OKLAHOMA CITY — Dozens of Oklahoma teachers are among hundreds of political hopefuls who signed up this week to run for office during a tumultuous second week in which frustrated educators and their supporters flooded the state Capitol.
The 794 candidates who filed for office by Friday, the last of Oklahoma’s three-day filing period for offices on the ballot in November, was a record number for elections in at least 20 years, state election officials said.
Here’s what else to know about Oklahoma’s candidate filing:
SEATS UP FOR GRABS
The Oklahoma governor’s seat is the state’s top prize in November, but other seats up for grabs include all five U.S. House seats, statewide elected offices, all state House seats and half of the state Senate seats. Local district attorneys and judges also are running for office.
Ten Republicans, two Democrats and three Libertarians are seeking to replace outgoing Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who can’t run again because of term limits.
The 1st Congressional District in Tulsa is the only open U.S. House seat, and that race drew ten candidates. No U.S. House incumbent was unchallenged, and all of the statewide elected offices drew multiple candidates.
More than two dozen of those who filed for House and Senate seats this week were public school teachers inspired by the recent walkout and two-week-long protest over school funding.
“I really feel like this is my chance to be heard,” said Melanie Spoon, a middle school librarian and Edmond Republican who decided to challenge the GOP incumbent in her district.
A large group of teachers from Grove High School were on hand Friday to support their colleague Ed Trumbull, an eighth-grade science teacher who said he decided to run for the House after the Republican incumbent in his district wouldn’t support an effort to generate more money for schools.
More than a dozen Republican legislative incumbents have said they would not seek re-election, including many who announced their plans just in the last week. Included among the House members who aren’t running again are Rep. John Paul Jordan, R-Yukon, who decided to run for a judge post, and Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, who is running for district attorney.
Unlike previous election cycles where dozens of incumbents went unopposed, most incumbents drew opponents this year and those who weren’t challenged were mostly Democrats. Four Senate incumbents drew no opponents this year — Sens. Darcy Jech, R-Kingfisher; J.J. Dossett, D-Sperry; Michael Brooks, D-Oklahoma City; and Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City.
The following House incumbents also drew no opposition: Reps. Johnny Tadlock, D-Idabel; Matt Meredith, D-Tahlequah; Emily Virgin, D-Norman; Marcus McEntire, R-Duncan; Brad Boles, R-Marlow; Charles Ortega, R-Altus; Carl Newton, R-Cherokee; Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher; Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa; Collin Walke, Jason Dunnington, Shane Stone, Forrest Bennett, Mickey Dollens and Jason Lowe, all Democrats from Oklahoma City.
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