In an election year, every race counts. With the House in turmoil and the tensions in the Senate high, all eyes have turned onto multiple special elections that have been held in various states across the country. Many election experts are using these special elections as bellwether indications of how the general election will go this November, and unfortunately, it isn’t shaping up well for Republicans.

New York is an Indication

To give a for instance, the seat that was most recently held by Republican House member George Santos in New York was recently flipped. Tom Suozzi, who held the seat before resigning from congress to run an unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign, reclaimed the seat in a tidy upset of a district that voted for Trump in 2020.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

Suozzi beat out the Republican challenger Mazi Melesa Pilip, who was running on the Republican ticket with the GOP endorsement despite the fact that she’s a registered Democrat. Many Republicans have pointed to that fact as the reason for her loss, but it’s entire possible the issue runs deeper than that.

So is Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, a special election for House District 39 swung in favor of the Republican, but only by a slim margin. Erick Harris won the district by a mere 261 votes, which came out to an only five-point lead over the Democrat, Regan Raff.

Source: Tuskegee University

This particular election was triggered following former state Representative Ryan Martinez’s resignation in September of last year. He pled guilty to a felony offense of driving under the influence, and resigned from his position in government.

A Slim Lead in a Deeply Conservative State

While a five point lead might be significant for some people – for reference, Joe Biden ultimately won with a seven point lead over Donald Trump in 2020 – in a relatively safe Republican district in deeply conservative Oklahoma, this slim margin has led some to be concerned.

Source: Wikimedia/Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Burea

While it’s unlikely that this particular special election is not indicative of how the state of Oklahoma will swing in the 2024 election, the slim lead in a state where Donald Trump beat Joe Biden by 33 points in 2020 is, if nothing else, something to look at.

Commentary on Twitter

When sharing the results of the House District special election, Peter Kratofilow, former chair of the Western New Castle Region Republican Committee, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “Keep telling me Trump is going to win, while we keep losing every other election. Sure, it’s possible with…Biden on the ticket, but the fundamentals aren’t there.”

Source: X/PeterJKratofilo

This comment is in reference to the fact that the establishment GOP has been pushing Trump, and Trump-backed candidates in the years since the former President left the White House. They’re doing this seemingly in the hopes that he’ll bring a comeback of Republican voters the way that he did in 2016, but the evidence to support those hopes doesn’t seem to be there.”

Potential Good News for Democrats

Kratofilow was not the only Republican to comment on the Oklahoma race, either. Blake Allen, a former campaign finance reporter, added, “If you squint hard enough, there are some good signs for Oklahoma Democrats in the medium term.”

Source: X/Blake_Allen13

He continued, “Not saying that they’re flipping the state but routes are starting to show up to potentially break the Republican supermajority in the legislature one day.” This commentary comes and more and more members of Gen Z – a historically liberal voting block – are coming of age to vote, and they are making their voices heard.

Concerns from Campaign Groups

One conservative campaign group, Tulsa Parents Voice, expressed concern. They posted, “All that normally Republican juggernaut CAMP money should have been a grand slam for ERick Harris. He will be on the ballot again in 2024.”

Source: X/TulParentsVoice

Individuals who win special elections only hold the seat for the remaining length of the term that they’re taking over. For representatives like United States senators, it’s possible that this could be years. Harris will only be holding his newly-appointed seat for a few months before facing reelection again this fall, though.

About Harris

Harris is a former federal prosecutor whose father was a teacher, and ran on a platform of improving education in the state of Oklahoma. “We need to make sure that we pay teachers a good wage,” he said during a debate.

Source: Erick Harris Campaign

He also stated, “I … would support number one, never cutting funding for public education.” Keeping teachers in the state of Oklahoma with better benefits and wages appears to be a priority for Harris, an important stance at a time when teachers are leaving the field in droves.

Expressing Gratitude

Harris also expressed his deep gratitude for his win, and the voters who trusted him with the office when the results of the election came down. “Our state and nation face serious issues and I will work tirelessly every day to find solutions,” he stated in his victory speech.

Source: Erick Harris Campaign

In a show of grace, Harris also congratulated his fellow candidates who ran “spirited and passionate campaigns.” This is a show of class in a time where politics can be deeply divisive and petty, and bodes well for a potential rerun this coming fall for Harris.

Republican’s Work is Cut Out For Them

While it’s unlikely that the Oklahoma special election has any bearing on how the 2024 election will swing, especially in the deeply Red state, conservatives have still taken notice. A Republican underperforming in Oklahoma is, understandably, a warning sign of things to come.

Source: Erick Harris Campaign

With the 2024 election shaping up to be divisive and controversial, as well as the first presidential election for many hyper-liberal Gen Z-er’s, Republicans are going to have to work harder to get their message across. What that message is remains to be seen, but they clearly have their work cut out for them.