Analysis: The six Oklahoma Republicans campaigning for governor over the past year will meet tonight and you can watch online. They are set to appear at a forum sponsored by The Oklahoman at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. Newsok.com will provide live streaming of the forum, with questions scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
A total of 15 people filed for governor: 10 Republicans, two Democrats and three Libertarians. I bet at least seven filed as a bucket-list check off, but maybe a partridge in a pear tree can win. The serious nature of the job suggests filing is not the best time to begin a statewide campaign to reach over three million people.
Click here to reach Newsok.com. The story on the forum by Chris Casteel may be reached by clicking here, but be tolerant as they spread the story over six pages. Feel free to compare our view with that of The Oklahoman.
All candidates will not appreciate this review, but at this point in the race, all should welcome the links provided so you may finalize your own opinion.
Apparently in Central Oklahoma Mick Cornett, the Oklahoma City mayor for 14 years, is a favorite. He has spoken in Tulsa and offered a vibrant set of glittering generalities absent substance. Cornett is apparently the special interest empty suit. This writer asked after one of his speeches if he could provide just one example of how he would, as governor, reduce the function of state government to a point we could afford. He dogged the question. He also failed when asked to define the word “conservative” that he used often during the presentation. Some suggest that privately Cornett will speak specifics, but that type of hidden personality does not build pubic trust. He is a former news reporter so it is fair to say he long made a living as a talking head.
Casteel makes fun of the current Lt. Governor Todd Lamb campaign speech for its predictability. We like Todd Lamb, 46, but he has spent a lot more time in state service than in the Secret Service. He is also known for his taxpayer-funded security detail and highway patrol chauffeured travels to every county in Oklahoma at speeds usually exceeding limits. Lamb would have more support statewide if anyone could remember a dang thing he has actually done on the job in 8 years.
Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, 77, is making his second run for governor stressing many of the same themes he did in the 2002 race. He then ran as an independent thus giving us Democrat governor Brad Henry, smoke shops, lottery and Indian gaming – sin mostly – by splitting the votes of conservative Republicans.
Richardson hates toll roads and quotes a 1995 study that doesn’t say what he says it says, but the study is long and boring enough most people don’t care to read it. Further, he claims he is “anti-corruption” because he prosecuted a dozen or so county commissioners out of the seventy-five convicted.
Of course, all trial lawyers are anti-corruption and never campaign in their own interests. Pigs can fly on planes.
Neck-in-neck with Richardson within the angry-right of the Republican Party this cycle is Dan Fisher. Fisher, 58, a pastor in Yukon and a former state House member is running to criminalize all abortions. Fisher wants law enforcement to shut down every abortion clinic in the state, assert “state sovereignty” and ignore all court orders on abortion. What offends almost everyone is that he is shamelessly abusing Christianity by holding “Values Summits” as cover for his campaign. Further, Fisher accuses other Republicans of not being anti-abortion because they don’t assert the same agenda. Abortion is a matter of faith in our secular nation.
Kevin Stitt, 45, of Jenks is the know-nothing candidate hoping to convince Oklahomans they need a businessman not a politician. He will say people who helped create Oklahoma’s problems aren’t the ones to solve those problems.
Reporter Casteel notes that Stitt is the least fluent of the six in discussing government budgeting and programs – ignorance always looks brilliant to itself in the mirror, especially if it has millions to spend.
Oklahoma Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, 63, stands out from primary rivals because he is specific. At forums, Jones is a fact-checker for other candidates, challenging or even refuting their claims often on the spot – it is fun to watch.
Jones is the only candidate who actually knows how stuff works top to bottom.
Jones is a CPA and former County Commissioner who has won two statewide races and is known among votes from his years as chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. As Auditor and Inspector, Jones brought the auditing process up to date and saved citizens millions while highlighting mistakes and crimes.
It was Gary Jones who found and exposed the misdeeds of Gene Stipe and Jeff McMahan that the FBI used to send those Demo-Rats to prison. That tops Richardson’s anti-corruption claims by a mile as Jones suffered direct attacks for his good effort.
Jones also formulated the compromise that recently funded teacher pay raises. The bill passed and signed by the governor is essentially the package proposed by Jones, a rare candidate of knowledge, honor and substance. Jones may not be glitzy, but he can fix Oklahoma.
In this analysis, we have aggravated a few, surprised a few and teased stories to come. It’s a media thing designed to engage the reader to study all the candidates, think about the issues and seriously consider what is important for the Great State of Oklahoma.
Your opinions, comments, encouragements and all are welcome below.