who filed for office
Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette) talks on the phone in November 2017 at the Oklahoma State Capitol. (Elizabeth Sims)

Filing for 2018 Oklahoma elections concluded at 5 p.m. today, and you might be wondering who filed for office. Equally interesting for the Oklahoma Legislature, however, could be who did not.

As 794 sets of paperwork settle and the state deposits candidate checks, the Oklahoma Election Board’s candidate list shows 18 eligible incumbent House members and four eligible incumbent Senate members have chosen to forgo further service in the Legislature.

Combined with 12 House members, six Senate members who are term-limited a vacant House seat and a vacant Senate seat, that means 42 (or 28.1 percent) of the state’s 149 legislative seats are guaranteed to be filled by new faces when the 2019 session commences. Of course, other incumbents could lose their seats in either the June 26 primary or Nov. 6 general election.

Below are lists of eligible House and Senate members who did not file for re-election.

House candidates

Rep. John Bennett (R-District 2): First elected in 2010, the Sallisaw Republican has been a lightning rod for criticism owing to a series of controversial statements he has made about Muslims, state employees and, most recently, spanking children.

Rep. Rick West (R-District 3): In 2016, Oklahomans elected four new members of the House with the surname West. A former inspector for the USDA, Rick West was a staunch opponent of the numerous revenue bills that received votes in 2017 and 2018.

Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-District 27): First elected in 2011, Cockroft was chairman of the House Rules Committee and the House Special Investigation Committee. He announced earlier in the week that he would not be seeking re-election.

Rep. Cory Williams (D-District 34): First elected in 2008, Williams has chosen to run for the state’s ninth district attorney district, which is currently held by incumbent Laura Thomas.


term limits

Seats vacated by term limits could shake up #okleg by Ben White

Rep. Dennis Casey (R-District 35): First elected in 2011, Casey could have held his seat until 2022. The vice chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, Casey is a longtime educator who spoke to the Tulsa World about his decision not to run again.

Rep. Tim Downing (R-District 42): First elected in 2016, Downing is a former prosecutor who raised hackles among some who wanted to fast-track criminal justice reform proposals. He spoke to NonDoc about being notified that a private investigator had been hired to follow him in 2017. He also regularly voted against raising revenue.

Rep. John Paul Jordan (R-District 43): First elected in 2014, Jordan is an attorney and former educator. He has filed to run for District Judge in District 2.

Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-District 45): First elected in 2014, Griffith is a candidate for Senate district 16, which is being vacated by Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) who is term limited.

Rep. Leslie Osborn (R-District 47): First elected in 2008, Osborn is a candidate for Labor Commissioner. She will face two Republican opponents in the June 26 primary.

Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-District 48): First elected in 2008, Ownbey has eschewed the opportunity for his final legislative term. Ownbey rarely faced campaign opponents during his time in office, making headlines in 2016 for his comments about whether Islam should be considered a religion worthy of First Amendment protections.

Rep. John Michael Montgomery (R-District 62): First elected in 2014, Montgomery is a candidate for Senate district 32, which is being vacated by Sen. Randy Bass (D-Lawton) who is term limited.

Rep. Glenn Mulready (R-District 68): First elected in 2011, Mulready is a Republican candidate for Insurance Commissioner.

Rep. Katie Henke (R-District 71): First elected in 2013, Henke has an education background.

Rep. Dale Derby (R-District 74): First elected in 2016, Derby is a Navy veteran and an anesthesiologist whose son, David Derby, held the seat before him.

Rep. Roger Ford (R-District 95): First elected in 2016, Roger Ford clashed with GOP leadership in October for criticizing a revenue proposal he said “will bomb.” He was part of a movement among freshmen lawmakers to seek a better culture in the House.

Rep. Michael Rogers (R-District 98): First elected in 2014, Michael Rogers was vice chairman of the House Common Education Committee.

Rep. George Young (D-District 99): First elected in 2014, Young is a candidate for Senate district 48, which is being vacated by Sen. Anastasia Pittman (D-OKC). Pittman is running for lieutenant governor.

Rep. Elise Hall (R-District 100): First elected in 2011, Hall announced on Instagram that she will not be seeking re-election.

Senate candidates

Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-District 6): First elected in 2010, Brecheen is a staunch conservative who was a field representative for former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

Sen. Eddie Fields (R-District 10): First elected to the Senate in 2010, Fields served two years in the House. He has filed as a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor.

Sen. AJ Griffin (R-District 20): First elected in 2012, Griffin announced in March that she would not be seeking re-election.

Sen. Jack Fry (R-District 42): First elected in 2014, Fry is a former Midwest City mayor and retired firefighter.

(Correction: This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. Friday, April 13, to add Rep. Leslie Osborn to the list.)