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Oklahoma Politics

Laura Knoll / KGOU

Polls are open for Oklahoma voters to cast ballots in this year's primary election.

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In Oklahoma, Republicans will vote Tuesday on a nominee to finish the term of current GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, who is retiring at year-end with two years left to spare. For the two front-runners, Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, immigration has suddenly become an issue in the race.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The retirement of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has had a ripple effect in Sooner State politics, reaching into the Fifth Congressional District, and all the way into the Oklahoma Corporation Commission and state legislative seats.

KGOU gathered eCapitol News Director Shawn Ashley, Watchdog.org Oklahoma bureau chief and CapitolBeakOK writer Patrick McGuigan, and SoonerPoll and Shapard Research President and CEO Bill Shapard to make sense of the several hotly contested races in both the GOP and Democratic primaries.

Oklahoma Legislative Service Bureau

Key individuals involved in a so-called “dark-money” group supporting T.W. Shannon for U.S. Senate this year have had close ties with the campaign or its main consulting firm, according to state, federal and other public documents.

Those same individuals helped lead a separate independent political group in 2012 that had close connections to the consulting firm representing some state candidates also supported by the political group.

State Superintendent Janet Barresi during an April 2014 press conference announcing problems with the state's standardized testing vendor.
Nate Robson / Oklahoma Watch

The most recent campaign finance reports show State Superintendent Janet Barresi loaned her reelection campaign nearly $1 million in personal funds last month. Barresi's campaign manager told The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay the loans are necessary to counter negative attacks by her opponents.

Oklahoma state Capitol
LLudo / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Now that the dust has settled at the state Capitol after the May 23 end of the 2014 Oklahoma legislative session, journalists, lobbyists and the public will try to figure out what the legislature did (or didn’t) accomplish as lawmakers shift their focus to a contentious primary season ahead of June 24.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

After deciding 17 state questions in the past two general elections, Oklahoma voters this year currently will have only a couple of items to consider in November.

This year's pared-down ballot reflects what some political strategists say is a temporary shelving of social issues that boosted conservative turnout at the polls. Republicans have strengthened their grip on state government since 2010.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma House Speaker Jeff Hickman has solidified a new two-year term as the leader of the House and rebuffed a challenge from a four-term state representative from Guthrie.

The 72-member House Republican caucus met behind closed doors on Monday and selected Hickman as the speaker-designate for the upcoming two-year legislative session that begins next year.

The caucus will vote again for speaker in November after the general election, but that vote is typically a formality.

An artist trained in classical sculpture is toiling away in New York, crafting a Baphomet figure sitting beneath a pentagram and flanked by two children gazing upward in loyalty. When it is finished, it will be cast in bronze and, the Satanists hope, eventually displayed in Oklahoma.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to override a veto by Gov. Mary Fallin of a House bill dealing with federal regulations over firearms.

The move is the latest signal of the growing tension between the Republican governor and the GOP-controlled House.

Gov. Mary Fallin enters the House chamber of the state capitol shortly before delivering her State of the State address February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin says she's vetoing more than a dozen House bills in part to send a message to House leaders that they need to take action on some of her top priorities.

Fallin announced 15 vetoes Tuesday and said the House is not taking care of substantive issues that most Oklahomans care about and challenged lawmakers to "step it up."

“This is not a one day deal because we have a limited amount of time to get our work done,” Fallin said when asked whether Tuesday’s vetoes were an isolated incident.

Long-running tension among Oklahoma's three branches of government reached a boiling point last week after a court decision in two death row cases.

Gov. Mary Fallin accused the state's Supreme Court of overstepping its bounds and some Republican lawmakers were so upset by the court's ruling that they called for the impeachment of justices.

The high court temporarily delayed the pending execution of two death row inmates, then later dropped the stays.

T.W. Shannon's Senate campaign takes off with a rally in Tulsa, and based on his remarks it will be hard for the other six Republican candidates to be on his right.

In his 16-minute speech to the hundreds in attendance, Shannon Railed against the Affordable Care Act and the NSA, stated his unequivocal support for Hobby Lobby and called for vastly reducing the size of the federal government.

Shannon has the endorsements of Sarah Palin, Utah Sen. Mike Lee and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, all of whom spoke at the rally.

Joe Sills for Governor of Oklahoma / Facebook

An independent candidate for Oklahoma governor has been removed from the ballot after the state's election board determined a guilty plea to a felony crime more than a decade ago disqualified him from running.

The three-member Oklahoma Election Board voted unanimously Monday to remove Joe Sills' name from the ballot. Sills' candidacy was challenged by Democratic gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Joe Dorman.

Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) speaking to reporters April 17, 2014.
Oklahoma House Democrats / YouTube

The Oklahoma House's top Democrat says critical state education and transportation needs coupled with declining tax revenue means the timing is not right to pass an income tax cut this year.

House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) made the comments shortly after the House adjourned Thursday. Proposals to reduce the state's 5.25 percent top income tax rate by a quarter of a percentage point once revenues improve are expected to be considered by the Legislature next week.

Okahoma's House Democrats hold a press conference on education and Gov. Mary Fallin's budget - March 2013
Oklahoma House Democrats / Facebook

House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) called last week "interesting” with candidate filing and legislation passing House Appropriations and Budget Committee to fund the Native American Cultural Center and Museum.

Stating the House Democrats are “encouraged and excited” for the future, Inman said currently 23 of the 29 members of the caucus have filed for re-election.

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) speaking during a 2013 town hall meeting.
Congressman Jim Bridenstine / Facebook

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla. 1) won re-election to a second two-year-term Friday when no candidate filed to run against him at the end of the three-day filing period.

The freshman GOP House member who represents Tulsa and much of Northeast Oklahoma was among several candidates who did not draw an opponent in their race, and will take office immediately after the November elections.

State Sen. Randy Bass (D-Lawton) pushing to get bill heard allowing voters to block horse slaughter plants, flanked by Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West and Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan.
Oklahoma Senate

Democratic state Sen. Randy Bass of Lawton has been tapped to lead Senate Democrats after the 2014 elections, ousting the caucus' previous selection of a state senator from Norman.

Both Bass and state Sen. John Sparks confirmed to The Associated Press Thursday the 12-member Senate Democratic caucus had selected Bass to be minority leader-elect in the fall, but declined to discuss the matter further.

Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox tells Salon why his Republican colleagues' policies are "discriminatory against women."

401(K) 2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

A plan to cut Oklahoma's corporate and individual income tax rates once certain revenue triggers are reached has passed a Senate committee.

The Senate Finance Committee voted 8-2 on Tuesday for the House bill by Bartlesville Republican Rep. Earl Sears.

The House and Senate each have separate proposals to reduce the state's individual income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, once certain revenue triggers are reached.

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