Nov. 4 election could determine Okla. Senate majority - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Nov. 4 election could determine Okla. Senate majority

Lawton_The race for Oklahoma's Senate District 31 race between Don Barrington (R) and Keith Erwin (D) could help decide which political party controls the Oklahoma Senate.  Republicans and Democrats from across the state are watching the race, in a matchup between a one-term incumbent, and a Lawton business man. 

Barrington and Erwin both have strong ties to the Lawton community.  Barrington touts his sales tax holiday legislation, and his work to change the state's burn ban policy, as proof he's the guy the district needs.  "Getting it [the burn ban policy] down to the county level where county commissioners, with the agreement or consensus of the area fire chiefs, determining it is time to declare a burn ban," he said.  In the past, burn bans were left to the governor to decide.  However, after local officials ran into some bureaucratic red tape while wildfires raged, the new policy was presented, and approved by lawmakers. 

Erwin says he hopes his experience in the insurance industry will give him an upper hand in the race.  "People expect health insurance companies to do what their doctors say they need done," he said.  "We should expect that from our health insurance companies." 

Barrington says he would like to go back to the Oklahoma Capitol to correct some problems that he says he believes led to state revenue shortages last year.  "Taking one-time revenue and putting it in something, they keep rolling over to the next year," he said.  "I think when you do have additional funds, if you apply those to one time expenditures, things will work a lot better for us in the future."

Erwin says he believes that Tulsa and Oklahoma City lawmakers are leaving southwest Oklahoma out of their decision making processes.  "Giving a $48 million tax break - tax cut - to a wealthy millionaire basketball team owner in Oklahoma City...that's not a tax cut that helps us here down in southwest Oklahoma," he said. 

Both candidates list education as a top priority for their campaigns.

Voters in this contest may decide more than just who represents the district.  This race's outcome could help give Republicans control of the Senate for the first time in history, or give the majority of seats back to Democrats following a two-year tie.

To learn more about each candidate - or other area races - click here for "Meet the Candidates."

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