When Oklahoma's new senators are sworn in on Wednesday, the GOP caucus will enjoy a 36-member majority over the 12 Democrats in the chamber.
“What a turnaround in Oklahoma,” said Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman. “But with that comes a lot of responsibilities.”
Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said Oklahomans are happy with how Republicans in the Senate are governing “so they're adding to the numbers.”
“We will continue to look for good candidates,” he said.
The Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage, D-Claremore, said it was a disappointment to lose two seats previously held by Democrats in southeastern Oklahoma.
“We'll be heading into this session with a 12-member caucus but looking to work with all members of the Senate to do what's right for Oklahoma, which includes properly funding education,” Burrage said. “On a brighter side, all of our incumbents won by large margins, their constituents clearly are pleased.”
Additionally, former state Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, easily defeated his Republican challenger for a seat in the Senate being vacated by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre.
“He'll be a great addition to our caucus,” Burrage said.
“It is our job to be the alternative voice when we see an issue that we don't think is best for the people of Oklahoma,” Burrage said. “That being said we look forward to working on issues that we agree upon so that we can work together to create jobs for Oklahomans and improve public education.”
Contributing: Michael McNutt, Capitol Reporter