House Republicans should at least reclaim their record-high level of 70 and could win a couple more seats on top of that, the designated incoming leader of the House of Representatives said.
Designated Speaker T.W. Shannon, who campaigned for GOP House candidates Friday with Gov. Mary Fallin, said he expects all 16 Republican House members seeking re-election Tuesday to return to the state Capitol to serve new two-year terms.
“It's looking really good,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “I've been visiting with our candidates across the state. We've got some great pickup opportunities.”
Republicans have a good chance of winning two traditional Democratic seats that were moved geographically because of legislative redistricting last year. Incumbents, Reps. Purcy Walker, D-Elk City, and Paul Roan, D-Tishomingo, could not seek re-election because of 12-year legislative term limits.
The Rev. Dan Fisher, of El Reno, is expected to be the first Republican to serve in the House District 60 post, thanks to redistricting that moved the post from a predominantly Democratic area to a more evenly split district taking in much of the west Oklahoma City metro area. He's opposed by Democrat Kendra Menz-Kimble, of Hinton.
Bobby Cleveland could be the first Republican to claim the House District 20 seat. The district has been moved from heavily Democratic southern Oklahoma north to an area that covers parts of Cleveland, Garvin, McClain and Pottawatomie counties. Cleveland, of Slaughterville, is opposed by Matt Branstetter, of Noble.
“We're at 67 now and I think those will probably put us at 69 and I think we're going to be somewhere around 71 or 72 easily,” Shannon said.
Democrats are expected to keep the House District 88 seat vacated by Al McAffrey, who was elected to the state Senate in a special election earlier this year as well as reclaim the six seats to be decided Tuesday. Democrat Kay Floyd is challenging Republican Aaron Kaspereit for the Oklahoma City seat.
Reps. Aaron Stiles, R-Norman, John Bennett, R-Sallisaw, and Josh Cockroft, R-Tecumseh, are involved in close races, Shannon said. Bennett, opposed by Democrat Rick Agent, of Sallisaw; Cockroft, opposed by Democrat Randy Gilbert, of Tecumseh; and Stiles, opposed by Democrat Paula Roberts, of Norman; are freshmen.
“They're looking really good in the polls,” Shannon said.
Shannon campaigned Friday for Republican Jason Smalley, of Stroud, who is seeking the House District 32 seat. Democrat Keith Kinnamon, of Chandler, is trying to win the seat now held by former Minority Leader Danny Morgan, D-Prague.
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