We are less than one month away from the end of the state legislative session.
Constitutionally, it has to adjourn sine die no later than 5 p.m. on the last Friday in May. My guess is the members will get out early, but how early is anyone’s guess. They still haven’t reached a budget agreement and you’ll need a minimum of one-week to run all the bills that go into crafting the FY2023 budget.
I think there are a lot of members who want to wrap up session as quickly as possible for one reason and one reason only: The 2022 primary elections are on June 28 and a good number of representatives and senators have races. It is going to be an exciting election year in Oklahoma at both the state and federal level.
April 13-15 were the three days where Oklahomans could submit their paperwork to run for elected office in Oklahoma, and file they did. There were an overwhelming number of candidates once the dust settled at 5 p.m. on the last day of filing. There were 569 individuals who filed this election cycle. I wanted to spend a minute talking about the federal races and key statewide races. We will spend a little time on the state legislature races, but the main action this year will be on the federal seats.
United States Senator
(Sen. Inhofe’s unexpired term)
I’ve looked at several polls regarding this race and they all seem to say the same thing: there are three main Republican candidates and the real question is who will make the runoff in August. A candidate must receive 50% +1 vote to avoid a runoff. If there isn’t a candidate who receives that percentage, the top two vote-getters will advance to the runoff.
The three main Republican candidates are Markwayne Mullin, T.W. Shannon and Luke Holland. Former Rep. Kendra Horn is the lone Democratic candidate in the race and will be a formidable candidate in the general regardless of who she’s up against.
United States Senator
(Sen. Lankford — Incumbent)
Sen. James Lankford, according to the polls, has a significant advantage over his fellow Republicans in this race. He should cruise in the primary and also the general election. The thing I find confusing is there are six Democratic candidates filed to run against a strong incumbent as to where there was only one who filed to run in the other U.S. Senate race, which is open.
U.S. Congressional District 1
(Rep. Kevin Hern — Incumbent)
This race won’t have a primary in June, only a general election in November. Rep. Hern is polling at very high numbers and shouldn’t have any issues winning re-election.
U.S. Congressional District 2
This was the congressional district seat previously held by Markwayne Mullin, who is now running for the U.S. Senate. In my opinion, this is the most interesting federal race in terms of who has filed to run. I’ll give this one a little more attention than others as it involves sitting legislators. Similar to the U.S. Senate seat to replace Inhofe, the race for CD 2 is most likely headed toward a runoff in August. Below is a little more information on some of the candidates:
Dustin Roberts (R) — currently a state representative.
Marty Quinn (R) – currently a state senator.
Avery Frix (R) – currently a state representative.
David Derby (R) – former state representative.
Josh Brecheen (R) – former state senator.
Bulldog Ben Robinson (I) – banker from Collinsville/former state senator.
As you see are a lot of folks in this race that have political experience. It’s going to be a battle in the Republican primary. This district runs from the Kansas border down the eastern part of the state to the Texas line. It’s far too early for predictions or even accurate polling on this race.
U.S. Congressional District 3
(Rep. Frank Lucas — Incumbent)
Rep. Lucas has always performed well in elections, all polling indicates he should win the primary without going to a runoff.
U.S. Congressional District 4
(Rep. Tom Cole — Incumbent)
Rep. Cole will likely win the primary outright and move on to the general election where he will win another term in Congress.
U.S. Congressional District 5
(Rep. Stephanie Bice — Incumbent)
Rep. Bice will win this seat in November, but it may not be as lopsided as some of the other congressional races. Four years ago, this seat was won by a Democratic candidate, Kendra Horn, who ran the perfect campaign and was the perfect candidate. While I’m sure the other candidates in this race are good folks, the stars aren’t going to align again in 2022.
• • •
In regards to filings for state senate and the state house, there weren’t a lot of surprises.
The biggest takeaway was how many people were elected at filing. If you are the only person to file for a state senate or state house seat you are automatically elected and don’t have to do any campaigning.
When filing was officially over, five Republicans and three Democrats were elected at filing in the state senate. In the House, there were 38 Republicans and eight Democrats elected at filing.
• • •
In next month’s article, I’ll have a full legislative session recap on the bills the OBA is involved with, and all the highlights and lowlights of what did or didn’t happen in the final weeks of session.