5 things to know about Oklahoma's primary election

The Associated Press



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma holds an unusually busy primary election Tuesday as voters pick nominees for two U.S. Senate seats, several competitive U.S. House seats, legislative posts and statewide offices, including governor.


Here are five things to know about the election:


— U.S. SENATE SEATS: Republican U.S. Jim Inhofe faces four primary challengers in the race for his full six-year term. Also, seven Republicans and three Democrats are fighting to become their party's nominee in the race for the final two years left on the term of Republican U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who announced in January he was stepping down for health reasons.


— CONGRESSIONAL SEATS: Oklahoma has one open congressional seat — the 5th District in Oklahoma City — which features six Republicans and three Democrats vying for the post being vacated by current U.S. Rep. James Lankford, a Republican running for the U.S. Senate. There will be Republican and Democratic primaries in eastern Oklahoma's 2nd District, currently held by first-term Republican U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, and in the 4th District that stretches from Oklahoma City to the Texas border, where Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cole is seeking a seventh term. In the sprawling 3rd District that includes all of western Oklahoma and stretches into parts of the Tulsa and Oklahoma City suburbs, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas faces two primary challengers.


— STATEWIDE RACES: Republican voters will have the final say in two winner-take-all races on Tuesday for insurance commissioner and corporation commissioner, since no Democrats filed for either of those posts. Gov. Mary Fallin will face two pro-marijuana Republicans in that primary. And in the race to become Oklahoma's superintendent of public instruction, four Democrats and three Republicans are vying for their party's nomination.


— INDEPENDENTS LIMITED: Oklahoma has a closed-primary system, so only Republicans and Democrats get to vote in their own party's primaries on Tuesday. Oklahoma's roughly 239,000 registered independents still have a chance to vote on nonpartisan contests for judgeships or various municipal or county elections, but will have to wait for the general election on Nov. 4 to vote in most races. Independent candidates, meanwhile, automatically advance to the general election.


— PRIMARY RUNOFF: If no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote in a primary, the top two vote-getters advance to the Aug. 26 primary runoff election.