What did Lankford do right that Brogdon did wrong?

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I'm asking; I don't have an answer, as I wasn't following the 5th Congressional District race. I invite my Oklahoma City readers to share their observations.

In James Lankford you have a political novice who puts together a conservative grassroots campaign to finish ahead of several more heavily financed candidates. Meanwhile, Randy Brogdon, an eight-year state senator and former city councilor, falls short in his quest for the GOP nomination for governor.

Undoubtedly it helped Lankford for two name candidates to be in the race, splitting the vote -- Brogdon had a higher percentage than Lankford -- but he still had to put together over a third of the primary vote, something insurgent congressional candidates in the 1st and 4th districts failed to do. Had a conservative Oklahoma City-area elected official (e.g. Leonard Sullivan, Mike Reynolds) also run for governor, enough votes might have been peeled away from Mary Fallin to force a runoff. As it was, a contentious congressional primary seems to have driven turnout in Fallin's district, entirely to her advantage.

More analysis as I have time, but three more thoughts for now:

* The folks who spent their time and treasure on also-ran congressional candidates in the 1st and 4th Districts would have been wiser to put that effort toward Brogdon's campaign.

* Oklahoma City Republicans don't seem to like voting for Tulsans. In 2006, two viable candidates for governor from Tulsa (Bob Sullivan, Jim Williamson) split a minority of the vote, while Ernest Istook sailed to victory without a runoff. During the late campaign, there was a proprietary vibe from many central Oklahoma conservative commentators: Fallin was their girl, and nothing was going to budge them from their support for her.

* The bloggers who are stomping and whining that Brogdon needs to get aboard the Fallin bandwagon RIGHT THIS MINUTE need to back off. Do you enjoy being pressured publicly? Does public pressure make you more likely to give in, or more likely to dig in your heels? And if he issues an endorsement now after getting peppered with demands from prominent conservative bloggers, are his supporters likely to view it as sincere or perfunctory?

I sense more triumphalism in those demands than genuine concern for party unity. Edmondson's early endorsement of Askins was necessary to rule out a recount or a challenge of the results. The Republican results were clear. These Fallin supporters seem to be paying more attention to Brogdon now than they did before the primary. If he wasn't important enough to be worthy of a debate before the primary, why is his endorsement so important now?

If Randy Brogdon is to provide a credible endorsement that energizes his supporters on Fallin's behalf, he will have to do it on his own terms and in his own time. Give the man some respect and some space.

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8 Comments

Cheryl Williams said:

Lankford's campaign was fueled, I believe, because there wasn't a high profile opponent. Even though Calvey had held office, and Thompson was still in office, they were not well known outside their legislative district. Calvey and Roy had run before for 5th District, but did not get into the run off, or even a great deal of votes at that time.

As for what did he did right and Brogdon did not do right... money was probably the factor that hindered Brogdon's campaign. Lankford's coffers were competitive with the big dollar donors to Thompson's campaign and the self-funding of Calvey. Lankford also is very well known in the Southern Baptist circles, and that helped immensely!

That's my take on it... guess the lesson learned is that money does make a difference in a campaign, but (thankfully) the pendulum is beginning to swing back to show that volunteers are also going to be vital to winning

route66news said:

Two observations:

-- Mary Fallin gaining the endorsement of Sarah Palin helped her solidify her front-runner standing, and it probably neutralized any potential benefit that Brogdon got from Tea Party supporters.

-- Brogdon's state militia comments -- and the evasive or vague answers that followed -- hurt him when he was trying to establish himself in the weeks before the primary. Militia types led to one of the nation's biggest terrorist attacks in Oklahoma City. Militias remain a sore spot with many Oklahomans. Brogdon apparently forgot this.

Those are the two things that come to mind.

LD Jackson said:

Although I do not consider myself a prominent conservative blogger, I did question why Brogdon is holding back on endorsing Mary Fallin. I supported him during the primary, but this turn of events somewhat puzzled and concerned me. That concern has to do with party unity and nothing else. Like I said, I was hoping he would win the primary.

Charles P Author Profile Page said:

Had Randy Brogdon issued an immediate show of support for his party's candidate, as Drew Edmondson did, there would be no "stomping and whining". I do not like Drew Edmondson and I certainly would not have voted for him, but he showed class that Brogdon clearly lacks by voicing his support for his party's chosen candidate during his concession speech.

As the father of three children, Charles P, I'm well aware that if I give them what they want as soon as they want it, they won't stomp and whine about it.

Ordinarily there's some time after a primary and an opportunity for a meeting between candidates before an endorsement is announced. As I mentioned above -- hopefully you read it, Charles P -- the closeness of the race was an unusual circumstance that prompted Edmondson's early announcement.

Anna said:

I think Cheryl is dead on about money.

Route66News already mentioned the Sarah Palin endorsement, but I would like to expand that to include endorsements in general. For whatever reason, Brogdon never pursed endorsements with any kind of passion or any kind of ordered plan. About 5 weeks before the primary (just before the Palin endorsement hit the news) he gave up entirely on it. He did this with a very nice sounding speech about "I'm not seeking the endorsement of other politicians. I'm seeking the endorsement of the people." Sounds nice, but still not a good idea. Glenn Beck and Paul Jacobs publicly supported Brogdon, but that was to their own credit and alertness. As far as I know, they were not pursued in any way by the campaign.

Great point about endorsements, Anna. Early endorsements from his legislative colleagues around Oklahoma and from ordinary Oklahomans would have been a great help and could have offset the impact of Fallin's out-of-state endorsers. Brogdon did well in the Tulsa area, where he was already well known, but was beaten badly almost everywhere else. He needed respected local voices in each of the 77 counties to help him connect to local voters.

Back in 2001, in the special election to replace Steve Largent as 1st District Congressman, First Lady Cathy Keating had a long list of celebrity conservative endorsements. John Sullivan countered with an ever-growing list of endorsements from 1st District residents, which he had posted on his web page and in a full-page newspaper ad. It was very effective, and I'm surprised that Brogdon's campaign manager, who managed that 2001-2 Sullivan campaign, didn't use that strategy this time.

Shadow6 said:

This is a familiar scenario. The Establishment candidate against the pulcky, capable insurgent. The Establishment candidate refuses to debate the insurgent, outspends them and moves on.

In city politics LaFortune and Bartlett ignored Medlock, and another candidate...designed to suck away votes from Medlock....appeared, so all those guys had to do was get a plurality.

In state politics Fallin did her best to ignore Brogdon.

So here's the deal. Candidates of ALL parties that believe in an open election process could bind together in an "Open Election Alliance", or "The Fair Shake Coalition", and state up frond that if the winning candidate refuses to debate them properly, they will not endorse them if they win the election. If somebody was ignored during the primary, why should they be relevant during the general?

The trick is after the primary the losing candidate must be strong and refuse to endorse, no matter the pressure applied. That might shake things up a bit.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 30, 2010 2:42 PM.

Oklahoma Primary 2010: The aftermath was the previous entry in this blog.

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