OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It was a busy day at the Oklahoma State Capitol on Wednesday. It’s the first of three days candidates can file for office for the upcoming November elections.
With two U.S. senatorial seats, governor, attorney general and state superintendent races on the line this fall, turnout has been strong even with the strong partisan divides in our state and country.
“This is kinda of our Super Bowl, so I’m very excited,” said Alicia Andrews, the State Democrat Party Chair.
“I was expecting longer lines. It’s really a smooth process today,” said Dr. John Cox, State Superintendent candidate.
A buzz was in the air on the newly remodeled first floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol. Wednesday kicked off three days candidates can file for November elections.
“The first day of candidate filing is kinda like drinking from a fire hose,” said Paul Ziriax, State Election Board Secretary.
Election officials say they expect closer to the standard 600 filings as opposed to 2018, when the teacher walk out fueled a record 800 candidate turnout. That was also the last time the process was in person thanks to COVID-19.
“The steady lines look good; that means a lot of people are interested in the process,” said Rep. Jon Echols of Oklahoma City.
There were some familiar faces and some fresh ones filing.
“You know it’s a little nerve racking, yes, it is. I’ve been an educator all my life and I just want to get in there and help people,” said Penny James, a state representative candidate from Durant.
“I’ve been through this 10 times before so its nice to see a change,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Cole.
Some were in from Washington, and some trying to get back to Washington to work on the division in our country.
“It’s not and it shouldn’t be just about talking to the people who agree with you. I think that’s what’s gotten us into so much trouble, is the idea that if you have a different letter after your name, we can’t talk to you,” said Kendra Horn, U.S. Senate candidate.
“First time to do this. I’ve never done this before, so yeah, brand new,” said Jackson Lahmeyer, U.S. Senate candidate.
Candidates there that were trying to step onto the national stage on the right and the left.
“It is time to bring humanity back into politics,” said Jimmy Lawson, U.S. Representative candidate, District 5.
Some candidates were trying to make it a family affair. David Spaulding is running for State Representative out of Norman.
“I’ve always grown up doing this kind of thing. So, I just wanted to come and support him and be here with him,” said Bella Spaulding, David’s daughter.
Protestors from a group called Clean Up Oklahoma were in attendance. Officials say the recent epic charter school scandal has them asking candidate to sign an anti-corruption pledge upon filing.
“There are a lot of things going on in this state that are shady, and we are here to just call it out and say it’s time to clean this mess up,” said Erika Wright of Clean Up Oklahoma.
Filing desks will be open Thursday and Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the State Capitol. For more information go to Oklahoma.gov/elections.