Interesting: WaPo reports,

Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), a staunch conservative who left an imprint on a broad array of legislative struggles during four terms in the Senate, said today he will not run for reelection next year, adding Oklahoma to the list of competitive races for the narrowly divided chamber.


Nickles, who had come under pressure from White House officials and other Republicans to run again, would have been a sure bet for reelection, according to party officials and independent analysts.

But his decision to retire, which had been rumored for some time, gives Democrats a shot at picking up the seat, which could be critical in determining which party will control the Senate in the next Congress. Republicans now control the 100-member chamber with a 51-vote majority.

Oklahoma is a conservative state that leans Republican in presidential elections, and six of its seven members of Congress are Republicans. But it recently elected a Democratic governor, Brad Henry, and a couple of prominent Democrats — Rep. Brad Carson and state attorney general Drew Edmondson — have indicated interest in running for Nickles’ seat.

Turnover is almost always good. My guess is the GOP keeps the seat, since I expect President Bush to carry Oklahoma rather handily. But we shall see.

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James Joyner
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  1. CGHill says:

    He’d have won easily, no doubt about it. As to what he was thinking – I have no idea, but I’m sure he thought it over long and hard.

    Bush will carry Oklahoma by 3-2, maybe more. But the Democrats are resurgent, or at least less dead than they were four years ago; the state’s House delegation, 6-0 GOP before reapportionment and the loss of one seat, is now 4-1.

  2. Dave says:

    Depends on the person, here in Oklahoma. I voted for Brad Henry simply cuz I didn’t want Steve Largent to win – and I’m as Republican as they get. I just couldn’t stand Steve Largent.

    I suspect the odds are in favor of the Republicans keeping the seat, if the candidate isn’t too offensive or oily.