Watts out. Who's in?

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Got a comment wondering if I'd be writing about the decision of former Congressman J. C. Watts, Jr., not to run for Governor of Oklahoma. I heard Watts on KFAQ this morning. He cited family as the main reason for his decision, wanting to be a part of his kids' lives. He's also discovered that there's a life beyond politics. He seems to be keeping plenty busy.

I am an Oklahoma Republican, I think Brad Henry is leading the state in the wrong direction (to the extent that he is leading at all), and I would dearly love to see him defeated in the 2006 election. I'm sure many Republican activists were very sad to hear J. C.'s announcement, believing that he was the only possible Republican candidate with the name recognition and charisma to defeat Brad Henry.

Of course, in 2002 the Republicans had a candidate with great name recognition and charisma, in the person of Steve Largent -- although you could argue that a QB for the Sooners (during the Barry Switzer glory days, no less) is better known statewide than a Golden Hurrican wide receiver, even if the latter is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (Barry endorsed Brad Henry in 2002. Would he have stayed on the sidelines if Brad's opponent had been one of his former players?) (Watts is listed as one of the legends of the Canadian Football League.)

So who's in the race? Oklahoma Republicans have a deep bench -- plenty of sharp, intelligent, articulate elected officials -- but who wants to challenge an incumbent with such a high approval rating?

My state senator, Jim Williamson, announced his candidacy back in the spring. Williamson, an attorney, served as Senate Minority Leader during the previous legislature. He's been a leader for the pro-life cause and was instrumental in getting this year's landmark legislation passed. He's not yet well known, but those who know him hold him in high regard. (His campaign website is under construction.)

The only other announced candidate is Bob Sullivan, Jr., who was appointed Oklahoma Secretary of Energy by Gov. Frank Keating in 2002. I saw him, but didn't have the chance to talk to him, at this month's Tulsa County Republican Men's Club luncheon. He has a few things on his campaign website, which is actually a Blogger-hosted blog with a domain name redirect. Give him points for ingenuity and frugality -- that's a quick and cheap way to get content up on the web. Bob Sullivan is, as far as I know, no relation to John, Dan, Randy, Ed, Andrew, or Gilbert O', none of whom are related to each other, as far as I know.

House Speaker Todd Hiett is in his last term in the legislature and running for statewide office would be a natural next step. He's been doing plenty of fundraising and working to raise his profile among Republican activists. Being a rural Republican -- he's a dairy farmer -- is a great combination for a statewide race. Theoretically, he'd run as well as Republicans normally do in the cities, but do better in the small towns than a city Republican would. He is awfully young. (I.e., he is younger than I am.) He may choose to aim for a downticket office and wait his turn for a shot at the Governor's mansion.

There's talk about Gary Richardson, the spoiler in the 2002 race, getting in again, this time as a Republican. He shouldn't waste his time or money. You don't spend all your time tearing down the Republican nominee and then come back for years later and get to be the nominee. We haven't forgotten.

Politics1's Oklahoma page also lists Broken Arrow Sen. Scott Pruitt as a potential candidate. He ran a respectable race but finished third in the 2001/2 special primary to replace Steve Largent in Congress. Pruitt would have a strong supporter on Tulsa radio: KFAQ morning host Michael DelGiorno was on Pruitt's campaign team in 2001, and the two are good friends.

Will Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin get back in the governor's race? As in 2002, she looked ready to jump in, but backed out as a presumptive favorite appeared ready to run. She could probably outlast Good Guy George Nigh if she stays in her current office. She's had some high-profile moments as President of the Senate, forcing some issues to the floor that the Democrat majority would rather not confront. Her decision to back out of the 2002 race created the political equivalent of what KRMG traffic reporter Doc Nelson used to call a "three-car Rocky," as Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau-Wynn backed out of running for Lt. Gov. to run for re-election, facing former State Rep. Tim Pope, who got in the Labor Commissioner race thinking it was an open seat.

Anyone else come to mind for governor? For downticket offices? Post your ideas in the comments.


susan said:

Former Congressman J.C.Watts is an excellent speaker. Does anyone else remember how well he
delivered a speech on national t.v. several years ago? He must have gotten an A+ in voice and diction and public speaking in college. J.C.Watts worked very hard during his time in Washington, DC (remember someone now currently serving as taking credit for work J.C. and others did)as an Oklahoma Congressman, but there is a time and place for everything, and if he feels he needs time with his family then people should respect his decision.
Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin is very well respected and full of energy. She is very "safe" in her current job, and you can't blame her if she wants to stay in that position. She's doing a great job.
I can tell you during the time I spent at the State Capitol, I spoke with many different people, and not one spoke highly of the job satisfaction of Gov. Brad Henry. #1 gripe -- he's never around and according to the Tulsa World he recently was caught going on vacation far from Tulsa and never even told the proper people he was on vacation. It was a surprise to Mary Fallin who reports he's one of the Governors of Oklahoma with the highest absence.
Allow Mary Fallin's office to name all the trips
he and his wife (and/or family) have taken out of Oklahoma during his time as Governor.
Mark Easter would be a good candidate if he would accept to run and had the funding in place to run for Governor. Mark Easter is a Republican and is a good businessman. He has
been a Director of Information Technology. I think Mike would agree he certainly has the brilliance and ability to problem solve and work
with all type of problems and come up with excellent solutions. Once we were eating in a
restaurant and a girl we were talking to said her mother worked in the Republican party and asked us what can a Governor really do? She was serious. Mark came back immediately and said a Governor of Oklahoma can actually accomplish a LOT if he has the skills to do it. By the way, Mark is my husband. He has been successful in successfully coming to the aid of Bixby and bringing water solutions when we desperately needed answers to solve water problems in the 80's. He had the communication skills to bring a packed out crowd with him to Bixby (if you will look up archives in the Tulsa World he is listed as speaking at several serious water meetings in front of the Bixby City Council). At that time, Bixby City Council desperately needed someone to take charge and come up with answers to our water problems in Bixby. Mark Easter did. He also wrote and researched a
feasibility study he spent many hours researching and conducting interviews with officials that had the data to give the City of Bixby the information they needed to base a decision with accuracy. Just as it took engineers to figure out a solution to the water problems of Tulsa in the early 1900's in Tulsa,
Mark also figured the best possible solution out.
During his time in management at F/S, he won respect from many different engineering departments. He was chosen by corporate F/S as a
KEY EMPLOYEE. Previous to that he successfully was I.T. management at a huge hospital. Another company he was voted to their President's Club each year for his success in making their business successful, just as he was called a visionary for F/S. Mark Easter is also an excellent public speaker and he was chosen by our Neighbors for a Better Bixby to be the leader to bring a solution which he solved.

If anyone is interested in knowing more about him, you could ask Michael Bates as he knows Mark Easter very well. If more Oklahoma citizens are interested, he could come and talk on the morning show when Mike is on Monday mornings.


W. Author Profile Page said:

Of Michael's list of all the GOP candidates, none are very impressive. BTW, I don't think J.C. Watts was as strong as many people thought, mostly because he had an illegitimate child -- something that wouldn't have played well with a lot of Oklahomans.

Then again, no one's really sure what a candidate is made of until you actually get him/her out on the campaign trail. If a candidate looks good on paper but is a lousy campaigner, he's dead in the water. How well a candidate runs a campaign is often a strong reflection on how well he/she will run the office.

In other words, let's wait and see.

susan said:

My daughter won a special University of Oklahoma award and scholarship(she was also rank one Valedictorian) that had close to a thousand attend the evening it was presented to her. Many of those attending were alumni. Mayor LaFortune was there, Bob Stoops and the other well paid OU sports representatives. I have to tell you like J.C.Watts, Bob Stoops (OU head football coach) is a wonderful speaker! I recorded his speech. As for J.C.Watts -- the Republican party would not allow J.C. Watts to do the oratorical presentation on national t.v. I was referring to when he was in office if they felt he had not "done much" or was incapable of delivering
his speech from all the other Republican candidates the Republican party could have chosen. During the event when my daughter received her award, a small part of Bob Stoops speech was how the press critizes his O.U. football players. They report on all the negatives and when something heroic happens that one of his football players did, the paper (like the Tulsa World) is the decision maker on whether they think the positive act would be newsworthy -- where if an O.U. player was caught doing something as what happened with J.C. Watts, of course they would probably think that to be newsworthy.
Can you imagine all the possible "Kennedy" offspring there may be on a secret Kennedy trust fund list let
alone all past and present politicians your comment may or may not apply to that are viewed as politically successful? In case Bob Stoops happens to see this about him, I was in one of the O.U. buildings and an alumni came up to me, congratulated me for my daughter receiving her award, and sad "oh I just love that Bob Stoops"
He elevates the good moral standards our head O.U. football coaches should have but have failed in the past. She then proceeded and named the names of those she was referring to as well as mentioning other football coaches at
other universities. I just stood there quite
stunned as she told me what her husband did in his job position.

Jason A. Lawrence Author Profile Page said:

I'd run for you, but I'm a Dem :-D

uncle jim said:

when j c watts was a freshman congressman, he came to muncie indiana, along with our own freshman congressman david mcintyre, to speak at our local republican party annual lincoln day dinner. i was so impressed, i told my wife that after the dinner and program were over i wanted to stay and meet him and get his autograph - "he could be the first black president", i said. well, he may be out of it for now, but i wouldn't be surprised that someday he'll be back.

susan said:

I don't know how old J.C.Watts was when he had
his out of wedlock child some voters would probably criticize J.C. for, and don't forget the situation about his other family member that made news in the media, but this is how one person explained to me what a good dad is. This particular person came from a high profile family I know. In our neighborhood I grew up in there were many influential people with last names people would recognize. My parents mother and father were also very influential and as common as it is, they socialized with extremely influential people.
A person from an influential family was over our house and I was talking to him about his father. His biological father and his step- father. His biological father wanted nothing to do with him or his sister and brother. His parents divorced and the biological father never made any attempt to ever keep up with birthdays, or any other special events while growing up. His mother re-married and the step-father became like a real father to all the children. As for anyone that might have a child out of wedlock, I would hope you would be responsible for that child, love them and nuture their growth throughout their lifetime. Realize we all make mistakes, but if we learn from those mistakes and become a better person to achieve higher goals, the mistakes can make us stronger.

I personally would like to see a new type of Governor for Oklahoma that is NOT a lawyer. I mentioned Mark Easter as an example to get people thinking of a whole new type of candidate. Mark happens to be brilliant, a proven leader, someone that has been successful in business and not because dad or grandad left the candidate part or whole of the family business. He has served successfully in our community. All of our children we have taught to help others. We have two national Points of Light award winners and one that just got back from the World Championships and in a very tough competition scored as one of the very best on the instrument in which he competed. He has also served in an inner-city project and on a habitat for humanity project. What do do those type of projects help people to learn? There
are many in the state of oklahoma I feel that
are trapped. Within their circumstances of life, they can't get out easily to have a better life for themselves. One of the things about my children that were awarded the national Point of Light awards is they realized some of these people can be everyday people such as classmates or other kids from different situations
that don't happen to have parents to teach them
right from wrong or if they have a higher level
education question, when they go home at night,
the help isn't going to be there.
Oklahoma is a great state. Ideas to help bring the best to Oklahoma is one of the great
things people can discuss on Batesline.

susan said:

Republican United States Ernest Istook has announced he is seriously considering a run for governor in 2006. Istook said he think Oklahoma needs a stronger voice! (absolutely agree with him on that one.
Governor Brad Henry has not been a great Governor
at all. I have heard more complaints during his term in office since he first won. All of their complainers thoughts on Brad Henry was he is slow to get anything accomplished or he is gone
far more than most of our former Oklahoma Governors on vacation/etc. Mary Fallin would have the exact days he has "reported" he's not there. He recently even forgot to tell anyone even Fallin he was on vacation. When he first became Governor, it took about year for his website to provide adequate feedback. I complained to several people that had access to why this was. Their answer -- again he's slow and hires people on his staff that were not technological efficient in any way whatsoever. I had been promised by Governor Henry something he personally approved to me and he gave me his secretary's name to make sure I reminded him to make sure it got done. Well two years later he still had not gotten it done. I had a Senator
contact him and she was ignored and she had been in office for quite some time to get his attention. Still no results. Then the Senator after several contact attempts sent a letter to the Senator to give to me that Governor Henry had
decided he was NOT going to follow through with his agreement to me when he first was elected Governor.
Henry needs to be replaced. I personally think
Mark Easter would be a terrific Governor. He brilliant! At F/S, he always received the bonus where he was never sick and had perfect attendance. This by the way is a good trait to have in any Governor!
Istook as of August 28, 2005, with all of his
Republican connections in Washington, DC
could easily beat Henry. Largent took it for granted in my opinion that he could easily win over Henry. BIG MISTAKE. YOU SEE HOW THE DEMOCRATS LOWERED THEIR STANDARDS ONCE AGAIN TO WIN THE RACE THROUGH Henry riding the fence on the cockfighting issue. As a lawyer, they are taught to win both sides. You argue for the defendant, you learn to argue against the defendant. Some view lawyers of just not having a conscience or putting it on the back burner just to win the case or race they are working on at the time. I think that is what happened to Governor Brad Henry when he would not come right out and tell the voters of Oklahoma how horrible
it is to allow cockfighting in Oklahoma. If they were to have an owner that had lots of cats
and lots of dogs say I am going to have dog fighting or cat fighting, voters would scream to the roof !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! However, democrats also used some other dirty tricks on that campaign that won Henry the Gov. seat. Istook has professional compaign workers that would have taken on those attacks in the media
and attacked back at Henry to make him look like
an irresponsible candidate. Instead Largent's campaign staff was not capable of responding to the negatives and attacks towards the end of the race.
Anyway, the REPUBLICANS have a great chance of winning the next governor's seat. Henry has enough NEGATIVES IN HIS TIME IN OFFICE TO PROVE THAT.
susan easter

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