The state is seeing the largest number of candidates sign up for state office in recent history, but one expert said that doesn’t mean Oklahomans are fed up with their government.
Folks working at the state election board expected a big turnout, but nothing like this.
“We truly didn’t,” said Pam Slater with the State Election Board. “We expected as we were leading up to the filing, we expected a nice turnout but we didn’t expect to break a record.”
Ninety-nine people registered to run for state Senate and 285 for the House of Representatives.
Analysts say the numbers mean people aren’t happy.
“I think that you could say that they’re not individually happy but I’m not ready to say the electorate is completely ready to say, you know, throw the bums out,” said Bill Shapard, president of soonerpoll.com.
Still, it’s clear with the state facing a $1.3 billion budget deficit and with across the board cuts to services and plans to increase taxes, hundreds of candidates believe they could do a better job.
“I guess that those who contributed to it were those that didn’t cut spending when we had the opportunity when revenues were high,” Shapard said. “And so that’s the reason why I think there’s a lot more interest in politics and wanting to come up with better solutions to fix the problems that we face.”
It’s important to note, because of term limits, 19 representatives and 11 senators will not be returning.
On top of that, eight representatives and one senator have decided not to run again.
That leaves 39 legislative seats where an incumbent will not be running.
Shapard pointed out though, running and winning are two much different games.
“Politics is a contact sport, and some people just don’t have the taste for it," he said.