By Patrick B. McGuigan
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, former lieutenant governor of the Sooner State, will contend against state Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso, for the Republican party nomination for the state’s top political job.
At the Monday (June 7) filing on the 5th floor of the Oklahoma State Capitol, the two leading hopefuls for the Grand Old Party’s nod were assertive in staking their claim as heir to conservative leadership.
Both candidates came during the morning “rush” that lasted about three hours and saw waves of political aspirants wait to finish required paperwork with election officials.
Fallin, accompanied to the polls by new husband Wade Christensen, told CapitolBeatOK, “ The mood of the electorate makes me excited because it means the people are ready to reengage with greater intensity. They are concerned about our state, our nation. The top issues seem to be budget and deficit and taking the steps necessary to create jobs and build the economy.”
Asked if she was conservative enough to turn back Brogdon’s challenge, Fallin said, “The record tells the story. I am a fiscal and social conservative. My leadership has been demonstrated and I’ve gained the highest ratings from the American Conservative Union and Americans for Tax Reform. I won ‘true blue’ recognition from Focus on the Family, and top scores form the National Rifle Association. I am consistently pro-life. I am a multi-issue conservative.”
In prepared texts given to Capitol reporters, Fallin said, “My first priority as governor will be jobs.” She said, “government has to tighten its belt during tough times, just like Oklahoma’s families and businesses do.” She continued, “My administration will work with the Legislature to ensure that every dime spent on a government program is serving its intended purpose. We need each agency to change its focus from ‘how much can I get?’ to ‘how can I be more efficient and effective?’”
CapitolBeatOK asked Sen. Brogdon how he can defeat Fallin to gain the Republican nomination. He replied, “I will win by sharing my message, over and over. We have a ground game that is real and that will be effective. We have 2500 volunteers.”
He said, “We just made the media buys we will need to finish the campaign. People are fighting hard and are supporting our campaign for restoring jobs, creating jobs, not schemes that don’t work. I’m running to put the people in charge rather than the politicians.”
In his prepared comments, Brogdon contended, “I am the only candidate who is truly interested in smaller government. I won’t be proposing very many task forces or conferences, I am proposing solutions to Oklahomans.”
Brogdon said state government needs “a sustainable growth cycle. If we could prevent government from growing three or four times faster than the economy we wouldn’t go through these harsh budget cuts every four or five years.”
Brogdon said he will advocate a new tax structure, because the state’s “current income tax system taxes earnings and discourages achievement. We should tax consumption, not savings or reinvestment.”