Oklahoma GOP looks to increase majority in House and Senate

There are 12 seats up for grabs in the Senate and 34 in the House of Representatives. Oklahoman Republicans hope to maintain their position and even gain a few seats.
BY MEGAN ROLLAND AND MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: October 19, 2012 at 5:51 pm •  Published: October 21, 2012

Two weeks out from the general election, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell says the GOP should maintain a majority in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

He said it's possible Republicans could pick up a few historically Democratic seats.

“We can't take anything for granted,” Pinnell said. “Just because (President Barack) Obama is very unpopular does not mean we're going to win all these races. Because of that we need to work hard and finish strong.”

One of the seats Pinnell said could go Republican is Senate District 3 in Adair County where Wayne Shaw, a Republican, and Jim Bynum, a Democrat, are trying to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, who could not seek re-election because of 12-year legislative term limits.

As of Thursday, voter registration figures from the state Election Board showed there are 23,000 registered Democrats in the district compared with about 15,000 registered Republicans.

Another Democratic stronghold is Senate District 7, where there are more than 33,000 registered Democrats compared with fewer than 9,000 registered Republicans.

But Pinnell said not to count out Larry Boggs who is running against J. Paul Lane, a Democrat, for that seat in southeastern Oklahoma.

He also said the race in Tulsa County for the seat held by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, could surprise some people. Senate District 11 has almost 26,000 registered Democrats compared with 5,500 registered Republicans.

“Those are competitive districts, but I think what we're trying to make sure is that Democrats know there's no safe Democratic seat,” Pinnell said. “We're going to compete for every one of these seats. I think we have the manpower, the financial resources and the wind at our backs to be competing in these seats.”

Republicans easily stole two Senate seats from Democrats in the primary election when Democratic incumbents chose not to seek re-election and no one from their party filed for the seats. They are the Senate District 33 seat held by Democratic Sen. Tom Adelson, of Tulsa, and the Senate District 17 seat held by Sen. Charlie Laster, of Shawnee. The Senate District 17 seat has been historically held by Democrats, including former Gov. Brad Henry who held the post when he was elected governor in 2002.

In the House, Republicans, who had a 67-31 advantage when this year's session adjourned in late May, have a 47-20 majority for the next legislation session, which will include 2013 and 2014. The 34 other seats will be filled in the Nov. 6 general election.

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