Monday, April 4, 2016

The Dead Duck in Oklahoma

So how red is Oklahoma?

It's this red.

In this morning's The Oklahoman, Chris Casteel provided us with these choice facts regarding the five congressional races, and one senate seat up for grabs this year.

Republican Senator Jim Lankford, who took over the last two years of Tom Coburn's uncompleted term, has $800,000 available for his re-election campaign. Luckily for him, he won't need to use a dime of it. As of today he is running unopposed. He told Casteel that if it remains that way he'll take a leisurely tour of the state, then jet off to other places where republicans in the upper house are actually finding themselves in tough campaigns against credible candidates.

The position of Oklahoma democrats is so dire that Casteel reports a party spokesperson wouldn't even return his phone calls regarding a possible opponent to Lankford. He also pointed out the last time Oklahoma elected a democratic senator was back in 1990 when incumbent David Boren won. Boren, who is now the president of the University of Oklahoma, was a Skull and Bones guy along with the Bush boys and quite publicly thought little of William Jefferson Clinton.

In the first congressional district, which covers Tulsa, Bartlesville, and Wagoner, Congressman Jim Bridenstine is also running unopposed. Don't worry, he's used to it. He won his second term two years ago also without any opposition.

Things are a little tougher in the second district for incumbent Markwayne Mullin. Even though he's a tea party type he has drawn a primary opponent named Dale Jackson. That's because the congressman committed the sin of voting for a spending bill late last year to fund the government. If Mullin survives the challenge he will face democrat, Joshua Harrison-Till, who, Casteel darkly warns, is actually in favor of the Affordable Care Act. In addition there is a libertarian named, Aaron Davies running.

In the third district, which encompasses nearly the entire western half of Oklahoma, republican Frank Lucas has been an institution since 1994. Unsurprisingly, the democrats couldn't find anyone willing to waste their time and other people's money to run against him.

Republican Tom Cole is seeking re-election in the fourth district. He's used to the screamers coming after him from the right fringe because he does crazy shit, like when he voted to retain John Boehner as the house speaker. This year he's looking at two of them, truck driver, Shawn Roberts and a Norman, OK middle school teacher, James Taylor. If he wins, which is expected, the democrats have nothing to offer in response.

All of which brings us to the Oklahoma fifth district. It includes much of metro Oklahoma City, but through the miracle of gerrymandering slinks east via a narrow isthmus and also takes in Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

It is currently being served by freshman republican Congressman, Steve Russell. Two years ago he barely won the GOP primary over Patrice Roberts, but then pulled away from her easily in the runoff. In the general election he faced democrat, Al McAffrey, the state's first openly gay legislator and won a little over 60% of the vote.

Once sworn in, Mr. Russell immediately fucked up. He listened to Cole and also voted to retain Boehner. He was instantly bombarded with social media posts from his constituents which accused him of being everything from weak, to just another socialist son of a bitch.

Now republican Frank Volpe is running against him. Casteel quoted Volpe as saying Russell's vote on that same spending bill, Mullin said yes to was, "A tipping point in a series of votes that did not uphold representative government."

On the other side of the coin the democrats have McAffrey and Tom Guild. Guild is a former professor at OU who ran for the seat in 2012 when Lankford was still holding it. He managed to pull in 37% of the vote in the general election. Two years ago he lost in a runoff to McAffrey.

So there we have it. There are six federal seats up for grabs in Oklahoma this year. In four of them democrats can't even find a warm body to challenge the GOP incumbents. In the second district the party's candidate is a recent college graduate whose entire political experience consists of serving as a congressional intern for less than two years. In the fifth district there are a couple of worn out retreads, neither of whom have won 40% of the vote in two previous elections.

Nationally, the democratic mascot is a proud, kicking, donkey. But, let's face it, in Oklahoma it's a dead duck.

Get used to it, because this isn't going to change any time soon. Hey, you will never win if you don't find someone who can, or, at the very least, put a name on the God damned ballot. Right now, Oklahoma democrats are unable to do either.

And yes, the bar is most definitely open.


1 comment:

  1. I'm not qualified to comment on Oklahoma politics, have been gone too long. But, I will share a memory of the 1974 gubernatorial race. The Oklahoman came out in support of republican candidate Jim Inhof over soon to be Governor David Boren. The editorial stated something to the effect that, while they had no real qualm with democrat Boren, they would support conservative republican Inhof anyway. As far as I know, that is about as close to endorsing a democrat that the Gaylords ever came during that era, and maybe beyond.