Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Will Oklahoma Electoral History Be Made Today?

Paula Sophia Photo: Liz Burleson / Red Dirt ReportIn a few hours when the polls open in Oklahoma, Paula Sophia gets an opportunity to make some modern transgender history.

She is in a runoff for the Oklahoma House District 88 seat in central Oklahoma City that as an OKC police officer the Desert Storm vet used to patrol until she retired earlier this year to run for office.

It was a crowded field in this race to replace openly lesbian state Rep Kay Floyd (D-Oklahoma City), who formerly held the seat to run for the state Senate.   The state senate 46 seat she ran for and won the Democratic primary for on June 24 was the one formerly held by openly gay state Sen. Al McAffrey  (D-Oklahoma City)

That senate seat opened up for Floyd when McAffrey announced his intention to run for the open Oklahoma 5th Congressional District seat of Rep. James Lankford (R).    Lankford decided to move up the political food chain and run for the US Senate seat of the retiring Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) .   Lankford successfully won the Republican US senate nomination for Coburn's seat.

Now that we've sorted through the fascinating Oklahoma political musical chairs that set up this opportunity, back to the post. 

Sophia polled enough votes in that crowded June 24 primary field to end up in a runoff against Democratic front runner Jason Dunnington. 

With no Republican filed to run in that race in November, winner of the runoff election today becomes the new representative for Oklahoma House District 88. 

Paula Sophia, gay news, Washington BladeIf it is Sophia, she becomes the first open transgender candidate elected to the Oklahoma legislature, and the first transperson elected to a state legislative office since Althea Garrison did so in Massachusetts in 1992. 

Best of luck Paula, and hope it's a wonderful night for you when the polls close later today.   If you live in OKC or the state of Oklahoma, hope you're considering handling your electoral business and participating in your runoff election.   

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