Four years ago, the race to succeed then-Gov. Brad Henry was wide open.
This year, with the state's continued move to the right and no serious challenger to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, some are questioning whether it will even be a race at all.
By this point in the last governor's campaign, Fallin faced opposition on the right from then-Oklahoma Sen. Randy Brogdon and two strong Democratic candidates, then-Attorney General Drew Edmondson and then-Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.
Henry, a Democrat, had two full terms.
This year, no strong competition has emerged on Fallin's right or left.
The state has also moved to the right in the last four years, both in voter registration and in the increased dominance of Republican elected officials. Both the state House and Senate have garnered more Republican members, increasing their majority in both chambers, and there are no Democrats in the state cabinet.
While Democratic voters still outnumber the opposing party, their numbers are down more than 100,000 from 2009, and more than 30,000 more voters have registered Republican in that time frame. Voter registration for both parties hovers around 900,000.
Fallin has raised just shy of $1 million. Local political commentators agree that both Fallin's popularity and money will be hard to overcome for any potential opponent.
“Let's be honest, to beat Mary Fallin is nearly impossible at this point,” said Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. “The state economy is too good, she's too popular, and she hasn't made any fundamental mistakes that imperil the governor.”
Former Democratic state Sen. Andrew Rice agrees, saying that Fallin's ability to raise money and her popularity mean that it would be very difficult to unseat her.
“It makes it a really tough race for anybody who would step up,” Rice said. “It would be more of sort of a symbolic [race].”
While no opposition candidates have filed, R.J. Harris of Norman has publicly expressed plans to run. He said Thursday that he is in the process of filing for the race.
Harris, who ran against U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, both as a Republican and an Independent, aligns himself with the Libertarian party and plans to join the race as a Democrat this time around. He made the switch because Oklahomans with more moderate political ideals have not had a candidate of substance, he said.
“It's not the reddest state because of voter registration, it's the reddest state because conservative Democrats in Oklahoma are not getting the candidates that they want to be able to vote for, and I heard a lot of that before I made my decision to switch,” Harris said.
Many political experts, like Gaddie, believe a more traditional Democrat will eventually emerge to challenge Fallin.
“I can't name any names at this point. I'll put it to you that way,” said Wallace Collins, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party. “That doesn't mean that there aren't people looking. I think there is a very real possibility that someone else will come forward.”
One name being discussed recently is that of Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, who will be term limited after the next session. However, he said Friday that he has no plans to file for the governor's race and will instead be making a run for Grady County commissioner.
At a Wednesday campaign event in Oklahoma City, Fallin told reporters that even with a lack of opposition this far into the election cycle she is taking the race seriously.
“We've been working very, very hard, Fallin said. “We don't take anything for granted.
“And we do anticipate that there will be someone who will run against us, and we just have to wait to see who that person is.”