BY World's Editorial Writers
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
7/27/10 at 9:18 AM
In the old days in Oklahoma, when the primary election came around, you would tell your Democrat friends to remember to vote.
You would tell your Republican friends to remind their Democrat friends to vote.
Before Henry Bellmon and Ronald Reagan reinvented and re-energized the Republican Party in Oklahoma, there frankly wasn't much going on in GOP circles on primary day. The GOP primary was more of an inauguration than a political contest in the old days.
The old days are gone.
In fact, most of the interesting races in Tuesday's election are on the Republican side. Contentious races for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general are in the spotlight, but many legislative primaries feature good Republican races, too.
In fact, in some races no Democrats or independents showed up at the starting line. So the winner will be decided exclusively by Republicans. In some other races — including the 1st District U.S. Congress seat where the winner of a six-person GOP primary contest will face only a token independent candidate in the general election — the real winner might as well be decided in the Republican primary.
All of this is further testimony to the well-noted reddening of Oklahoma politics in the past two decades: The Republican primaries are increasingly important because the Republican Party is increasingly dominant in state politics.
But there are some races of interest in Tuesday's election for Democrats, including a good contest for governor and some intriguing legislative contests.
By law, partisan primaries are restricted to voters registered in the parties involved. Registered independents largely get left out of the primary election game, although they can vote in nonpartisan elections held on primary day, and this year that includes two judicial primaries in Tulsa County.
So, this primary election, you can legitimately encourage any of your registered voter friends — Democrat, Republican or independent — to remember to vote.
Remember: Election decisions are made by the people who show up, and if you don't do that, you don't have the right to complain about what happens.