Coburn cultivates the grassroots

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Wednesday night I stopped by an open house at Tom Coburn's Tulsa campaign headquarters in Eton Square at 61st & Memorial. The candidate himself was there, mingling and chatting with us.

I was impressed by the folks who turned out. It wasn't a huge crowd -- I don't think they gave the event a lot of publicity -- but the people in attendance were the sort of grassroots Republican activists who provided the manpower and commitment for past upset victories over "anointed" candidates. Many of those present worked for John Sullivan in his special election win, and some were involved back in 1980 when a little-known State Senator from Ponca City came from nowhere to become a U. S. Senator.

The crowd even included some staffers who work for Republican elected officials who have endorsed Kirk Humphreys (and now may be wishing they hadn't).

At Saturday's Republican state convention, Don Nickles acknowledged the three main candidates to replace him, and the effect was like an applause-o-meter, with Coburn getting the loudest, most enthusiastic response, followed by Anthony, with Humphreys getting a subdued cheer.

There is no doubt that the grassroots activists are passionate about Tom Coburn. The question will be whether Coburn's campaign can effectively organize and mobilize these people to win over the vast majority of non-activists who will show up in large numbers for the July primary. Humphreys had a lot of young people working for him at the state convention, stationed at nearly every door, handing out stickers, bottled water, and "Candy from Kirk". (I had the sense, though, that a lot of these attractive young folk were involved in the Humphreys campaign because of all the other attractive young folk who are involved. Kind of like a teenage boy joining a church because the girls in the youth group are cuter than the church his folks go to.) Bob Anthony's daughters appeared to be everywhere as well. Coburn's people seemed to be fewer in number and mostly stayed close to their table.

The Coburn campaign is looking for Tulsa volunteers, and they'll be having a volunteer training seminar this Saturday, May 15, from 10 am to noon in the East Atrium of Cityplex Towers, 81st & Lewis. Call Regional Director Derek Sparks at 918-294-8352 for info or visit

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» OK: Pre-Republican primary from Political State Report

Wondering about the status of Republican hopefuls Anthony, Coburn and Humphreys in the quest to replace Sen. Don Nickles? This is the best poll I've seen to date. At Saturday’s Republican state convention, Don Nickles acknowledged the three main candid... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 14, 2004 12:10 AM.

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