Ryan Walters’ Horrible Election Day: Oklahoma Voters in Enid and Tulsa Soundly Reject His Destructive Education Policies and Coddling of Extremists

by Delphine Luneau

In Enid, Voters Recalled a White Nationalist City Council Member Who Was Enthusiastically Supported By A Member of Walters’ Faith Advisory Council

All Three Tulsa School Board Candidates Who Opposed Walters’ Proposal To Take Over School District Won Their Races as Voters Repudiated His Dictatorial Policies

Last night, voters in local Oklahoma elections overwhelmingly rejected State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters’ agenda of coddling Neo Nazis and state takeovers of local districts.

In a story making national headlines, voters in Enid, Oklahoma, ousted a Neo Nazi, Judd Blevins, from their city council in a recall election last night. One of that former councilman’s biggest supporters continues to sit on Walters’ faith advisory council:

“The Enid city councilman accused of being a member of the white nationalist group Identity Evropa was soundly defeated Tuesday in a recall election. Unofficial election returns show that Judd Blevins, the incumbent, received 561 votes, about 40.365%, while Cheryl Patterson, the challenger, captured 829 votes or 59.65%.” [The Oklahoman, 4/2/24]

“The photo of Judd Blevins was unmistakable. In it, Blevins, bearded and heavyset, held a tiki torch on the University of Virginia campus, on the eve of Unite the Right, a 2017 coming-together of the nation’s neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups. … Wade Burleson, former president of the Southern Baptists of Oklahoma and a retired pastor of Enid’s largest church, was an early supporter of Blevins on Facebook. Burleson, who also sits on the faith advisory committee of the state’s controversial school Superintendent Ryan Walters, said attempts to unseat Blevins are a ‘race-bait trap,’ an attempt by ‘communists’ and the ‘mainstream media’ to ‘divide the world over race.’” [NBC, 3/13/24]

Meanwhile, all three school board candidates in Tulsa who oppose Walters’ moves to take over the school district won their races, a resounding rejection of his aggressive rhetoric threatening a state takeover of the school district. Newcomers Calvin Moniz and Sarah Smith and incumbent John Croisant had all spoken out publicly against Walters’ threats. Smith’s opponent was a vocal supporter of Walters, while Croisant’s opponent was inspired to run after Walters called teachers unions “terrorists” and was supported by far-right activists.

“Ryan Walters has run roughshod over local officials and elevated hate groups and extremists as he runs the Oklahoma State Department of Education into the ground. Tuesday’s election results show that voters have noticed, and they’ve had their fill of him,” said Laurel Powell, HRC spokesperson. “He has been too busy crying about a supposed ‘woke mob’ whenever anyone tries to hold him accountable instead of focusing on the wellbeing and education of the kids of Oklahoma. He’s wildly out of step with what parents in Oklahoma actually want for their kids — safe schools and an education system that supports them and meets their learning needs. This is just the latest proof point that Oklahomans want Ryan Walters out of office.”

In addition to having a supporter of a Neo Nazi on his faith advisory committee, Ryan Walters has long lifted up hate groups and hate mongers like Moms4Liberty, Chaya Raichik (aka LibsofTikTok), and Alliance Defending Freedom. Read more about Walters’ inner circle here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Contact Us

To make a general inquiry, please visit our contact page. Members of the media can reach our press office at: (202) 572-8968 or email press@hrc.org.