Although many candidates have been campaigning and raising money for several months, the official political season begin today throughout Oklahoma. All of the state's House seats, half of the senate posts, a handful of county posts and local judges are up for grabs as well as members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Incumbents have the advantage of name recognition and have had a chance to prove themselves to repeat voters. The tradeoff is they also have a record for opponents and voters to scrutinize.

Term limits, approved and put into the state's Constitution years ago, kick in this year for Senators who were in office when the clock started. Sen. Cal Hobson, D-Lexington, began serving in the House in 1978 and then moved over to the state Senate. The District 16 seat he holds will be a key battleground as Oklahoma Democrats attempt to retain the seat.

The District 45 and 46 House seats should also prove to be interesting races. Rep. Doug Miller, R-Norman, is barred by term limits from running again for the District 46 seat. Two Republicans and a Democrat have announced plans to run.

In House 45, former Rep. Wallace Collins is seeking the Democratic nomination and a chance to run again incumbent Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, the man who took the seat away from him.

Filing opens today at the state Election Board and at the county election board. It closes at 5 p.m. Wednesday and the Primary Election is July 25.

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