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Bingman to lead Senate in 2011

November 04, 2010
State Sen. Brian Bingman, a former OIPA legislator of the year, will lead the Oklahoma Senate during the 2011 legislative session.

From The Oklahoman:

Bingman and Sen. Cliff Aldridge of Midwest City, who also is seeking the post, both confirmed Wednesday that Bingman has enough votes within the Republican caucus to secure the post. State Sen. Brian Crain of Tulsa, also a candidate, did not immediately return a telephone message.

Republicans will hold a 32-16 edge in the Senate next year after picking up six seats in Tuesday's balloting. They hold their caucus next Tuesday to elect their leader.

Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, had the support of many Senate Democrats interested in a coalition speaker, but Coates said Wednesday he is no longer a candidate. Coates, who said he supports Crain, acknowledged Bingman has the votes of the GOP caucus.

"I think that's a fair assessment," Coates said.

Incoming Democratic leader Sen. Andrew Rice said the minority members typically support whoever the majority elects as their leader.
"I have no intention of breaking that tradition at all," said Rice, D-Oklahoma City.

Current Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, is term-limited after 12 years in office. He was the first Republican ever to lead the Senate when the GOP took control of the chamber in 2008.

The mayor of Sapulpa for ten years, Bingman was first elected to the House in 2004. He served one term and was elected to the Senate in 2006. Bingman did not draw an opponent this cycle and served as the co-chairman of the Oklahoma Senatorial PAC that helped six Republicans get elected to Democrat-held seats.

Bingman acknowledged that Republicans, who now will control the House, Senate and the governor's office for the first time in state history, have a daunting task in front of them.

"Our revenue picture does not look good for next year, and we're going to have to make difficult decisions," he said.

Bingman also offered a hand to his Democratic colleagues, saying they would play a role in the work ahead.

"We have to work together to shape our government and keep it in line with the revenues that we have every year," Bingman said.
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