Rep. Brumbaugh's death calls for another special election for 2017 legislative session

Flags fly half-staff at Oklahoma's Capitol building in honor of Rep. David Brumbaugh. (KTUL)

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) – It was a somber day during a busy legislative year at the state Capitol Thursday. Legislators payed respects as state Rep. David Brumbaugh was lying in repose. Several communities share in the loss of the lawmaker who represented District 76, in Broken Arrow.

Soon after respects are paid from Brumbaugh’s sudden death the state will get to work filling his seat.

“It really is going to be an all-out sprint,” said Dr. Jamie Smith of the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.

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Smith, a professor of public and government ethics, said Brumbaugh’s passing now calls for the legislation’s fifth special election for 2017.

“Some of these elections are happening so soon after we just had a general election in November. It may be a chance for groups that feel left out of the conversation or frustrated by the tenor of the conversation to make a real impact in their district,” said Smith.

A representative from Governor Mary Fallin’s office said once a vacancy occurs the governor has 30 days to call for a special election.

“Once the governor calls for the special election there will be at least a 10-day waiting period before filing begins. Usually that waiting period is somewhere in 10 to 20 days and filing must take place on a Monday Tuesday or Wednesday at the capital,” said Smith.

Smith further explained when filing closes candidates will have 60 days before a primary election. The top candidates from both parties will have another 60 days before the general election.

“We’ll be marching through the other special elections that are already on the calendar between now and then. So, we’re looking at somewhere between two and four months before we know who fills that seat,” said Smith.

It’s Brumbaugh’s seat Smith said will be a big responsibility for the next person to fill.

“I encourage them to take a look at the aspects of his legacy that they can carry on and carry forward because he was clearly a beloved member of his community and the state legislature,” said Smith.

A visitation will be held at Floral Haven Funeral Home, Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with family receiving guests from 6 to 8 p.m. Brumbaugh’s funeral is Saturday afternoon at Tulsa Bible Church.

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