Candidates for Most Offices Will Run Unopposed This Year

Apr 14, 2014

Oklahomans will vote for candidates in more than 300 offices from U.S. senator to district attorney this fall, but about 60 percent of the races will have just one candidate.
Credit KWGS News File Photo

Candidate filings are in, and more than 60 percent of the candidates for elected offices in Oklahoma will be unopposed this year.

Out of 126 races for state legislature seats, 56 have just one candidate. Brandon Lenoir is a political science professor at Oklahoma State University. He said there are two things to consider about uncontested offices.

"Obviously it doesn't give voters much of a choice, but at the same time, if the voters were upset with the incumbent, odds are there would be a candidate who would step forward," Lenoir said.

Incumbents will run unopposed this year in dozens of races for elected offices, from district attorney to state auditor. Lenoir said if they continue raising money, it will only get tougher for challengers.

"You're going to have to raise enough money to elevate your visibility to that of what the incumbent already has and then still be able to go toe-to-toe with them on ad buys," Lenoir said. "You have a pretty big hill to climb when you're challenging a seated incumbent."

A congressional seat is also uncontested after incumbent Jim Bridenstine was the only person to file for the first district race.