Rep. Mary Fallin (OK) won the GOP gubernatorial nomination last night with 55% of the vote. It was a clear victory but State Sen. Randy Bragdon’s 39% indicates he picked up considerable support over the past few weeks. The results were damaging to the reputation of the state’s best known survey, the Sooner Poll.
A May 25th Sooner Poll gave Fallin a 59% to 10% lead, and on July 16th they claimed she was winning by 56% to 18%. This could mean undecided voters broke heavily for Brogdon.
The real surprise was on the Democratic side. Lt. Gov. Jari Askins narrowly defeated Attorney General Drew Edmondson, 50% to 49%. Once again, the Sooner Poll was far off the mark. They had Edmondson ahead of Askins 49% to 33% on July 21st. Edmondson had raised more money than any candidate, $2.6 million.
Gov. Brad Henry (D) is retiring after two terms because of term limits, and the GOP has a definite edge in capturing this office in November. In 2008, GOP presidential candidate John McCain carried every county in Oklahoma and won 66% of the vote.
Both Fallin and Askins avoided run-offs. Askins won by six-tenths of one percent, but she immediately received a strong endorsement from her opponent:
To her credit and mine, this primary has been one on the issues, on the record, clean, positive, straightforward. I think it will be written down in the history books as a testament to both Jari Askins and Drew Edmondson that the Democratic Party comes out of this primary united and unfractured and ready to win this state.
The same can not be said for Republicans. GOP primary voters felt Fallin was well qualified after serving as Lt. Governor for 12 years before her 2006 election to Congress. Her lifetime American Conservative Union rating is 96%, and she was endorsed by former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK).
Nevertheless, Fallin’s support for former President George W. Bush’s 2008 TARP (Toxic Assets Recovery Program) was not well received by many primary voters. Fallin emphasized that 93% of the $350 million lent by the Bush administration had already been repaid with interest, and the program was necessary to avoid pushing America into a depression.
The reaction of Brogdon supporters such as Erick Manard was typical, “Why would anyone back Mary Fallin who supported the bankster bailout?” Douglas Stark of Oklahoma City said Fallin “blew it with me when she voted for the bail outs. We don’t want government interring with private business at all.”
Brogdon described his opponent’s action as “Unconstitutional,” while she emphasized that conservatives leaders such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Sarah Palin also backed TARP. It was endorsed by the conservative magazine National Review. The title of Brogdon’s website is “Reclaiming State’s Rights,” and his response focused on Palin:
It’s perplexing why Gov. Palin, a self-described conservative, would endorse someone who supported the Wall Street Bailout. The simple truth is that an endorsement from Ronald Reagan himself wouldn’t change the fact Mary Fallin supports Big Government bailouts and pork barrel spending.
Brogdon did not endorse Fallin in his remarks last night and Fallin said she was hoping to meet with him. Some of his most vocal supporters last night indicated they would not back Fallin. Brogdon describes himself as a “constitutional conservative,” and had the backing of several Tea Party organizations.
He disappointed regular Republicans by speaking of “the threat of the North American Union and the NAFTA Superhighway,” neither of which exists. Brogdon was also supported by leaders of the Libertarian and Constitution Parties.
Reaction From Brogdon Supporters:
Terri Shepherd Goss says she will not support Fallin, and “Maybe I need to move.” Goss posted this on Fallin’s website: “Can we get a signed contract stating you will do as your constituents wish and no backroom shenanigans or bail outs?”
Keven Catton said he will now back the Democratic nominee, even though he believes Lt. Gov. Askins is a liberal.
Kim Swope Scherer says Brogdon was the only candidate who supported the Constitution and she circulated several articles criticizing Congresswoman Fallin.
Brad Benigar of Nichols Hills was backing Brogdon because “I only vote for persons of character and who follow the Constitution.” He was referring to her acrimonious divorce.
Ethan Sisson of Norman was in the Brogdon camp because “He believes in personal sovereignty. I am confident he will defend us from any forced vaccination attempt.”
Brian Richey of Ringwood says Fallin “Does not have my vote and she will have to earn it . . I am not sure she understands the Constitution. How was the bail out money Constitutional?”
Jim Johnson of Ardmore supports the Libertarian Party and says “Fallin is a RINO.”
Reaction From Mary Fallin Supporters
Beau Hogrefe of Tulsa: “She scored a victory for rational Republicans.”
Tina Alters: “I have followed her for years. She has really good solid conservative values and she hasn’t been afraid to stand up for them in DC.”
Gregory L. Smith of Oklahoma City: “Randy Brogdon was just too devious, too negative, and too userping too win.”
Cliff Davis runs a hotel in Stillwater and is upset with people who call Fallin a RINO (Republican in Name Only): “Do they really think she would be successful after all of these years if she was a RINO? I have know Mary for years. We have prayed together on many occasion. She is a God fearing lady who loves Oklahoma. People may have there differences but have far more in common if one will only look.”
Jodie Tucker: “Mary has been where a lot of women in Oklahoma have been, nasty divorce, and struggling in a ‘man’s world’. I see her as a career woman, who does not believe in murdering unborn babies and educating the ones who are born. If Oklahoma’s children don’t start getting more priority in legislators’ eyes, we are in more trouble than anyone can imagine.”