Oklahoma Democrat mocked for rightly saying state has higher crime than New York and California

Democratic challenger Joy Hofmeister was mocked by the public and Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt when she said violent crime rates are higher in the state than in New York and California.

The two candidates squared off in their lone debate scheduled for Wednesday night at the Will Rogers Theater in Oklahoma City as the race heated up just before midterm elections in less than a month.

“The fact is that the violent crime rate is higher in Oklahoma under your watch than in New York and California, that’s a fact,” Ms. Hofmeister said.

The audience at the venue burst out laughing and cheered as Mr Stitt dismissed his rival’s claim and asked the audience if they believed her.

Mr Stitt snapped “that’s not true” as she spoke. He asked the audience, “Oklahomans do you think we have higher crime rates than New York and California? That’s what she said,” he told the audience.

In reality, however, the crime rate in Oklahoma increase to 458 per 100,000 population in 2022 and was among the top ten US states with the highest crime rate in sixth place, according to crime data by state from the World Population Review.

In New York and California, the crime rate was 363 and 442 per 100,000, respectively.

According to the FBI’s 2021 Crime in the Nation Report, Oklahoma had 15,681 reported violent crimes in 2021, or 393 per 100,000 people. The state had the 10th highest violent crime rate of the 41 U.S. states with available data.

During the debate, Ms Hofmeister attacked Mr Stitt saying he engaged in ‘cronyism’ and ‘bribery’. The Republican said Ms Hofmeister was beholden to “special interests”.

The race is being watched closely as Ms Hofmeister, the state’s superintendent of public education in 2014 and 2018, was a registered Republican until last year but switched parties last year to announce her candidacy to the post of governor.

Mr Stitt is endorsed by former President donald trump and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin.

Ms Hofmeister appeared to distance herself from Biden administration policies as she said she was “aggressively moderate”. She attacked Republicans saying “Oklahomans are tired of extremism, they are tired of fighting chaos and division.”

Several new polls have shown Ms Hofmeister has a chance of winning the race, a significant change after averaging more than 16 points behind Mr Stitt in July polls.

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