Choosing the next Senate President Pro Tempore just got interesting.
Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole announced today that he plans to run for top Senate spot in 2010, when current Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee’s term is up.
Coates says his diverse and professional background will help the Oklahoma Senate move forward.
Coates says in the Senate, he has worked to build consensus based on promoting common sense legislation that earned the support and respect of both Republicans and Democrats.
“In these difficult times, it’s more important than ever that we have leaders who know who to deal with a wide range of issues — not just in terms of creating public policy, but also understanding how it impacts our friends and neighbors back home,” Coates said.
“I’m not a career policitian. I’m a businessman and father who believes in straight talk and honesty as well openness and transparency in government.”
Now this is where it gets interesting. To get the top spot, Coates first needs to get reelected in 2010. Coates was first elected to the Senate in 2002, a predominantly Democrat area of the state. He was unopposed in his next bid to represent that district.
Then Coates has to hope makeup of the Senate doesn’t change too much with the next election. Five senators are term limited in 2010 and half of the other senators are up for re-election.
In the past legislative session, Coates wasn’t known to march lock step with the Republican majority. In fact on a handful of key issues, like immigration and chief information officer, Coates voted with Democrats.
In the vote to oppose the chief information officer bill, Coates was the lone Republican to vote against the bill that would allow the privatization of the state’s computer’s systems.
Coates would likely have support from Democrats when the full Senate meets, but there’s a long road to travel between today and the beginning of the 2011 session — and a few elections to won or lost in between.