Monday, August 24, 2009

We are more than a year from the 2010 general election, but already candidates and campaigns are gearing up. Next year the top of the ballot will feature a U.S. Senate race. Senator Tom Coburn is up for reelection and while Democrats outnumber Republicans in Oklahoma, they don’t vote that way. It’s highly unlikely the Ds will waste a great deal of money on a race against the most conservative Senator in America. Coburn has pledged to only seek two terms in the Senate and the Dems will likely use their resources in a state where they have a better chance of picking up a seat.

In the Governor’s race, two Republican have announced their candidacies- Congresswoman and former Lt. Governor Mary Fallin and State Senator Randy Brogdon, (R,Owasso) Fallin is the clear favorite, simply because of name recognition, but Brogdon appeals to conservative grassroots activists, which could propel him to the nomination. On the Democrat side, there are also two announced candidates- current Lt. Governor Jari Askins and current Attorney General Drew Edmondson. Edmondson has a great name in Oklahoma politics and has thus far out raised Askins, but anyone with any knowledge of politics knows that Askins is a tireless campaigner and has never lost an election. (CORRECTION- ASKINS LOST HER FIRST RUN FOR STATE LEGISLATURE AGAINST FORMER STATE REP AND CORPORATION COMMISSIONER ED APPLE OF DUNCAN) If either Fallin or Askins win in 2010, history will be made. Oklahoma has never had a female Governor.

Because Askins is not seeking reelection for Lt. Governor, that position has attracted several candidates. On the GOP side, State Senator Todd Lamb, (R-Edmond) and State Representatives John Wright, (R,Tulsa), and Colby Schwartz, (R-Yukon) are vying for the nomination. Lamb is the Senate’s Majority Leader and Wright serves as the House GOP Caucus Chairman. On the Democrat side, State Senator Kenneth Corn, (D-Poteau) is the only announced candidate. Corn is a thirty three year old “political animal.” He was elected to the State House at the age of twenty-two when he was still in college. He will be “termed out” in 2010, so he is likely running to keep from getting a real job.

Since Fallin is not seeking reelection, her Congressional seat has attracted several candidates. State Representative Mike Thompson, (R-OKC) and former State Representative Kevin Calvey from Del City top the list of Republicans vying to take the seat. No Democrat has announced, with Governor Henry being the most notable name mentioned as a possible candidate for the position.

None of the other incumbents in Congressional delegation who are seeking reelection will likely be seriously challenged. Congressman Tom Cole has an announced opponent, R.J. Harris who is actively campaigning in the district, but no other incumbent has an opponent as of yet. The GOP has targeted Dan Boren, (R-Muskogee) and several Republicans will battle it out in the primary. The problem is Boren is a “blue dog” Democrat on the board of the NRA and has a war chest of money.

Because Drew Edmondson is not seeking reelection, the Attorney General seat will be open. Ryan Leonard is the only announced candidate. A Republican attorney who is married to former Governor Frank Keating’s daughter, Leonard is the son of U.S. District Judge Tim Leonard. Ryan will be able to raise a lot of money and will be competitive. Redhawks managing General Partner Scott Pruitt, a former Republican State Senator from Broken Arrow, is reportingly looking at the race as well. lSeveral others have indicated an interest in the race, including the 2004 GOP nominee James Dunn, but none have formally thrown their hat in the ring. On the Democrat side, Scott Meacham, current State Treasurer and close confidant of the Governor is said to be considering the race, but no announcement has been made.

Speaking of Meacham, he was supposed to announce his plans two weeks ago, but has yet to do so. Rumors abound as to why the delay, but whatever the reason, at least two Republicans are eyeing his current job. Former State Senator Owen Laughlin from Woodward has already announced for the seat and is actively campaigning. Laughlin is an attorney and former banker who served twelve years in the State Senate. State Representative Ken Miller, (R-Edmond) has formed a “steering committee” to help him in his race for State Treasurer. Miller is the Chairman of the State House Appropriations and Budget committee. He has a doctorate in public finance and is a professor in economics at OCC. Speaker of the House Chris Benge, (R-Tulsa) is also said to be looking at the race. No Democrat has announced and probably won’t until Meacham announces his plans.

Sandy Garrett, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction has announced she is not seeking re-election after five(5) terms in office. Garrett also served as Governor Henry Bellmon's Secretary of Education for two years before she ran for the post. Garrett has been a frequent target of conservatives. Even though she was targeted by conservative activists in every election, Garrett's strength and support from the teacher's unions kept her in office. Janet Barresi, a dentist from Oklahoma City, is actively campaigning for the GOP nomination. Former South OKC State Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson and State Senator Clark Jolley, (R-Edmond) are reportedly considering the race as well.

Labor Commissioner Lloyd Fields has an announced GOP opponent. Jason Reese, a bright young attorney who was a staffer for the State House is actively campaigning for the job. There are three other statewide races in 2010. Dana Murphy is up for re-election, even though she was on the ballot in 2008. Dana is running for a full six year term in 2010 after winning a squeaker in 2008 against Jim Roth, an openly gay man appointed by Governor Henry after former Commissioner Denise Bode resigned her post. Dana won by slightly more than 60K votes in 2008 and it's a cinch the Ds will field a candidate against her, though none have publicly announced yet.

Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland, a Democrat, is also up for re-election. To my knowledge, no Republican has announced their intention to run for the seat and it's unlikely she will face opposition from her own Party. Holland has the support of some promonent Republicans, which may help propel her to re-election.

The State Auditor and Inspector of Oklahoma is Steve Burrage, who was appointed by Governor Henry in July 2008 after Jeff McMahan resigned after being found guility of federal campaign finance charges. Burrage, a banker, is rumored to be looking at the State Treasurers race if Meacham decides to not seek re-election or to run for AG. The logical Republican candidate would be Gary Jones, the current State Party Chairman and two time GOP nominee for the office. Jones, a CPA, has said he can't put his family through a third statewide race financially. Other Rs that may be eyeing the race include former State Auditor and Inspector and State GOP Chairman Tom Daxon.

J. Paul Getty once said the key to success was to “start early, work hard and strike oil.” Getty realized that his success wasn’t always dependent on how hard he worked or how early he started, but on divine intervention. Hopefully these “early birds” recognize that simple premise.

1 comment:

C. L. Hale said...

Great information Steve, thanks for posting this.