TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Forty-four percent of candidates don’t need a campaign manager or even a campaign for that matter.
They won their election on Friday by simply filing the paperwork.
Fifty-five of the 125 state legislature elections are over before a person even casts a vote. Those races only had a single candidate file for the district.
Here in Tulsa, incumbents like John Waldron and Regina Goodwin or Lonnie Sims and Jeff Boatman have their seats locked up.
“Districts nowadays are apportioned in a way that really makes the majority of them non-competitive so there’s no reason for someone of the minority party in that district to run," said Rodger Randle.
Oklahoma is dominated by Republicans in the state legislature.
Eighty-two House members are Republican with only 18 Democrats. Thirty-nine senators are Republican to just nine Democrats.
For State Democrat Chair Alicia Andrews, it’s an issue for her candidates and voters.
“As a Democrat, all over the state for the last 10 years, it’s likely you show up at the polls, and you’re only given a ballot measure, and you don’t have anyone to vote for," said Andrews.
Andrews blames gerrymandering on the lack of competitive races, claiming Republicans draw districts to give themselves an unfair advantage.
“When you draw it like that and Republicans only represent about 50% of voter registration, it isn’t about representative government," said Andrews.
Randle says voters become uninterested in elections when they aren’t competitive.
“People are less likely to vote, people are less likely to get out and get involved in the campaign, 'cause there aren't any campaigns that really count and make a difference," said Randle.
Randle says limiting the power money has over elections could help get more candidates involved.
“What we have to do is increase the knowledge level of voters so they cast an informed vote not one just one influenced by the amount of money spent on tv commercials," he added.
The Oklahoma GOP said in a statement:
Given that 44 out of the 55 are Republicans, it would suggest that many communities have made a choice and that they are tired of the rhetoric from the Democrat party putting us against one another.
Getting Republicans to run goes hand in hand with the State Party’s efforts of growing our base. Having a strong base of support makes it easier for individuals to step into the political realm. I’m very interested in ensuring that viable Republicans run against those unopposed 11 Democrats to give the constituents a choice.
For the Senate and Representative elections not already decided, a large number of them will be decided in the primary.