Crowded field of gubernatorial candidates points to exciting, entertaining 2018 race
By Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
If everyone who says they’re running for governor actually files for the office next spring, Oklahoma could be in for its most crowded and entertaining gubernatorial race in more than 30 years.
Twelve people — six Republicans, three Democrats and three Libertarians — have registered gubernatorial campaigns with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission. A 13th, Democrat Norman Jay Brown of Oklahoma City, is registered but says he’s no longer a candidate.
Should all 12 current candidates follow through and officially file for office in April, it would be the most individuals to formally seek the governor’s mansion since 1986, when six Democrats, five Republicans and two independents signed up to succeed term-limited George Nigh. That election was held in the trough of a deep recession that triggered state budget failures and tax increases.
Henry Bellmon, elected Oklahoma’s first Republican governor in 1962 and later a two-term U.S. senator, came out of semi-retirement to defeat Democrat David Walters by 3 percentage points, with two independents taking 8 percent of the vote.