A few elections could determine which party controls the state Senate next year. If Republicans take the majority, it will be a first in state history.
There are 11 Senate seats up for grabs in the Nov. 4 general election, but pundits say it could come down to three key races, one in the Tulsa area, one in the Stillwater area and one in the Lawton area. Seven incumbents are trying to hold onto their seats, while candidates in four other districts are battling to fill seats opened because of term limits.
"The advantage the Republicans have will be that they’re close to unstoppable,” said Richard Johnson, chairman of the political science department at Oklahoma City University. "The GOP has done a professional job trying to achieve the majority. Getting the majority in the Senate has been a well-crafted strategy that has happened over the last 10 years or so.”
Since 2006, Democrats and Republicans have shared Senate power, with each party having 24 members. A few Senate races could change that.
In the Stillwater area, former judge Robert Murphy and former Oklahoma State University President James Halligan battle for the District 21 seat vacated by Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, who cannot run because of term limits.