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Will the education uproar at the state Capitol affect this week’s filing for public office?

Will the education uproar at the state Capitol affect this week’s filing for public office?
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It may not be foremost on legislators’ minds, but it has to be there somewhere: What happens if the Capitol is still full of protesters when the filing period for state and federal offices begins on Wednesday?

Typically, almost all candidates file in person — which often means standing in line in the Capitol rotunda. If teachers are still swarming the building Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, that may mean legislators standing in line to file for re-election surrounded by people who may not be very happy with them.

And it could inspire some of those unhappy people to file themselves.

Teachers are expected to return to the Capitol on Monday for a sixth day of protesting for increased education funding.

In recent years, filing has been on the second floor of the Capitol, but Bryan Dean of the Oklahoma State Election Board said late Friday the current plan is to move it just inside the west entrance on the first floor. He said the intention is to alleviate congestion on the upper floors and provide easier access to candidates who want to simply file and leave.

Filing by mail, proxy or messenger service is allowed, but Dean points out that can lead to rejection if the packet and filing requirements are not completed with 100 percent accuracy.

Whether the activity at the Capitol will prompt new candidates to file this week — or incumbents to drop out — is difficulty to say.

Four people registered campaigns for the Oklahoma House of Representatives with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission last week, but at least three of them appear to have been planning to run for awhile.

One, Melissa Provenzano of Tulsa, is assistant principal at Bixby High School. She’s a Democratic candidate in House District 79.

Cyndi Ralston of Broken Arrow announced her candidacy last week as a Democrat for HD 12 after the incumbent, Republican Kevin McDugle, went on a Facebook rant that went viral.

Ralston, though, had actually filed her Ethics Commission paperwork the previous week.

McDugle already had an announced GOP primary opponent, Wagoner County Sheriff’s Deputy Nick Mahoney.

Filing for federal offices and state offices, including district attorney and district judge, will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Friday at the Capitol. Filing information can be found on the Oklahoma State Election Board web page.

All U.S. House of Representatives offices, all state offices except two corporation commission positions, all state House offices and all even-numbered Senate offices will be elected this year. County and municipal office candidates file with their county election boards.

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