A better turnout of voters is expected in Tuesday's special Senate race in the south Oklahoma City metro area than the anemic number who turned out in August to select the Republican nominee.
About 9.6 percent of registered Republicans in the Senate District 43 race voted in the Aug. 9 primary election won by Greg Childers of Del City.
Childers faces Democrat Kenneth Meador on Tuesday's ballot for the Senate District 43 seat that covers southern Oklahoma County and northern Cleve
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said the low turnout in August was expected because the election occurred during vacation season and in the midst of Oklahoma's hottest summer on record.
“Those factors affected the turnout,” he said.
Meador was the only Democrat to file for the post, so no Democratic primary election was needed, which also may have affected turnout.
Ziriax said he's optimistic Tuesday's election will get more response.
“From what I've heard, this race is getting a lot of attention locally on the ground within that district,” he said.
“There seems to be some excitement on both sides regarding this so I'm hopeful that at least by special election standards we would see some improved turnout compared to what we saw with the very low turnout for the special primary.”
Ziriax said it's difficult to predict voter turnout in special elections.
“I would say low to moderate turnout would be expected,” he said.
The Senate District 43 seat was reconfigured and will be moved as part of the Senate redistricting plan that was approved this year. It is moving south to cover all or parts of McClain, Garvin, Stephens and Grady counties.
Meador, from Moore, and Childers, from Del City, are political newcomers.
The seat had been held by a Democrat until 2000 when Republican Jim Reynolds was elected. Tuesday's special election is necessary because Reynolds, of Oklahoma City, resigned in July to take office as Cleveland County's treasurer. He was elected to that post in November.
Democrats have a slight edge in registered voters in the district: 44.5 percent are Democrats, 41 percent are Republicans and 14.5 percent are independents.
Childers, 41, resigned as a contractor with the postal training center in Norman to run for the Senate District 43 seat. He said he is still looking into whether to run for the new Senate District 43 seat next year.
Meador, 30, served in the Army from 2002 to 2009 including three combat missions to Iraq, is taking classes at Oklahoma City Community College. He plans to attend the University of Oklahoma next year and major in political science. Meador said he isn't going to run for the Senate District 43 seat next year. He lives in Senate District 24, which is not up for election in 2012.
Meador leads in fundraising over Childers, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Ethics Commission.
Meador reported receiving another $1,900 in last-minute contributions Monday, putting his total at $53,035. Childers has raised $47,225, which includes a $1,000 loan he made to his campaign.
Follow the elections at NewsOK.com/politics.