Sen. David L. Boren easily trounced two challengers in Oklahoma’s Democratic primary Tuesday, taking the first step towards reelection to a third term.
In the Democratic primary for governor, the Speaker of Oklahoma’s House and a businessman were locked in a tight battle for first place. A restaurant chain owner held a strong lead in the five-way contest for the GOP nomination.
Republican Gov. Henry Bellmon is stepping down.
Alaska voters also narrowed the field of candidates seeking to replace a retiring governor. Republican Sen. Ted Stevens was favored to win his party’s primary.
In Oklahoma, Boren drew 124,237 votes with 780 of 2,359 precincts reporting. Perennial candidate Virginia Jenner had 16,435 votes and newcomer Manuel Ybarra had 7,091.
Boren will face Republican Stephen Jones, an attorney.
In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, House Speaker Steve Lewis of Shawnee had 54,733 votes to 51,704 for Oklahoma City businessman David Walters, the 1986 nominee.
In the GOP race, restaurant chain owner Vince Orza led with 36,694 votes. Former U.S. Atty. Bill Price of Oklahoma City had 24,197 votes and former Human Services Commission Chairman Burns Hargis had 17,897. Truck stop operator Jerry Brown of Oklahoma City had 12,751 votes.
Runoffs will be held Sept. 18 unless one candidate of each party gets a majority.
Gambling and marijuana were issues in Alaska, where Democratic Gov. Steve Cowper declined to seek a second term. The top Democratic contenders were Lt. Gov. Stephen McAlpine and former Anchorage Mayor Tony Knowles.