A Political Tornado in Oklahoma: Analysis | Government


Last week, a host of candidates applied in Oklahoma.

Sooner State is one of only two to have both U.S. Senate races on the ballot (California is the other) in 2022.

A total of 26 candidates filed for the two seats. 13 Republicans have applied for the seat currently held by US Senator Inhofe.

US Senator James Lankford, candidate for re-election, faces 2 opponents in the GOP primary.

The 2nd Congressional District seat, currently held by U.S. GOP Rep. Mark Wayne Mullin, who is running for the Senate seat of Inhofe, has 14 Republicans vying to replace him.

Governor Kevin Stitt faces 3 main adversaries. Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell has no Republican opponent. State Auditor Cindy Byrd faces a Republican primary opponent and State Labor Commissioner Leslie Osburn has 2 GOP opponents.

Three statewide “open” seats (no incumbent) attracted several Republican candidates. There are three GOP nominees for state treasurer, three for state superintendent of public instruction, and four for society commissioner.

The Attorney General race has 2 Republicans facing each other in the primary. The current AG was appointed by Governor Stitt, so technically it is also an “open” seat. Only one elected statewide did not attract an opponent, Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready.

In the court and district attorney races, 116 of the 148 nonpartisan judges were unopposed.

22 of the state’s 27 ADs have not drawn opponents.

Nine of the 24 state senators running for election were unopposed. 32 of the 101 state representatives did not attract opponents.

A candidate’s hope is to file unopposed, thereby avoiding a campaign.

Three observations:

First, Oklahoma Republicans will have to buy bigger mailboxes and stop watching TV.

GOP voter mailboxes are about to be full. With just 70 days until the Republican primary (Tuesday, June 28), candidates will bombard voters with multiple letters.

Sleek, well-produced TV commercials will dominate the airways.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms will be flooded with political content.

Candidates will brag about their superior qualifications, intelligence, judgment, and their opponent’s shortcomings and shortcomings. The Truth in Labeling Act does not apply to politics, so anything mailed will not be truthful.

Campaigns are banking on “uninformed” voters (those who only pay attention every two years). This avoids difficult issues and instead appeals to voters on an emotional level.

It’s a proven tactic.

Second, voters must learn to vet candidates properly.

Don’t start interviewing a candidate with an editorial statement of your position on the issue.

You are not the candidate. The goal is to know the position of the candidate on the question. They are the ones who vote. Listen carefully to the candidate’s response and insist that the question be answered clearly and concisely.

When viewing ads and campaign materials, recognize that candidates always present themselves in a positive light and their opponent in a negative light.

Ask people who are more involved in the political process than you about the candidates. Pray and ask God to enlighten you and discern who to vote for. Don’t base your voting decision on a sign, letter, TV ad, or eloquent speech.

Your vote is a sacred right, cast it wisely. Not all candidates/politicians are alike. Be an informed voter.

Third, respect everyone who is running for office. It takes courage and determination to apply.

In a system of self-government, having good people subject themselves to scrutiny by running for office is no small feat. You can disagree with their ideas without being disrespectful, insulting, or mean-spirited.

In about 70 days, most statewide races will be decided.

Democrats have a slim chance of winning a statewide race in Oklahoma, so whoever wins the GOP primary will likely pick up victory in November.

Get ready for a political tornado over the next 2 months. And don’t get caught in the vortex!

NOTE: Steve Fair is a commentator whose analyzes regularly appear in The Oklahoma City Sentinel print or online editions. He is a longtime conservative activist and leader of the Republican Party. Contact him by email at okgop@aol.com. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.

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