Candidates file for elections, setting up intriguing races 

The filing period has ended for the 2008 elections, setting up some intriguing races.

The highest profile race will be the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Jim Inhofe. The 73-year-old Senate veteran faces an unusually high number -- six "? of opponents: two Democrats (including state Sen. Andrew Rice), one Independent and three within Inhofe's own party. Inhofe's reputation of being a tireless campaigner may come into play.

All five of Oklahoma's Congress members will be challenged in the fall, but three members " Mary Fallin, Tom Cole and Frank Lucas " have no primary challenger.

One race which will garner attention is for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Jim Roth will attempt to become the first openly gay candidate to win a statewide election. Roth was appointed to the commission last year when Denise Bode stepped down. A Democrat, Roth has no primary challenger but could face competition in the fall from either Republican candidates Rob Johnson or Dana Murphy. Johnson is giving up his seat in the state House.

STATE RACES
Nine state senators received early Christmas gifts after the filing period ended. They drew no opponents and will automatically return to the Legislature.

In the House, practically one-third of the representatives received a free pass to return to the Capitol. Of the 32 members who do not have an opponent, 19 are Democrats. Add the fact that most of the term-limited seats were held by Republicans, and several GOP members decided not to run for re-election, the Dems are expected to make a run to regain control of the House.

As for the fall campaign, Republicans have their sights fixed on state Sen. Nancy Riley, D-Tulsa. Riley switched parties in 2007, preventing the Republicans from having the majority in the Senate, which is now split 24 to 24. Riley drew two GOP opponents. "Scott Cooper

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