State Political Activity Heats Up for Summer

Article excerpt

There will be no vacation from politics in Oklahoma in 1996.

As the summer days grow hotter, so will the political activity, which kicks into high gear July 8-10.

That's when more than 300 candidates are expected to storm the state Election Board headquarters to file for a variety of posts.

The spotlight will be on races for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House and the Legislature.

All 101 House posts are up for grabs, plus 24 of the 48 Senate positions.

Five of the state's six incumbent congressmen are seeking re- election -- all Republicans.

The state's only Democratic congressman -- Rep. Bill Brewster of the 3rd District -- is stepping down.

Republican U.S. Sen. James Inhofe of Tulsa is seeking a full six- year term. He was elected two years ago after Democrat David Boren announced he was leaving to become president of the University of Oklahoma.

Democrats are hoping to rebound in 1996 from losses in congressional races two years ago.

Officials of both parties agree it will be difficult, however, for Democrats to regain their former hold on the congressional delegation.

One reason is that Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Wes Watkins has become a Republican and will likely be favored in the general election if he wins the GOP primary in the 3rd Congressional District, which he used to represent. Watkins ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1992 as an independent.

State Sen. Darryl Roberts of Ardmore and Stonewall businessman Mike Newport are actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination and former state Rep. Danny Williams of Seminole also is looking at the race.

Perhaps the Democrats' best shot among the congressional races is in the heavily Democratic 2nd District, where state House Speaker Glen Johnson of Okemah is hoping to unseat first-term Republican Rep. Tom Coburn of Muskogee.

State Rep. Ed Crocker, D-Norman, is expected to wage a spirited campaign against Republican U. …