Oklahoma’s suddenly volatile political landscape is daily turning even more rumbly. A primary election such as the state has not seen in many years is June 26, and its outcome will do much to determine the state’s direction in the decade ahead.
Primaries are a good indication of where the parties are headed, and have often rendered the November general elections anti-climatic, and even unnecessary.
Not nearly as much will be settled in this primary because of the large number of people seeking public office – 435 for the 125 legislative seats, 15 for governor, and hundreds of others for Congress, secondary statewide offices, district attorney and judge.
But the primary results and the type of candidates entered in them will say a lot about who voters want making decisions in the next four to 10 years, and what the parties’ and the state’s priorities will be.
The Tulsa area has more than 30 legislative seats up for election this year, and all but two – House District 73 and Senate District 34 – are contested. More than 20 have at least one primary next month.
Among the more interesting:
HD 68, where four Republicans, three Democrats, a Libertarian and an independent are competing for an empty seat.
This district, which runs through southwest Tulsa County from the big bend in the Arkansas River to Glenpool, has been safely Republican, but it includes most of the precincts that delivered a shocking Democratic victory in last year’s SD 37 special election.
The HD 68 field includes at least five teachers plus a parent activist.
HD 98, on the other side of Tulsa County, is another open seat that has attracted nine candidates, many with education ties. One is Democrat Kilmyn Easley-Graf, whose father, Kevin Easley, and grandmother, Mary Easley, both served in the Legislature.
HD 71, five Republicans have signed on to hold an open seat that Democrats have been trying to flip for a decade.
In HD 80, Republican incumbent Mike Ritze appears to face his toughest re-election battle. Two challengers have signed up for the GOP primary, and three Democrats have entered the fray in a district historically unkind to their party.
Finally, some numbers to ponder as what promises to be a long political year shifts into a higher gear:
360 – Candidates for the state’s 101 House of Representatives seats.
75 – Candidates for the 24 state Senate seats up for election this year.
8 – Oklahoma County Democratic legislators unopposed.
2 – Tulsa County Democratic legislators unopposed
0 – Oklahoma and Tulsa County Republican legislators unopposed.
16 – House members unopposed.
4 – Senate members unopposed.
12 – Republican candidates for House District 81 in Edmond.
9 – Total candidates for HD 98 in Broken Arrow and Wagoner County.
78 – Age of Terry Hopkins, Democratic candidate for state representative from District 26 in Shawnee.
21 – Age of Tara Joe Thompson, Democratic candidate for state representative from District 42 in south central Oklahoma.
7 – Libertarian legislative candidates, all for the House.
2,039,824 – Registered voters in Oklahoma as of 11:01 a.m. Friday.
This article provided by NewsEdge.