A public office that effectively lasts less than two months has yet to be filled. Offices that last two years were filled without a contest. Secure incumbent congressmen must hit the campaign trail. And two legislative candidates will take office without ever having run a campaign.
These are the headlines from the state's election filing period. Moving the primary from July to June (not so long ago it was in August) advanced the filing period to the second week of April. We thought the big story would be the turmoil of lawmakers having to campaign while the Legislature was in session.
Instead, the headlines are on the number of incumbents who drew no opponents — nearly 60 percent of House members and about a third of senators. Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, one of the most controversial lawmakers, did draw an opponent — from within her own party. Democrat Kevin Matthews and Republican Jon Echols will fill open legislative seats because nobody else filed in their districts.
Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, appointed to the office last year, drew no opponent to keep her seat through 2014. But veteran Commissioner Bob Anthony will have an opponent in the GOP primary. As expected, the open 2nd District congressional seat drew a crowd of contenders. In the other four seats, held by Republicans, the incumbents drew at least three challengers each; none has much chance of winning.
Any widespread dissatisfaction with the Legislature didn't show up in the candidate filing period. A ho-hum year in state politics — not a single statewide office will be on the November ballot — just got duller.
The big mystery? Who will take the District 71 House seat, at stake in a disputed April 3 special election. Both finishers have filed to run against each other (again) in November. One of them will be an incumbent, with less than six weeks of legislative experience.