The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

September 5, 2013

Okla. Dem chairman says Henry pondering race

OKLAHOMA CITY — Will he or won't he? Or can he?

Former Gov. Brad Henry has looked into whether he's eligible for a third term for governor and believes a change in Oklahoma's term-limits law that was made while he was in office doesn't apply to him, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins said Thursday.

Collins said he asked the former two-term governor Wednesday night if he were mulling a run against Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in 2014. Henry didn't confirm or deny any such plans but said he believed he would be eligible for a third term, Collins said.

"When I first approached him about it, he kind of grinned and laughed. I thought maybe there was something there. He said: 'You never say never,'" Collins said after meeting with the former governor at a private fundraiser. "He didn't rule out the possibility that he was. I'd say he was keeping his cards pretty close to the vest, but his comment of 'never saying never' at least left the door open some.

"He has at least given it enough thought to figure out there was a legal way to do it," Collins said.

Telephone messages left Wednesday and Thursday at his Norman consulting business, which he runs with his former chief of staff, Gerald Adams, were not returned.

Henry, 50, of Shawnee, served two consecutive terms as Oklahoma's governor, winning elections in 2002 and 2006. At that time, the Oklahoma Constitution prohibited governors from serving "more than two times in succession." The constitution was amended in 2010 to limit any governor to no more than eight years in office, but it's not clear if that change could apply retroactively to Henry.

The nine-member Oklahoma Supreme Court, which likely would decide the issue, includes six justices appointed by Henry.

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