Oklahoma elections: Democrats compete for open House Disctrict 88 seat

Two political newcomers seek to fill the House District 88 seat that has been vacant since February. The winner of the Aug. 28 Democratic runoff election faces a Republican in November.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: August 11, 2012 at 1:02 am •  Published: August 12, 2012

Kay Floyd is trying to ignore the fact a handful of votes prevented her from winning outright the Democratic Party's nomination for the House District 88 seat.

Mike Dover, her opponent in the Aug. 28 Democratic runoff election, looks at the results of the June 26 primary election and realizes he has to work harder at selling himself. He also attributes Floyd's strong showing to her beginning her campaign about three months earlier than he did.

“By nature I'm a humble person,” said Dover, who finished second in the four-candidate race. “I certainly learned through the primary process that part of campaigning for political office is that you have to let the voters know the things you've accomplished and the things you've been successful at.”

Floyd, who received 48.4 percent of the vote in the June 26 Democratic primary, just short of the 50.1 percent needed to win, said she isn't taking her earlier support at the polls for granted. She is on her third time of going door to door in the district talking with constituents.

“It's really been a wonderful experience,” she said.

Out of 1,563 votes cast in the district, which covers mostly historic neighborhoods north and west of downtown, Floyd missed the simple majority by 26 votes. About 17 percent of the registered Democrats voted in June.

The winner of the Aug. 28 runoff faces Aaron Kaspereit, who won 59.2 percent of the vote in the June 26 GOP primary election. The winner of the Nov. 6 general election will fill the House District 88 seat, which has been vacant since Feb. 15 when Al McAffrey, a Democrat, resigned the post after winning a special election to fill the vacant Senate District 46 seat.

Floyd and Dover both vow to fight in the Republican-controlled Legislature for issues important to constituents in the heavily Democratic district where Republicans are outnumbered by a nearly 2 to 1 margin.

Floyd, 54, said she initially thought jobs and the economy were the main issues when she considered running for the post. But she discovered education is the most important.

“We're 48th in the nation and that's just unacceptable,” she said. “It affects everything. It affects our jobs and the economy — it's just so interwoven. I was looking at a survey the other day about jobs in Oklahoma and there's actually a shortage of a skilled, educated work force. Business owners notice that and they're concerned about it.”

Floyd, a state administrative law judge who presides over disputes in state agencies, said her experience on the bench helps her deal with both sides of an issue. She resigned as a special municipal judge in Oklahoma City when she filed for the legislative seat; she will step down as administrative law judge if she wins election to the Legislature.

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