Candidates for office this week are filing with the state Election Board, meaning that a fair number of incumbents will know who their challengers are amid the legislative session. In previous years, candidate filing occurred in June.
And how might this early jump on campaign season impact legislators still facing politically sticky votes on tax cuts, bond issues, abortion, guns and God-knows-what?
“It actually is the best thing in the world for lawmakers,” said University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie. “They’re going to know if they have an opponent or not, and there are a ton of tough votes that have to come up yet. That means for a lot of lawmakers, if they don’t have an opponent, can make the tough votes or vote knowing that they’re not going to attract a challenger.”
In other words, look for unopposed incumbents to grow a pair.