Senate District 16

(Editor’s note: In our #HotRace series, NonDoc seeks to provide a digest of candidate information that filters publicly available resources. The following candidate profiles serve as a preliminary resource for voters to conduct their own research.)

With Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman) terming out of the Oklahoma Legislature, Senate District 16 stands as an open district with three Democrats and three Republicans vying for Sparks’ seat. NonDoc has deemed SD 16 a #HotRace because it features two contested primaries in a Democratic-leaning but potentially competitive district. Democrats would like to hold Sparks’ seat and continue their recent momentum. Republicans are seeking to turn a blue district red and expand their sizable majority.

The SD 16 Democratic primary is the only 2018 senatorial race that features only women on a three-candidate ballot.

The primary will be held June 26. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in their respective primary, SD 16 voters will participate in a runoff-primary election between the top two vote-getters Aug. 28.

Senate District 16 in brief

  • Outgoing office holder: Sen. John Sparks
  • Zip codes represented: 73026, 73051, 73068, 73069, 73071, 73072, 74878
  • Counties represented: Cleveland
  • Townships represented: Norman, Noble, Slaughterville, Lexington
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Candidates appear in alphabetical order with incumbent party listed first. Photos and content have been taken from publicly available resources.

Mary B. Boren (D)

Profession: Child advocacy attorney.
Political experience: Boren has held numerous education positions, taught pre-law classes at four Oklahoma colleges and served as a school counselor. In 1993, 1994 and again in 2003, she helped then Gov.s David Walters and Brad Henry review health care and education legislation. Boren is currently finishing her Master of Education.
Platform: If elected to the Legislature, Boren states she will seek to secure stable education funding for schools, including increased funding for career technology centers and industry training centers. She states on her website that she wants to ensure that all Oklahomans can have quality jobs, health care and roads.
Links: Website | FacebookTwitterCampaign video

Claudia Griffith (D)

Profession: Small-business owner, registered nurse, current state representative; worked as a patient education coordinator and was a program consultant at Oklahoma University Health Promotions.
Political experience: Rep. Claudia Griffith (D-Norman) has served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives since 2014, serving on the Appropriations and Budget Finance and Health Committees, the Government Modernization Committee and the Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.
Platform: Griffith is a health care advocate and worked on legislation to help survivors of rape and domestic violence. Her website says she seeks to provide quality care to veterans across Oklahoma.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Aleisha Karjala (D)

Profession: Political Science professor at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Chickasha.
Political experience: Served as vice chairwoman for the City of Norman Library board and currently serves on the board of the Oklahoma Single Parent Scholarship Program.
Platform: Karjala’s website says she seeks to improve education, protect Oklahoma’s natural resources and promote economic development.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Gary D. Caissie (R)

Profession: President, Oklahoma Flight Research Center.
Political experience: In 2012, Caissie ran for Oklahoma’s Congressional District 4 against incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, receiving 12.3 percent of the popular vote in the primary.
Platform: Caissie emphasizes his belief in conservative values and believes in small government. On Facebook he has stated his belief that 9/11 was an inside job.
Links: Ballotpedia | Facebook

Ed Crocker (R)

Profession: Non-attorney member of the Oklahoma Judicial Nominating Commission until 2017.
Political experience: Crocker served as a state representative for HD 45 from 1990 until 1996. He has also worked at the Oklahoma County Assessor’s office, the Oklahoma Tax Commission, as staff coordinator for the Oklahoma State Senate Finance Committee and was the executive director of the Oklahoma Association on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.
Platform: Crocker addresses the need for civility on his campaign website. He touts the need for audits on state agencies to identify both necessary and wasteful spending, which he believes his financial background will allow him to do.
Links: Website | Facebook

Becki Maldonado (R)

Profession: Teacher at Emerson Alternative High School and currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Oklahoma.
Political experience: None.
Platform: Maldonado believes strong schools make employable people who attract good businesses. She’s stated her criticism of State Question 799, which would repeal many of the revenue increases HB 1010 would give the state.
Links: Facebook | Twitter