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Nancy C. Riley (born June 20, 1958) represented Oklahoma State Senate District 37 which is located in Tulsa County and includes Bixby, Jenks, Lotsee, Tulsa and Sand Springs from 2000 to 2008. Riley grew up in Tulsa and graduated from Edison High School. She attended Oklahoma Christian College for three years, then married and started a family. Riley's first husband died from a brain tumor. During that time Riley was forced to live on food stamps. She later graduated from Langston University and began teaching elementary school in the Tulsa Public Schools system.[1]

Nancy Riley
Member of the Oklahoma Senate
from the 37th district
In office
November 2000 – 2008
Preceded byLewis Long Jr.
Succeeded byDan Newberry
Personal details
Born (1958-06-20) June 20, 1958 (age 61)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (before 2006)
Democratic (2006–present)
Spouse(s)Jerry Riley
Alma materLangston University

Early lifeEdit

Nancy C. Riley was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 1958. She graduated from Edison High School in 1976. Until she married, Riley lived in the same house her entire life. Riley was the youngest of four children, with her oldest brother being twenty years her senior.

State SenateEdit

Riley was elected as a Republican in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 still as a Republican. In 2006 Riley ran for the office of Lt. Governor as a Republican where she came in third and received 41,984 votes or 23.46%.[2] Her showing was strong enough to force a runoff between House Speaker Todd Hiett and Senator Scott Pruitt.

Following the July 25 primary Riley surprised everyone when she announced that she was switching parties to become a Democrat. Before she switched parties the Democrats had a slim one seat margin in the Senate, illustrating the importance of her move. She felt that moderates like herself were no longer relevant in the Republican party, although many say personality conflicts with the Party were more important.[3]

The driving force in my decision is that no one in leadership is listening to moderates in the Oklahoma Republican Party.[4]

In April 2007 GOP Senate leader Glenn Coffee saw defeating Riley as the top priority in 2008. Democrats have made it a top priority to retain Riley. Riley said after the 2007 legislative session that she feels more independent in the Democratic caucus, and can vote her own way rather than the party line.[5] Riley served as Democratic Whip, Co-Chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Human Services, and on the Appropriation, Education, Transportation, and Retirement and Insurance committees.[6]

On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, Senator Riley's bid for a third term in the state Senate ended when she was defeated in the general election by the Republican candidate, Tulsa businessman Dan Newberry.[7]

Election resultsEdit

General Election November 4, 2008[8]

Candidate Votes %
  Dan Newberry 23,059 63.43%
  Nancy Riley 13,292 36.57%

General Election November 7, 2004[9]

Candidate Votes %
  Nancy Riley 22,327 65.33%
  Dan Giddens 11,847 34.67%

General Election November 2, 2000[10]

Candidate Votes %
  Nancy Riley 12,641 50.53%
  Lewis Long 12,376 49.47%


  1. ^ State Senator Nancy Riley Background Archived August 18, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "2006 Primary Results". State Election Board. Archived from the original on 2006-12-18. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  3. ^ Hoberock, Barbara and Mick Hinton. "Senator bolts abhorrent GOP", Tulsa World (accessed May 14, 2013)
  4. ^ "State Senator Nancy Riley Changes Party Registration". Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  5. ^ Barbara Hoberock (June 3, 2007). "GOP-turned-Dem senator reflects on past session". Tulsa World. Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved 2007-06-14.
  6. ^ Nancy Riley -- Women of the Oklahoma Legislature Oral History Project
  7. ^ GOP Takes Control of Oklahoma Senate, Tulsa World, Nov. 4, 2008.
  8. ^ "2008 General Results". State Election Board. Archived from the original on October 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  9. ^ "2004 General Results". State Election Board. Archived from the original on 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-04-08.
  10. ^ "2000 General Results". State Election Board. Archived from the original on 2006-11-26. Retrieved 2007-04-08.

External linksEdit