Constance N. Johnson

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Constance Johnson
Johnson c.jpg
Personal details
Born 1952 (age 62–63)
Holdenville, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Langston University

Constance N. "Connie" Johnson is an American politician from the U.S. state of Oklahoma. She currently serves in the Oklahoma Senate, representing District 48, which encompasses portions of northeastern Oklahoma County. She was first elected to the state senate in a special election in September 2005.

Johnson became the first black woman nominated for a major statewide office in Oklahoma and the first woman US Senate nominee from Oklahoma when she won the Democratic primary run-off of the United States Senate special election in Oklahoma, 2014.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Holdenville, Oklahoma, in 1952, she graduated from Frederick A. Douglass High School in Oklahoma City and earned a bachelor's degree in French from the University of Pennsylvania. After college she worked for the Oklahoma Community Action Director’s Association, the City of Oklahoma City, and as the personal assistant for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.[3]

Political career[edit]

Johnson worked for the Oklahoma State Senate as a legislative analyst from 1981 to 2005 when she won the Senate seat representing District 48 in a special election. She was re-elected in 2006.

Senate committees[edit]

  • Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and Transportation
  • General Government
  • Health and Human Services
  • Transportation
  • Veterans and Military Affairs

Stance on Senate Bill 1433[edit]

Senate Bill 1433, which sought to define human life as beginning at fertilization, would have offered full legal protection to all human embryos. In the words of the bill, “the unborn child at every stage of development (has) all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of this state.” Johnson submitted an amendment of her own to the bill, which would have added the words:

However, any action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child.

She explained that the amendment was intended to "draw attention to the absurdity, duplicity and lack of balance inherent in the policies of this state in regard to women".[4]

Campaign for U.S. Senate[edit]

In April 2014, Johnson announced she was running in United States Senate special election in Oklahoma, 2014. Johnson faced Patrick Hayes and perennial candidate Jim Rogers.[5] Johnson finished first in the Democratic primary with a plurality, and faced Rogers in a runoff election.[6] Rogers had an advantage with name recognition heading into the runoff election, having appeared numerous times on the ballot in Oklahoma.[7] Johnson, having spent 8 years in the Oklahoma State Senate as an outspoken critic of the Republican legislature, was able to acquire experienced campaign staff to secure a runoff election victory. Controversy would later surround a lawsuit by Johnson staff member Rico Smith who claimed Johnson did not properly pay him.[8] Johnson replaced Smith with Communications Director James Cooper, an Oklahoma City journalist and professor, and Political Director David Roberts, a veteran political operative and former 2008 Obama for America staff member. Rogers' name recognition did little to combat Johnson's growing notoriety and campaign organization. Johnson won the runoff election, defeating Rogers by 14 percentage points, to face Rep. James Lankford in the general election campaign.[9]

Comprehensive marijuana reform[edit]

In June 2014, Senator Johnson and attorney David Slane announced the filing of an initiative petition for a proposed amendment to the Constitution of Oklahoma which would legalize the possession of up to one ounce of recreational marijuana and three ounces of medical marijuana.[10] According to Johnson, "We’re putting forth Genesis 1:29 as the basis of this campaign. God created this wonderful, miraculous plant and we know that it has been vilified for the last 100 years, and it’s time to change that in Oklahoma."[11]


  1. ^ Hardzinski, Brian (August 25, 2014). "Three Races To Watch In Tuesday's Primary Runoff Elections". KGOU. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Connie Johnson Wins Dem Primary For Oklahoma Senate". CBS Local. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  3. ^ Constance Johnson, Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project. (accessed July 8, 2013)
  4. ^ Johnson, Constance. "About my 'spilled semen' amendment to Oklahoma's Personhood bill," The Guardian, February 9, 2012. (accessed July 8, 2013)
  5. ^ "Oklahoma Elections". OKLAHOMAN. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Lankford Wins GOP Nod In U.S. Senate, Faces Dems Johnson Or Rogers, Independent Beard". KGOU. AP. June 24, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Reclusive, perennial Oklahoma candidate faces longtime state senator in U.S. Senate primary". OKLAHOMAN. July 3, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Former campaign worker sues Connie Johnson over alleged breach of contract". KOCO. October 6, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Connie Johnson Wins Dem Primary For Oklahoma Senate". CBSDC. August 26, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Oklahoma Senator cites Genesis 1:29 as basis for legalizing marijuana". UPI. June 16, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Oklahoma group using Bible scripture in push to legalize pot". KFOR-TV. June 13, 2014. Retrieved July 11, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Rogers
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
(Class 3)

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