Republicans looking to gain seats in the Oklahoma House

The designated leader of the GOP-controlled House said Republicans could pick up two additional seats in the Nov. 6 election, which would give then a record high.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: November 4, 2012
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Shannon said he and Fallin went door-to-door in Tulsa campaigning for Katie Henke for the house District 71 seat, which remains unfilled after Dan Sullivan resigned the post in December.

Henke lost the race in an April 3 special election by three votes to Democrat Dan Arthrell. A manual recount of the votes a week later showed Henke won by a single vote. But shortly after the Tulsa County Election Board certified the recount results, two ballots — both cast for Arthrell — were found by precinct workers, which if counted, would have made him the winner by one vote. The matter went to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which ruled it was impossible to determine with mathematical certainty who won and threw out the election results.

Shannon and the governor also campaigned for Republican Terry O'Donnell, of Catoosa, in the House District 23 seat. He's opposed by Democrat Shawna Keller, of Tulsa. They also attended a rally for Atoka Mayor Charles McCall, who is seeking the House District 22 seat. He's opposed by Doris Row, of Sulphur.

Thirty-four House seats will be decided in Tuesday's election. Twenty-two are held by incumbents — 16 Republicans and six Democrats.

After the 2010 elections, Republicans had a 70-31 majority in the House, its largest advantage ever. Two deaths and an unfilled vacancy put the tally at 67-31 at the end of this year's session.

After the primary and runoff elections, House Republicans hold a 47-20 majority.

The only incumbent to lose so far is Rep. Guy Liebmann, R-Oklahoma City.

Nearly 60 percent of the 86 members of the House seeking re-election won another term without being contested: 52 House members seeking re-election didn't have an opponent and two other open seats were taken when only one candidate filed during the April filing period.

Winners of this year's legislative races will be sworn into office Nov. 14 at the Capitol. The session starts Feb. 4 and runs through late May.

Shannon said the GOP House candidates are campaigning hard, but also are helped by an unpopular president heading the ballot in Oklahoma.

“That helps to have a strong person on top of the ticket like Mitt Romney,” he said. “But I just think Republican enthusiasm across the state is off the charts and so that's going to help us, too. We think we've certainly got the wind in our sail and the momentum going into Tuesday.”