Early voting has remained steady in Pittsburg County in advance of the Super Tuesday Presidential Preferential Primary — with more than 200 ballots already cast as of Friday afternoon.
Election workers said 108 early in-person absentee ballots were cast Thursday at the Pittsburg County Election Board Office in McAlester and another 97 early votes had been cast by around 3 p.m. Friday. Early in-person absentee balloting was set to extend through Friday and into Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“It’s been pretty steady yesterday and today,” said Pittsburg County Election Board Secretary Tonya Barnes. “It’s been running smooth and everybody feels like they’re getting their civic duty done.”
All Pittsburg County polling places as well as those across the state are set to be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, for the Super Tuesday election.
Twenty candidates remain on the Presidential Preferential Primary ballot in Oklahoma.
While six of the 14 Democrat candidates and one of the Republican candidates have already suspended their campaigns, they dropped out of the race too late to get their names taken off the ballot.
Oklahomans are among voters in 14 other states, along with American Samoa and the group Democrats Abroad voting on Super Tuesday — with about one-third of the nation’s presidential delegates at stake.
Oklahoma has a closed primary, meaning registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary, while registered Republicans can cast a ballot in the Republican Primary.
However, the Democrat Party is again allowing registered independents to vote in the Democrat Primary this year.
Democratic presidential candidates who were still actively campaigning and who are on the ballot in Pittsburg County and across Oklahoma include:
• Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont, who tied in Iowa, before going on to win in New Hampshire and Nevada. Sanders won the Oklahoma Democratic Primary in 2016, besting the party’s eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton.
• Joe Biden, former U.S. vice president and the former Democratic frontrunner who finished fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire, before finishing a distant second in Nevada.
• Pete Buttegieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who tied with Sanders in Iowa, then finished second in New Hampshire and a distant third in Nevada.
• Elizabeth Warren, U.S. senator from Massachusetts and an Oklahoma native who finished third in Iowa, a distant fourth in New Hampshire and a very distant fourth in Nevada.
• Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York, who will be on the presidential ballot for the first time on Super Tuesday, although he’s participated in a couple of debates already.
• Amy Klobuchar, the U.S. senator from Minnesota, who finished fifth in Iowa, bounced back for a strong third place finish in New Hampshire, then dropped to a sixth place finish in Nevada.
• Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. representative from Hawaii who serves as a major in the Hawaii National Guard. She finished last in Iowa, seventh in New Hampshire and seventh in Nevada, besting four candidates who had already dropped out of the race.
• Tom Steyer, hedge fund manager and philanthropist, whose strongest showings in the first three election events were fifth and sixth place finishes in Nevada and New Hampshire, respectively.
Democrat candidates who have suspended their campaigns, but too late to get their name off the Oklahoma ballot are:
• Deval Patrick, former Massachusetts governor, who entered the race late, then dropped out after his campaign failed to gain traction.
• Andrew Yang, entrepreneur, author and attorney, dropped out after finishing near the rear of the pack in Iowa and New Hampshire.
• Michael Bennett, U.S. senator, Colorado, dropped out before complete results were released from the New Hampshire Primary.
• Marianne Williamson, self-identified as an author, activist and spiritual adviser, dropped out of the race in January.
• Julián Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development, suspended his campaign in January.
• Cory Booker, U.S. senator, New Jersey, also suspended his presidential campaign in January.
Candidates on the ballot challenging President Trump for the GOP presidential nomination are:
• Bob Ely, an entrepreneur and former investment banker.
• Zoltan G. Istvan, self-identified as a transhumanist who wants to put science, health and technology at the forefront.
• Roque “Rocky” De LaFuente, a businessman who received less than 1% of the vote in 2016.
• Matthew “Matt” John Mattern, who calls himself an attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist, is another GOP candidate.
• Joe Walsh, a conservative talk radio host, suspended his campaign after getting less than 1% of the vote in Iowa, but too late get off the Oklahoma ballot.
This year no Libertarian or third party candidates are on Oklahoma’s Super Tuesday Presidential Preferential ballot.
Other states participating in Super Tuesday along with Oklahoma are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
Also voting on Super Tuesday are North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia.
Meanwhile, election records show that Bernie Sanders received more votes than any other candidate in Pittsburg County during the 2016 Presidential Preferential Primary — when Democrats and Republicans could not cross party lines.
Sanders garnered 3,027 ballots or 55.78% of the Democratic Super Tuesday votes in Pittsburg County in 2016, while Hillary Clinton got 1,717 or 31.64%, with the rest of the vote scattered in small amounts among five other candidates.
On the Republican side, Trump had 1,088 votes, for 37.45% of the vote in the crowded Republican Primary, while Ted Cruz followed, with 837 GOP votes, or 28.81%, with the rest of the vote scattered among 10 other GOP candidates. Although Cruz carried the state in the 2016 GOP Primary, Pittsburg County voters went with Trump.
Trump received by far the most Pittsburg County votes during the Nov. 3 General Election in 2016 when voters could cross party lines, garnering 12,753 votes, or 73.84%, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 3,711 votes for 21.49%.
Libertarian Gary Johnson received the remainder of the ballots, with 807 votes, for 4.67%.
Contact James Beaty at firstname.lastname@example.org