- Associated Press - Monday, June 25, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The number of women running for Oklahoma’s Legislature has nearly tripled since 2014, but they make up less than a third of the candidates.

Fewer than 1 in 7 state legislators are women, equating to about 14 percent, the Oklahoman reported . Gov. Mary Fallin has occupied the state’s most powerful office since 2010.

“I still get a lot of attention for being Oklahoma’s first female governor, and I’m proud of that accomplishment,” said Fallin, 63. “But what people sometimes forget is I ran against another woman. That was a historic race, and I think it shows how far we’ve come as a state.”

Male candidates have historically been elected at a higher rate than female candidates in Oklahoma. Voters elected about 16 percent of the women who ran two years ago, compared to about 26 percent of the men.

But with more women running ahead of Tuesday’s state primary election, the chances are greater for more women in the Legislature.

Carrie Blumert is campaigning for an Oklahoma County commissioner seat. She said many women don’t want to run for office likely because of how common sexism and harassment have become on the campaign trail.

“It gets exhausting when the fourth time in a week, you have some man say something really inappropriate to you,” said Blumert, 31. “And it starts feeling like, do you even care if I’m smart? Do you even care if I’m a good leader or if I’m really working hard?”

Oklahoma Democratic Party chair Anna Langthorn said the 2016 presidential election was a “turning point” for many people, leading them to consider running.

“Particularly in Oklahoma, some of that spike had to do with the budget crisis and the teacher walkout,” she said.

Many teachers made the decision to file for office for “the principle of the matter,” said Pam Pollard, Oklahoma Republican Party chair.

“That’s OK because it’s part of the process,” Pollard said. “When you file for office you’re saying two things. You’re saying, ‘I want to represent my district,’ but it also says that ‘I don’t like what I see there right now.’”


Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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