Oklahoma elections: 61 legislators already winners
BY WAYNE GREENE World Senior Writer
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
6/26/12 at 7:24 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY - Tuesday is election day, but for 61 of the 125 legislative seats available in the election cycle, the winner has already been decided.
More lawmakers won re-election to state House and Senate seats because no one filed against them this year than at any time in at least the past 32 years, a Tulsa World analysis of contemporary election records shows.
For those races that will be contested Tuesday, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Election officials encourage voters to bring a valid government-issued photo ID or a county election ID with them. Otherwise, the voter will have to sign an affidavit and cast a provisional ballot.
Voters also should confirm their polling place ahead of time.
Many polling places have been moved since the last major election.
While independent voters can't vote in partisan primaries, every registered voter in Tulsa has at least one election available - a city charter change issue that would reschedule the municipal filing period and primary elections to conform with state law.
No statewide Democratic Party primaries are on the ballot, but there are some legislative and county primary races in areas of the state.
Every registered Republican in the state has at least one election - a statewide Corporation Commission primary.
In addition to county races, the GOP primary also will feature several hotly contested legislative races pitting challengers attempting to put forward a more conservative platform than the already conservative incumbents.
While there are pockets of fierce challenges to incumbents, the 2012 election cycle features more lawmakers walking unchallenged into re-election than any cycle in contemporary history.
Fifty-four of the 101 House seats available and seven of the 24 Senate seats were unopposed, which seems to go against the anti-incumbent fervor.
Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, was among the incumbents unopposed for re-election.
"I was truly shocked when we did not see more candidates file against incumbents," he said. "With the mood of the voters, I really expected most of our representatives and senators to draw opposition."
He speculated that some potential candidates decided not to run because of the cost of a campaign or the risk of facing negative campaigning, but said he really can't explain it.
"I think the entire system has just become so despised by people," Dorman said. "They want to complain about it, but they don't want to put themselves through it, and I don't blame them a bit."
Matt Pinnell, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said he really isn't surprised by the high number of unopposed legislative candidates.
While there is an anti-incumbent mood nationally and in Oklahoma, it's mainly focused on national races, he said.
Forty-one of the unopposed legislative incumbents are Republicans; 20 are Democrats.
Original Print Headline: 61 Legislators Already Winners
Wayne Greene 918-581-8308
Danny Keim fills out a ballot for the presidential primary at the Faith Assembly church in Tulsa on Tuesday, March 6, 2012. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
A mock ballot, formatted for the the new computerized ballot counting machines, during Tulsa County Election Board training at Expo Square in Tulsa. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World