Vacancy triggers state senate special election
On Dec. 31, 2014, state senator Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa) announced that he would resign, effective Jan. 6, 2015, in order to become the Director of Legislative Affairs and State Director for Oklahoma at the Oklahoma Federation for Children, an affiliate of the American Federation for Children, a school choice advocacy group.
Shumate was first elected to the state senate in 2012. Before then, he served four terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, 2004–2006. Even though this was his first term in the Senate, he would have been term-limited and unable to run in 2016 because Oklahoma law limits politicians to twelve years total, regardless of the chamber in which they served.
Shumate’s resignation leaves his seat open. District 11 includes parts of TU’s campus that are west of Delaware. It continues westward to include downtown Tulsa. The district is irregularly shaped, but the remainder of the district is primarily a large section of North Tulsa that includes part of Osage County.
Three candidates are running to fill the vacancy, all of them Democrats. The final day to register as a candidate was Jan. 21, so no new candidates will enter the race. The three candidates are Kevin Matthews, Heather Nash and Regina Goodwin.
Matthews has served in the Oklahoma House of Representatives since 2012, representing District 73. Shumate has endorsed Matthews.
Nash has worked for Youth Services of Tulsa, a nonprofit group, and for the American Red Cross. Goodwin is an artist from Tulsa.
The primary election is scheduled for April 7. Since all candidates are from the same party, the primary will decide which candidate will ultimately win the seat.