Republicans Scared They're Going To Lose ... Oklahoma?
An article in The Federalist today warns that "Oklahoma Could Start Looking Like Oregon If Republicans Don’t Wake Up And Vote." I suppose means they could have cuter restaurants, more cultural opportunities,a lower crime rate, a lower maternal mortality rate, a lower infant mortality rate , a lower teen pregnancy rate , a higher life expectancy , a lower suicide rate , a higher quality of life , and that they will execute fewer innocent people. That seems nice! Good for you, Oklahoma!
For the last several weeks, Governor Kevin Stitt, a Republican, and Democrat Joy Hofmeisterhave been neck and neck, with the most recent poll showing Hofmeister with a three point lead. Granted, Hofmeister was a Republican up until about a year ago, and she is very much a moderate, whereas Stitt is very far right. It's Oklahoma, so we should take what we can get. (Though of course Dan Bongino called her a "liberal Democrat lunatic" on his show last week)
“Governor Stitt is running the state into the ground,” Hofmeister told the Tulsa World last year. “Through extremism, partisanship, ineffective leadership, he is hurting our education system, our health care, our infrastructure."
She also told the paper that the reason she was inspired to change parties was due to Stitt's failure as a leader during COVID. Things like that will change you.
Even as a Republican, it looks as though Hofmeister's record as state superintendent of public instruction was impressive. She created a statewide program allowing high school juniors to take the ACTs at no cost to families or schools, leading to a 29 percent increase in students taking the test. Math and English programs she implemented led the state to get an 'A' on Next Education's assessment of academic rigor, whereas it had previously been a 'D+'. This is likely a pretty big part of the reason she's so close to beating Stitt — people kind of like it when you help their kids.
Indeed, one of the only areas I could find in which Oklahoma beat Oregon was in high school graduation rates (87 to 84 percent).
Another reason is that she has the endorsement of the five major Native American tribes in Oklahoma, which is a pretty big deal, especially considering this is the first time that has ever happened, and that Stitt himself is part of the Cherokee Nation.
Additionally, while Hofmeister is not opposed to the death penalty , she did say she wants to put it on hold until they stop botching them all the time, so there is that. She also seems like a sensible person, so while she hasn't spoken on the case of obviously innocent death row prisoner Richard Glossip, it is hard to imagine she would not commute his sentence.
According to The Federalist, however, the only reasons the race is so close are that "dark money" groups unassociated with Hofmeister are running mean ads about Gov. Stitt, and that Republican voters are too complacent and assume Oklahoma will always be Republican. It is hard to imagine the latter has an impact on polls .
But this isn't the only race in which a Democrat is pulling ahead. In the race for Hofmeister's former position as state superintendent, polls show that Democrat Jena Nelson is beating Republican Ryan Walters, who was in the news recentlyfor sharing his belief in the very stupid and obviously untrue "litterboxes for children who think they are cats" conspiracy theory. Maybe not the best guy to run all of the schools!
It is obviously still possible that Republicans will eke their wins here, but the fact that it's so very close and that The Federalist is worried is a pretty optimistic sign of the times. Maybe Hofmeister won't be the only one switching party affiliation this year.
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