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Profiles in courage

Gazette staff April 11th, 2012

To accommodate absentee voting for military personnel serving overseas, a change in state voting procedures this year means an earlier filing deadline for candidates — a wrinkle that might influence the tone of the remainder of this legislative session.

Brad Gregg

Candidates for office this week are filing with the state Election Board, meaning that a fair number of incumbents will know who their challengers are amid the legislative session. In previous years, candidate filing occurred in June.

And how might this early jump on campaign season impact legislators still facing politically sticky votes on tax cuts, bond issues, abortion, guns and God-knows-what?

“It actually is the best thing in the world for lawmakers,” said University of Oklahoma political science professor Keith Gaddie. “They’re going to know if they have an opponent or not, and there are a ton of tough votes that have to come up yet. That means for a lot of lawmakers, if they don’t have an opponent, can make the tough votes or vote knowing that they’re not going to attract a challenger.”

In other words, look for unopposed incumbents to grow a pair.

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