Election Watch: Legislature

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Oklahoma lawmakers returned to the Capitol Sept. 25 for the state's first special session since 2013. Follow our rolling coverage of developments as lawmakers look to bridge a $215 million shortfall caused by the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling that the Legislature unconstitutionally passed a $1.50 cigarette fee earlier this year.

The 56th Oklahoma Legislature will convene in February next year, and will face some of the same serious challenges that weighed on the 55th, driven by a severe budget shortfall.

On Tuesday, despite predictions of some Democratic gains, voters gave Republicans a firmer grip on both legislative chambers. Republicans will occupy 42 of 48 Senate seats and 75 of 101 House seats. That represents net gain of three seats in the Senate and four seats in the House.

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More results


Senate results

GOP Senate candidates win every contested race and improve their majority in the chamber.


Close races

As of 9 p.m., here are some of the closer legislative races right now:
– DeWayne Pemberton (R) at 52.76 % to Jack Reavis (D) at 47.24 percent with 23 of 32 precincts reporting for Senate District 9 (currently Democratic controlled)
– Dave Rader (R) at 51.81% to John Waldron (D) at 48.19% with 29 of 38 precincts reporting for Senate District 39 (currently Republican controlled)
– Matt Jackson (R) at 47.61% to Cyndi Munson (D) at 52.3% with 7 of 16 precincts reporting for House District 85 (currently held by Munson)


What to Expect When Polls Close


The Money Tap

More than $8.3 million has been spent on Oklahoma legislative races already. And tens of thousands of additional dollars have been spent during the final days of the campaign, according to new independent expenditure filings. Unlike typical contributions, independent expenditures don’t flow directly to a candidate. Instead, they pay directly for campaign ads, mailers and other activities and must be made without the coordination or solicitation of the candidate.


The McAlester News-Capital is reporting that the son of Joel Kerns, the Democratic candidate in the Senate District 7 race, died today at the McAlester Regional Health Center.


Could be another race to watch Tuesday: Tammy West (Republican) against Will Hollander (Democrat) for control of Sally Kern’s current seat in House District 84.


Legislators, judges and state officials converse in the House chambers after Gov. Mary Fallin's "State of the State" address on Feb. 1.

Michael Willmus / Oklahoma Watch

Legislators, judges and state officials converse in the House chambers after Gov. Mary Fallin’s “State of the State” address on Feb. 1.

New Voter Registration Numbers
Reveal Most Vulnerable Incumbents

Voters will decide on Tuesday whether to re-elect 53 incumbent legislators or choose many new faces to be part of the 56th Legislature.

Incumbents typically have the advantage, and most are expected to win. But recently released voter registration numbers indicate some are facing potentially tough battles and could be defeated.

Read more…


With four days left to go, the Oklahoma Republican Party and Oklahoma Democratic Party are working on get-out-the-vote efforts.



Your Personal Cheat Sheet

Need a cheat sheet to help you follow the legislative races? Click or tap here  to see and print out lists of candidates and maps for House and Senate districts.

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Where the Money Is = Races to Watch

With scant public polling on Oklahoma’s legislative races, newly released campaign finance information offers clues on which races could be close and bear watching on Election Day.

An Oklahoma Watch analysis of data shows that the 202 legislative candidates running in contested general election have raised more than $8.3 million this election cycle. That averages out to about $41,225 per candidate.

But some races are generating more interest than others and highlight where donors are focusing their efforts.

Read more and learn what races to follow on election night.


Running from Clinton?

Are Democratic candidates for the Legislature staying clear of Hillary Clinton? There are signs it is happening.

Scott Inman

Scott Inman

Take House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, who is running for his last term in House District 94 against Jason Sansone. In a Facebook Live post on Tuesday, Inman said, “I have no desire to talk about the race for the White House. It is an ugly and depressing venture … If you say, what should you do when it comes to the presidential race? That’s up to you. And I’m not going to talk about it.”

nick-atwood-postcardIn House District 26, which includes Shawnee, Democrat Nick Atwood’s postcards and website don’t mention his party affiliation, though he mentions he worked for Gov. Brad Henry. They focus on state issues. A counter move on behalf of Republican opponent Dell Kerbs came this week from Majority Fund, a conservative PAC, which mailed out a postcard trying to connect Atwood to Clinton. “If Nick Atwood supports Hillary Clinton … do you support Nick Atwood?”