KGOU

Oklahoma Politics

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.

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