Filing Period Opens

The race for control of the House and Senate began Monday as the three-day filing period opened. Candidates and incumbents will be converging on the State Capitol and filing for offices ranging from the U.S. Senate to the State Legislature.

Candidates may file at the state and county election boards, which are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.

Not all state offices are on the election ballot this year. The four-year statewide elected offices that were on the ballot two years ago won’t be on the ballot again until 2010.

According Michael Clingman, State Election Board Secretary, 133 seats are being filled at the state level this year, and 125 are legislative seats.

In 2004, a filing period comparable to this year, 412 Oklahomans filed as candidates at the State Election Board, Clingman said.

There will be some openings in the Legislature this time because of legislative term limits and because some incumbents decided not to run again.

Republicans control the state House of Representatives with 57 members to 44 for the Democrats.

The state Senate is evenly divided — 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats.

“It will be a very competitive and important election cycle for state employees,” said OPEA Deputy Director Scott Barger. “State employees have sent a message to legislators that we will not support those who are not actively helping OPEA achieve its goals. That begins right now with our local chapters interviewing candidates and beginning to work for the candidate who provides leadership on state employee issues,” Barger said.

Federal and state offices on this year’s ballot include U.S. Senate, five U.S. House seats, two Corporation Commissioner seats, 101 state House of Representative seats and 24 state Senate seats.

“The political action branch of OPEA, OPEAPAC, will meet June 14th to make initial endorsements after the filing period is closed,” Barger said. “We are encouraging all our chapters to look into their Senate and House seats to make sure the right candidate is representing state employees’ interests.”

For more information or questions, phone Scott Barger at 1-800-880-OPEA (6732).

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