Wednesday marks the start of Oklahoma's three-day filing period for federal, state and legislative offices. What is always a busy time at the Capitol will be even more hectic this year.
The filing period used to be in mid-June, when the Capitol was quiet because the Legislature wasn't in session. But the dates were pushed up to comply with a federal law that ensures military members stationed overseas and registered voters who live abroad can vote and return their ballots in time to be counted. The new calendar places our filing period in the middle of the legislative session.
Among the offices on November's ballot are all five U.S. House seats, half of the state Senate seats and every state House seat. Oklahoma is assured of having a new congressman from District 2 because U.S. Rep. Dan Boren of Muskogee, the lone Democrat in the delegation, isn't running again. One of those seeking Boren's seat is state Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee, who has plenty of company in the ranks of lawmakers who won't be back at NE 23 and Lincoln next year.
Five representatives, including House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, are being pushed out by term limits, as are two state senators. A number of other legislators are leaving by choice. Republican state Reps. Randy Terrill and Phil Richardson, and Democrats Danny Morgan and Wes Hilliard, have chosen to do something else with their time. So have Democratic state Sens. Charlie Laster, Richard Lerblance and Judy Eason McIntyre, and Republican Sen. Steve Russell. At least one Senate incumbent will be squeezed out by redistricting.
There was already juggling at the Legislature this year as the result of two members dying and two others leaving before the session began. When the 54th Legislature opens next year, it will include more than 20 members who weren't there when the 53rd Legislature convened in 2011.
Let the stampede begin.