Presidential candidate filing period opens Monday

Thursday, November 27th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma's presidential primary officially begins Monday when the filing period opens for the Feb. 3 primary election.

The primary will decide Oklahoma's preference of the candidates seeking the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, said Mike Clingman, secretary of the State Election Board.

Only Democratic or Republican registered voters can participate in the primary. The ballot will include only Democratic and Republican candidates because those parties are the only ones officially recognized to select presidential nominees, Clingman said.

Candidates may file with Clingman's office through Wednesday.

Democratic presidential candidates have campaigned heavily in the state this year. Lawmakers voted last spring to move up the primary election and the state is one of seven that will hold a primary on Feb. 3.

Oklahoma's Democrats and Republicans began selecting their presidential nominees by election instead of by precinct, county and state meetings in 1988.

The first presidential primary drew 601,665 voters. Al Gore led a field of 12 Democrats and George H.W. Bush was first in a field of seven Republicans.

Four years ago, 259,659 votes were cast with Al Gore again winning in a field of three Democrats and George W. Bush leading a slate of five Republicans.