Sunday, April 7, 2024

Send the candidates who are hirelings, lackadaisical voters and novices home!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Filing for political offices ended on Friday in Oklahoma.  During the three-day filing period, 285 people filed for the legislature, U.S. House and the open Corporation Commission seat.  This was the lowest number of candidates to file for office in the Sooner state since 2012, when 275 filed.  Three Republicans threw their hat into the ring for the open Corporation Commission seat Bob Anthony has held for 36 years.  The GOP nominee will face a Democrat and Libertarian nominee in the November general election.  That race is the sole statewide race on the 2024 ballot.

     Six incumbent Republican state senators filed unopposed.  There are twenty-six (26) senate districts up for election in 2024.  Forty-two (42) incumbent state representatives filed unopposed.  Over 40% of the 127 legislative seats up for election in 2024 will have no race.   Either lawmakers are doing a bang-up job or no one wants the job.  The truth is voters are apathic about politics.  Most have little idea what is going on in their local and state government. 

     There are four county elective offices up for election in all 77 counties this cycle: Sherriff, County District #2, County Clerk, and County Court Clerk.  The vast majority of incumbents in those races filed unopposed.  Three observations:

     First, unopposed incumbents should not equate not having an opponent with stellar performance.  The truth is the vast majority of the voting public have little idea what their elected officials’ duties are.  Before a politico starts slapping themselves on the back, they need to acknowledge their uncontested race could be that no one wants the job.       

      Second, it is the voter’s job to vet candidates.  This year has attracted a large number of novice candidates In ‘open’ seats (no incumbent).  These newcomers know little to nothing about the issues or the duties of the office they are seeking.  They were recruited by a special interest group trying to buy a seat or a political consultant looking to make a buck.  If the neophyte happens to be elected, they will be trained to do the bidding of those who funded the campaign.  Beware of first-time candidates who have never shown interest in politics, but last week rolled out of bed and filed for office.  Be wary of candidates who have a history of not being a faithful voter.  Voters shouldn’t elect people who have little to no respect for the privilege of voting.  Those candidates may be marketable/electable, but voters can ill afford to train someone on the job. 

     Third, elected officials should be servant leaders.  In Exodus 18:21, Moses’ father-in-law advises him to seek out servant leaders with four attributes: (1) competence (2) fear God, (3) trustworthy/honest, and (4) not covetous.  In other words, people of action and those with a track record, not those who are self-promoting narcissists seeking office to be somebody, not to do something.

     Sorting through the campaign propaganda is a challenge.  Every candidate says they have the four characteristics described, but few possess them.  Oklahoma requires candidates report campaign contributions to the Ethics Commission.  Who is donating to a candidate provides insight as to where their allegiance lies.  Ask candidates tough questions, and don’t give them the answer you want to hear when asking the question.  Don’t allow them to speak in generalities.  Make them be specific on their position. 

     Campaign signs are already out.  Soon mailboxes will be full with slick printed brochures.  Facebook posts will abound with candidate boasting.  Oklahoma voters should be diligent and vet the candidates in every race.   Send the hirelings, lackadaisical voters and novices back home to a real job.  We deserve better.  The primary is June 18th.   

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