The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

July 31, 2013

Candidates for statewide office hard to find in Oklahoma

— Oklahoma Democrats running for statewide office belong on a milk carton.

That’s because they’re missing. Many potential candidates blew a significant deadline to file campaign finance reports before the 2014 elections, according to an Associated Press report.

Will Rogers, a newspaper columnist, once quipped he was “not a member of any organized political party,” and thus, a Democrat. His humorous remark is relevant again when you consider the lack of big-name Dems currently running for statewide office.

In fact, they’re running from office.

“If you’re fishing for a name for a gubernatorial candidate, we’re still fishing, too,” Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins bluntly told AP.

Why would a competent Democratic candidate throw their hat in the statewide ring? Frankly, it’s not worth personal, political and financial risk. And no one wants to lose.

Distrust of Washington is at its apex, and President Barack Obama is tremendously unpopular in Oklahoma. From the White House to the courthouse, everyone’s been campaigning against so-called “Obamacare.”

And consider this: Circa 2009, Democratic Congressman Dan Boren had a photo with President George W. Bush hanging in his Durant headquarters, but a photo with the current commander in chief was suspiciously absent.

Oklahoma Democrats of the Boren and Edmondson lineage are historically pragmatic and fairly conservative. To win in this political climate, a viable candidate needs to be a DINO (Democrat In Name Only), and a famous one at that.

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