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Republicans Shortey, Schulz Seeking Senate's Top Job Next Year

State Sen. Mike Schulz (left) and State Sen. Ralph Shortey (right) are both vying to become the next Senate President Pro Tempore.
Oklahoma Senate
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State Sen. Mike Schulz (left) and State Sen. Ralph Shortey (right) are both vying to become the next Senate President Pro Tempore.

As political hopefuls file for office this week, an internal contest among Oklahoma Republicans is heating up.

The chamber’s current leader Sen. Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, is term-limited at the end of this session, and two GOP lawmakers are facing off to become the next Senate President Pro Tem.

Until this week, state Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, was the only person who'd visibly shown interest. But as The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports, state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, told his fellow Senators he wants to run:

Shortey said he started campaigning for the position because he disagrees with Schulz’s leadership style. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things, but in my experience in running business and also the nonprofit world, I have a different perspective on leadership,” said Shortey. “I think leadership needs to be bottom-up.” Schulz, said Shortey, would keep power concentrated in the hands of a small, select group. “I think that would be better fit to serve the people of the state if that power is distributed among the membership,” he said.

The closed-door election between the two men will be April 27. Around the same time, Republicans in the state House will choose between state Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, and state Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, as the next speaker.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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