M. Scott Carter

StickWare / Flickr

Two combat veterans, a contentious state schools superintendent race, and Oklahoma's first African-American female Senate candidate face Oklahoma voters this week.

Early voting began Thursday and continued into the weekend, and the winners in Tuesday's runoff advance to November's election to square off against nominees who found out their fate just over two months ago after the June 24 primary.

KGOU News Director Ben Fenwick gathered University of Oklahoma political scientist Keith Gaddie, Oklahoma Watch political reporter M. Scott Carter, and eCapitol News Director Shawn Ashley to discuss some of the implications of what's left on the ballot.

Here are three contests they're keeping an eye on:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Tourism Commission on June 26 voted to strip Hugo Lake of its state park status, citing low attendance.

The commission acted “quietly,” but State Sen. Jerry Ellis (D-Valliant) responded loudly, The Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports:

On Aug. 2, Ellis sent a letter to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin asking that the Tourism Commission reconsider the status of the park using factual information.

In 2007, Gov. Brad Henry signed some of the country’s strictest anti-immigration legislation into law.

House Bill 1804 by State Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) made it a felony for the state to provide education and health care services to illegal immigrants, and requires police to investigate the immigration status of anyone “suspected” of being in this country illegally.

Six years later, the controversial law and its effect on people form the basis for Oklahoma native Rilla Askew’s fourth novel Kind of Kin.

“I'm always writing about the coming together and the clash between cultures and races in Oklahoma,” Askew says. “I was disturbed by the notion of a bill like that.”