Now that the 2014 candidate filing period is over, we have a better idea of what the coming months of campaigning are going to be like. Unfortunately, things are not looking up for fans of political engagement.
One of the biggest points of worry is the vast number of seats that have no competition at all. Of course, not everyone feels this is a negative. The Tulsa World has published an editorial in which they applaud the vast number of seats that received no challenge during the filing period.
Filing for political office wrapped up Friday, meaning the campaign season has started.
Before things get too involved in that debate, we would like to take a minute to congratulate the candidates who have already won — those who brought no opposition in the election.
Whether because their credibility with the public is so substantial, their political presence is so daunting or their opposition so disorganized, a lot of officeholders were guaranteed another term in office, which deserves public acknowledgement.
They close the editorial in much the same way.
But before that gets rolling, we congratulate the ones who have already won. Your willingness to lead the community and serve the people is laudable. You have our thanks and our best wishes.
But is this really something that is worthy of applause or congratulations? When we look at the numbers, we really don’t see anything worth congratulating.
Of the five US Congress seats, one received no competition. District 1 Rep. Jim Bridenstine will be able to take his seat in Washington with no real effort or challenge. On the state level, we have 8 uncontested Senate seats and 50 uncontested House seats. That is 46% of all state legislative seats.
When we add in the 4 Senate and 14 House seats that will be decided in Oklahoma’s closed partisan primaries. This means that 57% of Oklahoma’s legislative seats will be decided without the approval of the vast majority of their voters.
Is it really any wonder why Oklahoma has such low voter engagement?
On a more positive note, there are the three major statewide elections that will allow for a lot of civil engagement with voters. We have very active races for both US Senate seats and the Governor. All three races have candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties and from Independents.
But for all those voters in US Congressional District 1 and all those voters from the state legislative districts with no November election we express our condolences. We wish you the best in coming years. We know it must be difficult to not have any say in who represents you.