Senate Control Hangs In The Balance

Monday, November 3rd 2008, 10:25 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

The Oklahoma Senate is poised to go down in the history books after Tuesday's vote.  Right now, the Oklahoma Senate is divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  There are eleven seats up for grabs, and for the first time ever, state Republicans could gain control of the upper chamber.

They've blanketed lawns and flooded the air waves.  But, they're not running for the White House or even the Congress.  They're state senators.  Some are spending more money to get elected than the job pays.  And, some of the ads are getting downright nasty.

Currently, the balance of power is divided right down the middle among 24 Republicans and 24 Democrats.  But, with 11 seats up for grabs, whichever party comes out on top will be in control. 

Several races are hotly contested including District 7.

Incumbent Democrat Richard Lerblance is facing off against Republican Kenny Sherill.  Democrats say it's a heavily Democratic district and they believe Lerblance will hold on to his seat.     

But, the state GOP has given the maximum donation allowed to his competitor and they think Sherill's got a shot.

Incumbent Senator Nancy Riley may also be vulnerable.  That's ironic since she's the senator who snatched away the Republican edge by flipping parties.

The Republican turned Democrat is in a tight race with Dan Newberry.  Both sides say the race is very close, basically a tossup.

Republicans say John McCain and Jim Inhofe's substantial leads in the polls could help state Republicans do what they've never done before: take control of the Oklahoma Senate.

But, Democrats say there's a variable:  all of the new voters and young people drawn to the ballot box by Barack Obama.  And, they believe the senate could end up right back to where it started with an even split of power.

The head of the state GOP doesn't think a tie is likely.  He predicts the Republicans will pick up a couple of seats.