The biggest political battle of the summer wasn't between state Democrats and Republicans.
This year, the battle was among the Republicans, themselves.
In Edmond, Republican state Sen. Clark Jolley was thrust into the race of his life with political newcomer and tea party advocate Paul Blair. Jolley, chairman of the Senate's powerful appropriations committee, has waged a bitter campaign with Blair since the spring.
The contest grew so acrimonious that Blair, a pastor, filed a defamation lawsuit against Jolley last week.
The story was similar in Tulsa.
There, incumbent state Sen. Brian Crain fought a tough race against former Marine Kevin McDugle, the owner of an Internet marketing company that targets attorneys.
On Tuesday evening voters kept both Crain and Jolley.
Early, unofficial election results showed Jolley holding his seat with 56 percent of the vote. Jolley captured 4,379 votes to Blair's 3,358.
Jolley said he had a fantastic night.
"It looks like we're going to come out of this on the winning side," he said. "We're grateful to be able to represent the people for another four years."
Jolley said voters stuck with him because they felt Oklahoma was on the right track.
"What we're hearing is that people are disenchanted with what Washington is doing," he said. "But when we talked to people about what they saw in Oklahoma, they said we're doing a good job. I think this race reflects that. A spirited race isn't exactly the most fun thing as a candidate to go through, but at the end of the day we decide things at the ballot box. I'm grateful we have that opportunity."
Blair said the Senate's GOP leadership was out of touch.
"For two years we've had the car keys, the checkbook and we've been in charge and the Democrats can't stop us," Blair said. …