Candidates File for Oklahoma Legislature
By: Constitution Staff
The candidate filing period for the Oklahoma Legislature this year was April 11-13. Oklahoma’s Primary Election date is the last Tuesday in June, which will be June 26 this year. For those seats in which no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the Runoff Primary Election will be held on the last Tuesday of August. The date this year will be August 28. The General Election will be held November 6.
A number of legislators were not able to run for reelection this year due to term limits. Legislators are limited to a total combined service in the House and/or Senate of 12 years. Voters overwhelmingly adopted a state question in 1990 that placed term limits on lawmakers. It took effect in 1992, but did not affect previous years of service. The Oklahoma House of Representatives has 101 members and the Oklahoma Senate has 48 members. In 2018 there were 18 legislators who could not run for reelection because of term limits, including Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz (R-Altus).
Twelve members of the Oklahoma House, five Democrats and seven Republicans, were ineligible to run again. Term-limited representatives include: Kevin Calvey (R-Oklahoma City), Ed Cannaday (D-Porum), John Enns (R-Enid), Chuck Hoskin (D-Vinita), Scott Inman (D-Oklahoma City), Randy McDaniel (R-Edmond), Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), Eric Proctor (D-Tulsa), Brian Renegar (D-McAlester), Earl Sears (R-Bartlesville), Todd Thomsen (R-Ada), and Weldon Watson (R-Tulsa). Six senators, three Democrats and three Republicans, were ineligible to run for re-election. Term-limited Senators include: Randy Bass (D-Lawton), Bill Brown (R-Broken Arrow), Anastasia Pittman (D-Oklahoma City), Mike Schulz (R-Altus), John Sparks (D-Norman), and Anthony Sykes (R-Moore).
A number of other legislators decided not to run, even though they were not term-limited. Nineteen representatives, including 15 Republicans and 4 Democrats, are not running. Five senators, all Republicans, are also not running. Some of the legislators who are not running are seeking another office rather than running for reelection. Three members of the House are not running because they chose to run for a seat in the state Senate. And, one is running for a statewide office.
Republicans currently hold a 39-8 majority in the 48 member Senate, with one seat vacant. Senators serve four-year terms, with half of the seats up for election each election cycle. The odd numbered districts will not be on the ballot until 2020. Republicans hold 22 of the odd numbered seats not on the ballot this year, with Democrats holding the other two. So, the GOP only needs to hold three of the seats up for election this year to maintain control.
Nineteen of the seats up this year are currently held by Republicans, and only four by Democrats. The vacant seat was also held by a Republican. There are 13 incumbent senators who filed for reelection, including ten Republicans and three Democrats. Four senators were automatically elected because no other candidates filed. Three of those are Democrats, and one is a Republican. Democrats did not field a candidate in one district, so a Republican will fill that seat in the primary elections. Therefore, Republicans are already guaranteed to be tied with Democrats, and only need to win one more seat to maintain control of the Senate. It is mathematically impossible for Democrats to regain control of the Senate. Even If they win all 20 of the remaining seats that they are fielding a candidate, they can only be tied with the Republicans. No Libertarians filed for any of the seats in the Senate.
All 101 House seats are up for election each election cycle. In the House there are currently 72 Republicans, 28 Democrats, and one vacant seat. There are 67 incumbents who filed for reelection in the House, 49 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Because they drew no opponents, or their opponents withdrew after filing, 16 members of the House have already been elected. That number includes and ten Democrats and six Republicans. Fifteen Republicans and four Democrats will be elected in the primary elections, since they have no opposition in the General Election. Therefore, the GOP will go into the General Election guaranteed to have at least 21 seats compared to 14 for the Democrats. There are 66 seats at stake in the General Election. The Libertarian Party is only fielding a candidate in seven of the races. Odds are that Republicans will maintain control of the House since they have more incumbents, who typically stand a better chance of being elected, on the ballot.
The following incumbents have been elected to the Senate because they had no opponents:
Michael Brooks (D-Oklahoma City)
J.J. Dossett (D-Sperry)
Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City)
Darcy Jech (R-Kingfisher)
The following incumbents have been elected to the House because they had no opponents:
Forrest Bennett (D-Oklahoma City)
Brad Boles (R-Marlow)
Mickey Dollens (D-Oklahoma City)
Jason Dunnington (D-Oklahoma City)
Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa)
Jason Lowe (D-Oklahoma City)
Marcus McEntire (R-Duncan)
Matt Meredith (D-Tahlequah)
Carl Newton (R-Cherokee)
Charles Ortega (R-Altus)
Dustin Roberts (R-Durant)
Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher)
Shane Stone (D-Oklahoma City)
Johnny Tadlock (D-Idabel)
Emily Virgin (D-Norman)
Collin Walke (D-Oklahoma City)
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