2012 elections preview: Oklahoma voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries

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June 25, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional and State legislative teams

The fast-moving primary season of May and June continues tomorrow with elections in Oklahoma.

Here's what to watch for in Oklahoma, where polling places will be open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm Central Time.

Contested Primaries in Oklahoma -- June 22, 2012
U.S. House
(5 seats)
State Legislature
(125 seats)
Total Democratic Contested Primaries 3 (60.0%) 11 (8.8%)
Total Republican Contested Primaries 4 (80.0%) 37 (29.6%)

U.S. House

United States House of Representatives elections in Oklahoma, 2012

Oklahoma has a total of five seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 28 candidates have filed to run, made up of 13 Republicans, nine Democrats, and six Independents. Only four of the five incumbents are running for re-election. Rep. Dan Boren (D), who currently represents the 2nd congresional district, has decided to retire after his term expires. Of the other four, the only incumbent not facing a primary challenge is Rep. James Lankford (R) of the 5th district.

The open 2nd district is the most hotly contested primary seat this year. Because it is an open seat, it has also received the most attention. Six Republicans, three Democrats and one Independent are all running to replace Boren. Though Boren is a Democrat, most expect the district to switch this year from blue to red. Both the Cook Political Report[1] and the Sabato Crystall Ball rate the race as "lean Republican."[2]

In a poll released earlier this month, business owner Markwayne Mullin came in first place at 30 percent. His closest opponent, state Rep. George Faught was 15 points behind, coming in at 15 percent. Business owner Wayne Pettigrew received four percent in the poll, while 34 percent of respondents said they were undecided. Though Mullin is the frontrunner - in both money and support - his candidacy has also probably received the most scrutiny. Several media reports have questioned his ties to a former Mullin Plumbing employee who was arrested and convicted on federal gun charges.[3]

The Democratic primary has received less attention. Of the three candidates - Earl Everett, Wayne Herriman, and Rob Wallace - Herriman has led in the money race, outraising and outspending both his opponents.[4] [5]

In the 1st district, incumbent Rep. John Sullivan (R) is facing a tough primary opponent in Jim Bridenstine. Bridenstine and Sullivan have sparred relentlessly during the primary campaign. At one point Sullivan accused Bridenstine, who for almost two years was head of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, of leaving the museum in a state of financial decay. In what was viewed as an unprecedented move, the museum's attorney released a statement defending Bridenstine's record and calling on Sullivan to retract the statement.[6]

A poll taken in mid-May had Bridenstine narrowly leading of Sullivan, 34.16 percent to 32.92 percent. Another 32 percent, however, were undecided.

Members of the U.S. House from Oklahoma -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 1 0
     Republican Party 4 5
Total 5 5

State legislature

Oklahoma State Senate elections, 2012 and Oklahoma House of Representatives elections, 2012

There are 125 total legislative seats with elections in 2012 -- 24 Senate seats and 101 House seats.

There are 11 (8.8%) contested Democratic primaries and 37 (29.6%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 48 (19.2%) races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 19.2% figure of contested primaries in Oklahoma is lower than the current national contested average of 20.02% for states that have had filing deadlines.

Oklahoma State Senate

In the Senate, there are only 13 contested primaries out of the possible 46 primaries, a percentage of only 28.3%.

  • There are 8 open seats in districts 3, 7, 11, 15, 17, 33, 43, and 45.
  • District 25: Incumbent Mike Mazzei faces competition from Republican challenger Ronda Vuillemont-Smith to decide the seat. No Democratic candidates filed to run in the general election.
  • District 37: Incumbent Dan Newberry faces competition from Republican challenger Mark Croucher to decide the seat. No Democratic candidates filed to run in the general election.
  • District 45: Republican candidate Kyle D. Loveless will run unopposed in the Republican primary, as well as in the general election, after Mark Schwieso was disqualified due to a challenge filed by Loveless. Schwieso also refused to pay a deposit after a hearing regarding the challenge in April 2012.[7] Loveless essentially earns the seat by default, and will take over for incumbent Steve Russell (R) who is not running for re-election.[7]

Oklahoma House of Representatives

In the House, several incumbents face primary challenges that will decide the seat, as well as several open seats drawing significant competition in the primary. Only 35 primaries are contested out of the possible 202 primaries, equal to 17.3% of all possible primaries being contested.

Oklahoma State Senate
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 16 12
     Republican Party 32 36
Total 48 48

Oklahoma House of Representatives
Party As of November 5, 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 31 29
     Republican Party 68 72
     Vacancy 2 0
Total 101 101

See also

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