Where did all these people come from? 2018 candidate filings in Oklahoma

Candidates for state, federal, judicial, and district attorney offices in Oklahoma filed their paperwork on April 11th, 12th, and 13th. The total number of candidates who filed greatly exceeds that of any recent year, although the State Election Board apparently doesn’t have complete records immediately available prior to 2000. The Libertarian Party is on the ballot for a gubernatorial election for the first time, there are more Independent candidates seeking office than at any time in recent memory, the anti-tax group Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite! sought to recruit candidates to carry it’s message, and emboldened by the teacher’s walkout that continued into the filing period, the Democrats did everything they could to ensure no Republicans went unopposed. In short, Oklahoma voters will have more candidates to choose from on election day than they have had in decades, despite the fact that filing fees were increased, some more than double, over what they were in 2016.

Here are some fun facts about Oklahoma’s 2018 elections!
  • The 14 gubernatorial candidates are the most since 1966, when 13 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and an Independent sought the office.
  • The Libertarian Party will be the first alternative party to participate in a gubernatorial election since Reform candidate Hoppy Heidelberg in 1998.
  • Every statewide and congressional office up in a gubernatorial election year will be on the November ballot for the first time since 2006.
  • The 23 Independents seeking office is the highest number going back to at least 1994.
  • With 19 unopposed state legislative candidates and 12 more seats that will be decided in a party primary, that’s 31 races that will not be on the ballot in November. 33 seats were decided before the general election in 2016.
  • The Libertarian primary is the first alternative party gubernatorial primary in Oklahoma since the Prohibition Party primary in 1938.
  • At least 15 educators are running for state legislature. 43 ran in 2016, of whom 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats were elected.
  • 514 candidates filed for state office. 218 candidates were registered with the Ethics Commission at the end of the filing period on April 13th, a legal requirement for any candidate who raises more than $1000.
  • 5 of the 9 statewide races with have three choices on the November ballot. 2 more have no Democrat running leaving John Yeutter (L) to face one of three Republicans in the State Auditor race and Charles de Coune (I) will be the alternative to Randy McDaniel (R) for State Treasurer.
  • US Rep. Tom Cole will face both a Democrat and an Independent in November, while the open seat in CD 2 will have the GOP and Democrat primary winners along with an Independent and a Libertarian for a four-way general election contest.
  • There will be 2 four-way and 19 three-way contests for state legislative seats in the general election, as well as one race, state Senate District 28, with just a Republican and an Independent.
  • Of the 125 legislative seat races, 19 will have a Democrat primary, 36 will have a GOP primary, and 35 will have both. That’s 90 races(72%) that feature a primary. As many as 41(39%) have three or more candidates and may require a runoff.
  • Several ‘Independent’ candidates have partisan ties. Lt. Gov. candidate Ivan Holmes is a former chair of the state Democrat Party. Supt. of Ed. candidate Larry Huff filed for the same office in 2010 as a Democrat. Congressional candidate Ruby Peters in CD 4 ran for state House as a Democrat in 2016. State Senate candidate Marlena Nobles in District 8 had originally planned to be the Constitution Party’s gubernatorial candidate. James Delso is running for state House in District 16, which he sought as a Republican in 2016. Richard Prawdzienski has run for office several times as an Independent and as a Libertarian and will be on the ballot again for state House District 39 with an (I) instead of an (L).