Three candidates will be on the ballot to represent Oklahoma's third congressional district: Incumbent Republican Frank Lucas, Democrat Tim Murray and independent William Sanders.
The third is the largest of Oklahoma's five districts, encompassing almost half the state's land area, a largely rural district that takes in the western suburbs of Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In Southwest Oklahoma, the district includes Caddo, Kiowa, Greer, Harmon and Jackson counties.
Given its rural nature, the third district has a high ratio of farmers and ranchers, and that is why Lucas says one of the main reasons voters should return him to office is his powerful position as chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.
"The House is a seniority-based operation," Lucas said. "I've gotten to the point now where I can impact policy."
Lucas said his impact goes beyond his power of the gavel in crafting and passing legislation. He said he also has power to pursue implementation, whether it be influencing the way the USDA crafts policy or having his office assist farmers dealing with the system.
One of the criticisms his opponents have lodged is that Lucas has not been able to get a new farm bill passed. The 2008 farm bill expires this year, and though a farm bill was passed by Lucas' committee, it never got to a full House vote. The Senate passed its version of a farm bill, which also never received a hearing from the full House. Lucas said that Speaker of the House John Boehner kept both bills from being voted on.
Lucas said there are provisions in the Senate bill he likes. One of the main changes is the implementation of "shallow loss programs," which were included to encourage farmers to buy crop insurance. It works by paying farmers in lower-loss years losses between 10 and 20 percent that don't qualify as crop disasters and ending many direct subsidy payments.