gowdy, 51, Republican, 8 times.
• Joe “Exotic” Maldonado, 55, Libertarian, 6 times.
• Rex Lawhorn, 46, Libertarian, 6 times.
• Eric Foutch, 44, Republican, 5 times.
Stitt’s failure to vote in many elections is not out of sync with Oklahoma voters as a whole.
In the 2016 general election (in which Stitt voted), only five states had lower turnout numbers in the general election than Oklahoma, where 57 percent of eligible voters cast ballots, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
In the 2014 general election, which featured the governor’s race and other statewide races, just 34.2 percent of the state’s eligible voter population voted. Oklahoma’s turnout was the 49th lowest in the nation that year.
Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on a range of public-policy issues facing the state. For more Oklahoma Watch content, go to www.oklahomawatch.org.