The makeup and 2023 leadership elections of the Oklahoma State Senate will be heavily determined by who wins six open seats this election season. One of these key Senate elections has already been determined after only a single candidate filed, and another half dozen incumbent senators face challengers who could change the balance of power in the Republican Caucus of the Legislature’s upper chamber.
Meanwhile, eight incumbent senators and 45 incumbent House members were reelected by default Friday when no one filed to run against them. In 2020, eight incumbent senators and 38 incumbent House members were reelected because they received no challengers.
In the House, 14 seats saw no incumbent file for reelection, six owing to term limits. But in 42 House districts, voters will head to the polls in June and/or November to choose between an incumbent and challengers.
Carter County Commissioner Jerry Alvord was the only candidate to file for Senate District 14, which will be vacated by Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore) owing to term limits. Similarly, House District 69 voters will not have a choice as to whom will replace Rep. Sheila Dills (R-Tulsa): only insurance agent Mark Tedford filed to replace her.
Five of six vacant Senate seats up for grabs
Six Republican members of the Oklahoma State Senate did not file for reelection this year:
- Sen. Marty Quinn, who represents District 2 in the Claremore area, is term-limited. He is running for the 2nd Congressional District;
- Sen. Mark Allen, who represents District 4 along the Arkansas boarder, is also term-limited;
- Sen. James Leewright, who represents District 12 in the Sapulpa area, decided not to run for reelection;
- Sen. Frank Simpson, who represents District 14 in the Ardmore area, is term-limited;
- Sen. Kim David, who represents District 18 in the Wagoner area, is also term-limited. She is running for an open seat on the Corporation Commission;
- Sen. Zack Taylor, who represents District 28 in the Seminole area, decided not to run for reelection.
The following candidates filed for those vacant seats.
State Senate District 2
For SD 2, four Republican candidates will seek to replace Quinn:
- Ally Seifried, 29
- Keith Austin, 60
- Coy Jenkins, 68
- Jarrin Jackson, 36
The winner of that primary election will face Democrat Jennifer Esau, 48.
State Senate District 4
Four Republican candidates filed for the vacant SD 4 seat:
- Keith Barenberg, 55
- Hoguen Apperson, 29
- Tom Woods, 27
- Tom Callan, 69
State Senate District 12
The June 28 GOP primary election will decide the next senator from SD 12:
- Todd Gollihare, 57
- Rob Ford, 48
State Senate District 14
Jerry Alvord, 58, won the SD 14 seat by default.
State Senate District 18
The June 28 GOP primary election will decide the next senator from SD 18, which has been relocated from eastern Oklahoma to the OKC metro area for 2022 redistricting:
- Hunter Zearley, 27
- Jack Stewart, 72
State Senate District 28
Five Republicans filed for the vacant SD 28 seat:
- Jeff McCommas, 56
- Jamey Mullin, 50
- Grant Green, 53
- Robert Trimble, 55
- Bob Donohoo, 63. (Donohoo later withdrew his candidacy.)
The Republican nominee will then face the winner of SD 28’s Democratic primary between:
- Tony Wilson, 50
- Karen Rackley, 52
Open House races worth watching
The 14 House races with no incumbent running will be worth watching as well.
Four Republicans filed for Rep. Avery Frix’s current seat in the Muskogee area:
- Neil Hays, 49
- Carisa Rogers, 48
- Brian Jackson, 62
- Steve White, 55
The winner will face Democrat Jimmy Haley, 69, in November.
Four Republicans also filed to succeed term-limited Rep. Dustin Roberts in the Durant area:
- Penny James, 58
- Ryan Williams, 38
- Dustin Reid, 30
- Cody Maynard, 36
The successor to Rep. Garry Mize in the Guthrie area will be chosen among three Republicans:
- Collin Duel, 33
- Logan Trainer, 34
- Karmin Grider, 32
Rep. Sean Roberts is term-limited from the Legislature, and his HD 36 seat was moved from northern Oklahoma to eastern Oklahoma County. Five Republicans filed to seek election:
- John George, 54
- Charles De Furia, 71
- Wade Roberts, 41
- Anita Raglin, 62
- Donald Paden, 64
House Minority Leader Emily Virgin is termed out of the Legislature, and a pair of Democrats will compete in the core-Norman district:
- Jared Deck, 42
- Kate Bierman, 34
The winner will face Republican RJ Harris, 49.
With Democrat Rep. Merelyn Bell opting not to seek reelection to her east Norman seat, Democrat Annie Menz, 34 — who has worked as an executive assistant in the Senate — will face the winner of the June 28 Republican primary between:
- Dave Spaulding, 47
- Teresa Sterling, 55
With Rep. Tommy Hardin termed out of his Madill-area district, HD 49 will be filled by either of two Republicans: retired district judge Richard Miller, 68, or Marshall County Commissioner Josh Cantrell, 47.
Rep. Todd Russ is termed out of HD 55’s Cordell-area seat, and three Republicans are competing to replace him:
- Jeff Sawatzky, 48
- Nick Archer, 37
- Tad Boone, 47
Rep. Jadine Nolan is termed out of her Tulsa-area seat, and four Republicans have filed to replace her:
- Wayne Hill, 64
- Mike Burdge, 71
- Clay Staires, 57
- Gabe Renfrow, 45
Democrat James Rankin, 63, will face the Republican nominee in November.
With Rep. Sheila Dills not seeking reelection in her Tulsa-area seat, insurance agent Mark Tedford, 52, became the new representative by default when he was the only person to file.
Rumors that Republican Rep. Carol Bush is considering a run for mayor of Tulsa were only boosted Friday when she did not file for reelection to the House. HD 70 voters will decide between Republican Brad Banks, 39, and Democrat Suzanne Schreiber, 49, in November.
Fellow Tulsa Rep. Denise Brewer, a Democrat, also did not file for reelection. HD 71 voters will decide between Democrat Amanda Swope, 34, and Republican Mike Masters, 41, in November.
Democratic Rep. Collin Walke surprised many at the State Capitol when he announced last week that he would not be filing for reelection. Democrat Ellyn Hefner, 52, will face the winner of a three-way Republican primary between:
- Valerie K. Walker, 61
- Scott Esk, 55
- Gloria Banister, 51
After Democratic Rep. Jose Cruz resigned in January after admitting to “acting inappropriately” with a female lobbyist, HD 89 in southwest Oklahoma City has not had a representative in the House this session. Three Democrats have filed to fill the seat: Arturo Alonso, 23, Chris Bryant, 66, and Cristian Zapata, 23.
45 House members reelected by default
The following Oklahoma House members won reelection Friday simply by filling out paperwork and paying the filing fee:
- Rep. Jim Olsen (R-Roland)
- Rep. Rick West (R-Heavener)
- Rep. Rusty Cornwell (R-Vinita)
- Rep. Tom Gann (R-Inola)
- Rep. Judd Strom (R-Bartlesville)
- Rep. Chris Sneed (R-Fort Gibson)
- Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R-Okmulgee)
- Rep. Jim Grego (R-Wilburton)
- Rep. JJ Humphrey (R-Lane)
- House Speaker Charles McCall (R-Atoka)
- Rep. Ronny Johns (R-Ada)
- Rep. Danny Sterling (R-Tecumseh)
- Rep. Danny Williams (R-Seminole)
- Rep. Mark Lawson (R-Sapulpa)
- Rep. John Pfeiffer (R-Orlando)
- Rep. Ryan Martinez (R-Edmond)
- Rep. Brian Hill (R-Yukon)
- Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow)
- Rep. Gerrid Kendrix (R-Altus)
- Rep. Kevin West (R-Moore)
- Rep. Dick Lowe (R-Amber)
- Rep. Carl Newton (R-Cherokee)
- Rep. Mike Dobrinski (R-Okeene)
- Rep. Kenton Patzkowsky (R-Balko)
- Rep. Daniel Pae (R-Lawton)
- Rep. Jeff Boatman (R-Tulsa)
- Rep. Lonnie Sims (R-Jenks)
- Rep. Monroe Nichols (D-Tulsa)
- Rep. Regina Goodwin (D-Tulsa)
- Rep. Mark Vancuren (R-Owasso)
- Rep. T.J. Marti (R-Broken Arrow)
- Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa)
- Rep. Meloyde Blancett (D-Tulsa)
- Rep. Stan May (R-Broken Arrow)
- Rep. Mike Osburn (R-Edmond)
- Rep. Nicole Miller (R-Edmond)
- Rep. David Hardin (R-Stillwell)
- Rep. Chris Kannady (R-OKC)
- Rep. Forrest Bennett (D-OKC)
- Rep. Mickey Dollens (D-OKC)
- Rep. Andy Fugate (D-Del City)
- Rep. Preston Stinson (R-Edmond)
- Rep. Dean Davis (R-Broken Arrow)
- Rep. Ajay Pittman (D-OKC)
- Rep. Robert Manger (R-Midwest City)
View a full list of state filings for 2022 by visiting the Oklahoma State Election Board.
(Update: This article was updated at 12:35 p.m. Thursday, April 21, to reflect Bob Donohoo’s withdrawal of candidacy for Senate District 28.)