Final day surge yields 586 candidates for Campaign 2010

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 10-Jun-2010

A total of 586 candidates filed for state and federal elective offices in Oklahoma this year. That is the second highest in the past decade. In 2006, 594 candidates filed for office, while 574 took the plunge in 2002.

In the governor’s race, a competitive time is likely ahead for the two Democrats, Lt. Governor
Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmondson.

Several Republicans filed for the top job. U.S. Rep.
Mary Fallin, a former lieutenant governor, has the edge over state Sen. Randy Brogdon in the Grand Old Party’s primary, but the Owasso legislator is expected to battle intensely. “Dark horse” Republicans also filed: Roger L. Jackson of Oklahoma City and Robert Hubbard of Yukon.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, Republican Senate Floor Leader
Todd Lamb of Edmond has funding advantages over state Rep. John Wright of Broken Arrow, while Democratic Sen. Ken Corn of Poteau ramps up his effort.

Three other Republicans jumped into the fray: Bernie Adler of Oklahoma City, Paul F. Nozak of Owasso, and Bill Crozier of Hinton. Richard Prawdizienski of Edmond will be on the November ballot as an Independent.

Mark Costello and Jason Reese, political newcomers, will contend for the Republican nod in the race for Commissioner of Labor. The winner will face incumbent Democrat Lloyd Fields.

Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, a Republican, carries funding advantages into a primary joust with Tod Yaeger. The winner of that fight will be elected to a full six-year term, as no Democrat filed.

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, a Democrat who filed at mid-day Wednesday, has two Republicans seeking to take her place, including former Commissioner John Crawford, who filed in the late afternoon of the final day.

For Attorney General, Democrat Jim Priest will face either
Ryan Leonard or Scott Pruitt, the Republican candidates, in November.

Other positions up for voter consideration are Treasurer and Superintendent of Public Instruction. State Rep.
Ken Miller and former state Sen. Owen Laughlin will contend for the Republican nominee for treasurer, while Stephen Covert is the Democratic nominee.

Republican Janet Baressi and Democrat Susan Paddack (a member of the state Senate) are expected to hurdle primary challenges to face each other in November for the top schools job.

The biggest surprise of the last day of filing was the decision of Oklahoma state Republican chairman
Gary Jones to file against appointed incumbent Auditor & Inspector Steve Burrage. Jones is favored to win a primary joust with David Haniger of Edmond.

Notable developments in this year’s legislative races included the collapse of south Oklahoma City Republican state Rep. Mike Christian’s anticipated run for the state Senate seat of
Debbe Leftwich, a Democrat.

Christian stepped away from the Senate run and decided to seek reelection in the House after allegations of corruption touched him, Leftwich and controversial state Rep.
Randy Terrill of Moore. 

In seeking to retain his House seat, meanwhile, Christian will face one of a trio of Democrats. Former state Rep. Wanda Jo Peltier and former Oklahoma City school board member Wilfredo Santos-Rivera will face the challenge of Jeff Packham, who formerly worked as a Capitol reporter.

As for Terrill, he drew a Democratic opponent, Amy Corley of Newalla. She is an advocate for the rights of special needs children.

Some races feature rematches between respected candidates in both major parties, including the House District 87 contest between Republican incumbent Jason Nelson, author of the historic
special needs scholarship legislation Gov. Henry signed this week and Dana Orwig, the Democrat Nelson  defeated two years ago.

Some solons escaped opposition, including Republican state Rep. Mike Ritze of Broken Arrow, who all this year led the charge against the new
federal health care law, Rep. Guy Libemann of Oklahoma City, and Democratic Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs.

In Oklahoma City, state Rep.
Mike Reynolds, the “watch dog” of the Legislature was again the first candidate to file on Monday morning. Reynolds did not draw a Republican primary foe as he has in prior years, but will face Democratic hopeful Hollis Harper in November.

In federal races, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn of Muskogee, a Republican, is heavily favored to retain his seat, despite the entry of two other Republicans, two Democrats and two Independents.

Also favored in these early stages are the other congressional incumbents seeking reelection:
Dan Boren, Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, and John Sullivan.

Sullivan must overcome an eclectic field that includes five other Republicans. In November, the GOP nominee will have to face Angelia O’Dell, an independent. No Democrats filed for the seat.

Boren, a Democrat, might face a rocky road due to the challenge of state Sen. Jim Wilson and a field of six Republicans seeking to oust him.

Some challengers to the congressional incumbents are “Tea Party” activists or allies.

The most wide open of this year’s federal races is the Fifth District contest to succeed U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, the gubernatorial frontrunner.

Republicans seeking the job include state Rep. Shane Jett, former Rep. Kevin Calvey, Rick Flanagan, Dr. Johnny B. Roy, businessman James Lankford, state Rep. Mike Thompson, and Harry Johnson.

Democrats seeking the right to wrest the seat from GOP control include retired Professor Tom Guild, and city attorney Billy Coyle.

Independents Clark Duffee and Dave White will also be on the ballot for the seat Fallin is vacating.

The total of 586 is the second highest of this decade, and neared the 600 hopefuls that Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax had thought might file.

Third day filing proceeded at a brisk pace, with 120 new filings. That compares to 78 third day filings in 2006, and 93 in 2002.

The years 2002 and 2006 are used for comparison because they were, as this is, a gubernatorial election year. The number of offices and thus the number of candidates is always higher in gubernatorial years than in presidential years.

Candidates filed at the Capitol Building in Oklahoma City for state, federal and judicial positions over the past three days. Still ahead are potential challenges and other review of candidate qualifications.

At least one candidate has already withdrawn. Garrick Voth had filed to oppose the reelection of state Rep. Sally Kern , but he took steps to withdraw from the contest on Thursday, CapitolBeatOK has learned.