Hundreds of candidates ranging from well-known incumbents to political newcomers submitted paperwork and paid a fee Wednesday at the state Capitol to run for elective office.
The second-floor rotunda was full of people with declarations of candidacy in hand. And where there are politicians, there often will be people trying to influence them.
Opponents of Common Core academic standards, wearing lime green shirts, collared candidates and handed out literature explaining their views.
A total of 419 candidates filed to run by the time the exercise ended for the day at 5 p.m.
Well-known incumbents, such as Gov. Mary Fallin and Attorney General Scott Pruitt, were among the early filers.
Fallin gave a plug for her efforts to fund the long-stalled American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City. She compared it to MAPS projects that have revitalized the downtown area.
“Certainly it shows the history of our culture, the Native American heritage in our state,” she said. “It’s part of our history. I think we can bring many tourists.”
Fallin, 59, is running for her second and final term as governor. She previously served as lieutenant governor, state representative and U.S. representative.
“I am term-limited so I don’t have any other plans after this,” she said.
Her opponent, Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, also filed his candidacy papers Wednesday.
“We’re in danger of losing almost a dozen hospitals in Oklahoma because Mary Fallin has refused to accept the Medicaid expansion dollars,” he said.
One of the older candidates running for office this year is Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa. He filed for his fourth full term in the U.S. Senate. Inhofe, 79, first won the seat in 1994 to complete the term of David Boren, who resigned to become president of the University of Oklahoma.
Less familiar folks also filed Wednesday, such as Grove rancher Darrel Robertson and Frederick chiropractor Greg Howard.
Robertson who has previously worked in manufacturing and as a professional fisherman, said he’s ready for a new line of employment — politics. He is challenging U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin in the Republican primary.
“Our country is kind of in a mess,” Robertson said. “I voted for Markwayne. He’s got an ambition to be a politician. We don’t need a bunch of politicians. We need business people to go up there and run the country. We need people to go up there with some ideas and write some bills.”
Mullin called himself a citizen legislator.
“I will stand every day against the career politicians and the special interests bureaucrats who want to over-regulate our lives and rob us of our freedom,” he said.
Howard, the chiropractor, is running for state representative in District 63. He said he is on the Oklahoma Board of Chiropractic Examiners and has served on a variety of community boards. He seeks to succeed Rep. Don Armes, who is term-limited.