By Parker Marie Molloy
Originally published on Advocate.com June 25 2014 12:30 PM ET
In the race to represent Oklahoma House District 88, Paula Sophia, a 22-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department and veteran of Operation Desert Storm, has managed to garner enough votes to force a run-off for the Democratic nomination.
Sophia will face local businessman and former pastor Jason Dunnington in the August 26 run-off. As there is no Republican challenger, the winner will bypass the general election and take their seat as part of the State Legislature.
"I've been passionate throughout my entire career in law enforcement about helping people in their day to day lives," Sophia said in a statement earlier this year. "Being a beat cop has allowed me to really get to know the citizens of our great city on a personal level."
Sophia retired from the police force earlier this year in preparation for her run for office, as state and local laws prohibit active duty police officers from running for political office.
Throughout her law enforcement tenure, Sophia earned a number of accolades, including OKC Exchange Club's Police Officer of the Year award and an FBI Community Leadership Award. Sophia made history as the first openly transgender officer in Oklahoma City Police Department history.
The 88th District is currently represented by Democrat Kay Floyd, who herself made history in 2012, becoming the first out lesbian representative in Oklahoma history.