Allison Ikley-Freeman, an open lesbian in a same-sex marriage, won a deeply conservative state senate district in Oklahoma — the fourth seat Democrats have flipped in the state since 2016.
One week after their blowout victory in state races around the country, it is clear that Democrats’ newfound competitiveness down the ballot is showing no signs of fading.
In a new special election this Tuesday, voters headed to the polls in Oklahoma — and flipped yet another red seat blue.
The Democratic candidate, 26-year-old Allison Ikley-Freeman, is a mental health counselor and openly gay woman in a same-sex marriage. She defeated GOP candidate Brian O’Hara for Senate District 37, winning by just 31 votes.
Ikley-Freeman will be the third openly LGBT person to serve in the Oklahoma State Legislature, after state Sen. Al McAffrey and state Rep. Kay Floyd.
Oklahoma is one of the most consistently Republican states. It is one of only two states in which every single county voted for Trump. District 37, in western Tulsa County, is certainly not left-leaning. Its residents voted for Trump by 39 points, and former GOP state Sen. Dan Newberry by 15 points.
But this year, Oklahoma Democrats have flipped four legislative seats blue in a series of special elections, chipping away at the Republican state legislative majority. Every one of those seats is in districts that backed Trump by double-digit margins.
As America heads into a midterm election year, the signs of a Democratic wave are growing. Polls show voters overwhelmingly want Democrats to control the House of Representatives, and that Democratic voters have an edge over Republican voters in enthusiasm and willingness to volunteer. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers are retiring at a rapid clip, and Democrats are setting records for candidate recruitment.
Ikley-Freeman’s victory shows that this tide of resistance is affecting even the most conservative parts of the country. All across America, Democrats have the public sentiment and are ready to bring the heat.