With the filing period for state offices now closed, OPEA is excited about the opportunities for state employees to have an impact on the fall elections.
“OPEA has been frustrated with the lack of cost-of-living pay raises for state employees,” said Scott Barger, OPEAPAC Director General. “There are several opportunities–made possible by incumbents deciding not to run–for state employees to have a significant impact on who gets elected to the seat. Our local chapters need to be getting together with OPEA staff, conducting interviews with the candidates, and deciding whom to support.”
OPEAPAC points to House District 48 in Ardmore where Greg Piatt, the former majority floor leader, is calling it quits. “This is an important seat for both parties and our members in Ardmore can play a big part,” Barger said. He also pointed to House District 47 near Chickasha where Susan Winchester is stepping down. “Republican Leslie Osborn and Democrat Harold Jackson have filed for the seat. We also have a lot of members in this district.”
Also filing Monday was David Hopper, a Norman Republican running for House District 45, which is currently filled by Democrat Wallace Collins. “Representative Collins has authored pay raise bills for state employees over the past two years and is a strong advocate and friend of OPEA,” Barger said. “We need to make sure he returns.”
Former Oklahoma State University President Jim Halligan filed as a Republican candidate in Senate District 21, and Associate District Court Judge Robert Murphy filed as a Democratic challenger. The seat is open due to the term-limited status of Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater. “This seat may determine control of the Senate for the next two years,” Barger added.
One notable absence involves former House Speaker Lance Cargill, R-Harrah, who has yet to file in House District 96. Democrat Dianne Hunter of Edmond and Republican Mike Idleman of Choctaw have both filed.