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Oklahoma City voters resoundingly approve new $900M NBA arena

Ryan LaCroix/OPMX

Oklahoma City will be getting a new downtown arena.

OKC voters overwhelmingly threw their support behind the new facility and approved a new home for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the coming years.

The margin of victory was wide, with 71% of voters throwing their support behind the proposition.

“Tonight, we told the nation, we told the world, that Oklahoma City is and shall remain a Big League City,” Mayor David Holt said.

Holt has been a major cheerleader for the Vote Yes campaign. He said before the election if voters passed the deal, the team would agree to stay in Oklahoma City through 2050. At present, the squad is obligated to remain in OKC through 2026.

Oklahoma City’s Paycom Center has been the home venue of the Thunder since 2008 when the team came to the city. It opened in 2002 and is one of the smallest arenas in the NBA.

The new arena will cost at least $900 million to build, with $70 million planned to come from MAPS 4 funds and $50 million from the owners of the team. The remaining funds — representing more than $700 million — will come from a 72-month one-cent sales tax. It’s a deal that some economists have panned.

In a statement sent to reporters, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver praised the deal.

“A signature of the Oklahoma City Thunder, beyond the team’s success on the floor, has been their deep connection to their fans and their community,” Silver said in the statement. “This vote for a new arena is another example of that bond.”

The targeted opening date is for the 2029-2030 NBA season.

Southwest Oklahoma voters pick new Senator

Republican Dusty Deevers will be the new state senator of Senate District 32, representing much of Lawton, Cameron University and Fort Sill, Oklahoma’s largest military base.

Voters in Southwest Oklahoma’s Comanche County chose between Deevers and Democrat Larry Bush to replace John Michael Montgomery, who resigned in July to become President & CEO at the Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce.

Deevers touts himself as a conservative Christian, has campaigned as an abortion abolitionist and advocated for an end to no-fault divorce in his bid for the statehouse.

Edmond primary voters advance Republican, Democrat in statehouse special election

Republican Erick Harris and Democrat Regan Raff will face off against Libertarian Richard Prawdzienski in a Feb. 13 general election for the House District 39 seat.

The district includes a large chunk of west Edmond and a small portion of northwest Oklahoma City.

Nine people — seven Republicans and two Democrats — were running in the primary to replace former GOP Rep. Ryan Martinez, who resigned in September. Martinez's status as a lawmaker had come into question after he signed a plea agreement on a felony DUI charge.

Harris narrowly beat out a large field of Republicans, clearing second-place finisher Ronda Lee Peterson by fewer than 30 votes. Raff won her race by claiming more than 80% of voters in the Democratic primary.

Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. Logan spent six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017.
Robby grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Nebraska with a Journalism degree. Robby has reported for several newspapers, including The Roanoke Times in southwest Virginia. He reported for StateImpact Oklahoma from 2019 through 2022, focusing on education.
Ryan LaCroix joined KOSU’s staff in 2013. He hosts All Things Considered, Oklahoma Rock Show, Oklahoma Rock Show: Rewind, and Oklahoma Music Minute.
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