Oklahoma Primary 2014 recap
What an interesting night!
I had been at the watch party for Randy Brogdon, Ken Yazel, David Brumbaugh, and Chuck Strohm. The mood there was generally upbeat: Yazel had survived another establishment attempt to knock him off, winning re-election to another four-year term as County Assessor and Courthouse Gadfly with 64.8% of the vote. Brumbaugh won renomination to represent House District 76 with almost 75% of the vote. Strohm, running for the open House District 69 seat to replace Sydney Fred Jordan Jr, finished second but made the runoff.
Brogdon delivered an upbeat speech before the results began to come in and was as upbeat even after it was clear that no miracle was in the offing. He mentioned that he would be a grandfather for the first time later this year and urged the audience to continue to fight for liberty and for fiscal sanity for the sake of generations to come. He was, as always, a gracious gentleman. I've never seen him otherwise.
It was a pretty good night for the BatesLine ballot card.
Ken Yazel's re-election and sizeable margin was especially heartening.
My friend Jason Carini will be the new Rogers County Treasurer. He got into the race because no one else would run, and he wound up defeating a six-term incumbent. The incumbent DA and District 1 County Commissioner were both tossed out as well.
Republican DA Brian Kuester (Wagoner, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Adair Counties) won re-election by a wide margin. (No Democrat filed in an area that was once part of solid-Democrat Little Dixie.)
In the Tulsa County DA race, Steve Kunzweiler finished first with 46.8% and received a majority of the votes that were cast for the two actively-campaigning candidates, but State Sen. Brian Crain, who dropped out, got 13%. Jordan could gracefully drop out at this point, as Cathy Keating did in the 2001 special Congressional primary, but if he doesn't, it looks like there will have to be a runoff with the question of Jordan's eligibility still looming. (Could the State Election Board revisit eligibility at this point, as they certify the result of this election? Or must the court intervene? Will the court enjoin the State Election Board from certifying Jordan as a candidate for the runoff?)
For the first time in many years, a statewide incumbent official finished last in the primary. State Superintenden Janet Barresi not only finished behind Joy Hofmeister, who won the GOP nomination without a runoff, but she was beat by Brian Kelly, an also-ran four years ago. Some say that the last time something like this happened was 40 years ago, when scandal-tarred Gov. David Hall finished third to David Boren and Clem McSpadden in the 1974 Democrat primary. With 22% of the vote, Barresi wasn't beat quite as badly as Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller in 2008, but it was close.
Congratulations to City Councilors Jack Henderson, Jeannie Cue, and Blake Ewing, all of whom won re-election without a runoff. Ewing's principal opponent, Dewey Bartlett Jr's 2013 campaign manager Dan Patten, who raised $15,000 before the deadline, won 15% of the vote, not do much better than political novice Elissa Kay Harvill, who raised so little she didn't have to file paperwork, but won 6%.
In District 7, Republican incumbent Arianna Moore finished second to Democrat Anna America in the non-partisan primary, but there will be a runoff. Jonathan Turley finished a close third. Moore and America will face off in November, when partisan fervor is likely to energize Republicans and demoralize Democrats, at least here in the Sooner State.
It was not a good night for national Tea Party organizations. Mark McDaniel lost narrowly to decrepit incumbent Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican runoff for U. S. Senate. An important political difference between Oklahoma and Mississippi is that Oklahoma has party registration while Mississippi doesn't. In Oklahoma, if you're a Democrat or Independent on April 1, you can't become a Republican until September 1. In Mississippi, you may have voted in every Democrat primary for decades, but as long as you didn't take a Democrat ballot in the primary, you can take a Republican ballot in the runoff. Oklahoma's system is more consistent with the idea of a political organization choosing its own standard-bearer.
I've got a lot to say about the Oklahoma Senate race and why the national Tea Party groups failed to get their choice elected, but I'm too tired tonight.
And now, your moment of zen:
After many enjoyable conversations at the Brogdon/Yazel watch party, I drove into town to a coffeehouse to write this report and get a bite to eat. As I sat down, Paul Tay, candidate for Tulsa City Council District 9, who had been outside, walked in and made a determined beeline for my table. Not far behind him was Mike Workman, local Democrat activist and Labor Commissioner nominee. They had been at the Constance Johnson Tulsa watch party.
Tay, resplendent in a cowboy hat with an NRA sticker on the front, explained to me that his November opponent, Councilor G. T. Bynum, was overqualified for the Council, and what Bynum needs to do is leave the City Council, make a hard-right ideological turn, and prepare to run to replace Jim Inhofe in the U. S. Senate in six years. Why? Because Bynum in the Senate is the only way we'll get a federal earmark to pay for new low-water dams in the Arkansas River. The taxpayers won't pay for it, George Kaiser won't pay for it, so that leaves Uncle Sam.
The idea displays some insight, although Oklahoma conservatives wouldn't be likely to approve a candidate who supports earmarks, and Bynum has already burned several bridges with local conservatives. Local government is more often than not the graveyard of political careers. (Inhofe is a rare exception, but he lost re-election to a fourth two-year term as mayor in 1984 before a successful run for an open seat in Congress in 1986.) After a few minutes, Workman thoughtfully pointed out to Tay that I was probably writing on deadline and the two left.
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