With 578 Oklahoma candidates filing for political office and a primary election in 10 weeks, some races are shaping up as slugfests and others as slam dunks.
The three-day filing period for more than 300 state political offices in Oklahoma ended at 5 p.m. Friday.
The bid to serve out the remaining two years of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s term has set up a June 24 GOP primary race with seven contestants, including U.S. Rep. James Lankford and former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon. Six other Republicans, three Democrats and three independents will be scrapping to pick up the seat Lankford is vacating to run for the Senate.
On the other side of the coin is freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, who was the only candidate to file in the 1st District and now can look forward to a second term without a political fight.
“I look forward to continuing our work to restore constitutional integrity, economic freedom and national security,” he said.
Lankford, with his wife, Cindy, at his side, filed candidacy papers on the second floor of the state Capitol at 9:42 a.m. Friday.
“We really feel a calling to do this,” he said. “It’s something we’ve prayed through and really feel very passionate. We are supposed to do this.”
Both he and Shannon, who filed Thursday, talked about reducing the debt as a national imperative. Shannon called himself an underdog and said Lankford is supported by the Washington establishment. Lankford called that kind of talk “political spin” and pointed out he’s only been in politics three years. Before that he was director of a Baptist youth camp.
Seats up for grabs this election cycle include both U.S. senators, all five U.S. representatives, 25 state senators, 101 state representatives and nine state officers, including governor. Gov. Mary Fallin is seeking re-election to her second and final term.
Eight state Senate candidates were unopposed as were 50 state House candidates. Of the unopposed Senate candidates, seven were Republicans and one was a Democrat. Of the unopposed House candidates, 35 were Republicans and 15 were Democrats.
State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, Attorney General Scott Pruitt and State Treasurer Ken Miller all have no opponents.
Republicans have a solid majority in both chambers of Oklahoma’s Legislature. The state’s delegation to the U.S. House and Senate are all Republicans, as are all state officers.