Treat wins: Senate District 47 oath January 19, Hefner has ‘no regrets’ in loss
Published: January 14th, 2011
Lamb had timed his official resignation to allow a new Senator to begin serving early in the upcoming legislative session. When no Democrats filed for the seat, however, the Republican primary on Tuesday (January 11) resulted in quick election of Lamb’s replacement.
Treat will assume the job in plenty of time to serve the entire legislative session. State Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven W. Taylor will administer the oath to the new member of the upper chamber at Noon on Wednesday, January 19 in the Senate Chambers at the state Capitol.
According to final but unofficial results, in the election, Treat garnered
2,074 votes (41.11% of the total). Carol Hefner of Edmond was his closest competitor, with 1,414 votes (28.03%).
Running a distant third was Todd Brawley of Edmond with 859 votes (17.03%). Lagging at the back of the field were Steven Dobbs of Oklahoma City with 378 supporters (7.49%) and Kenny Goza of Oklahoma City with 320 votes, or 6.34% of all the votes cast.
The district stretches across parts of northwest Oklahoma City and much of Edmond.
Hefner reflected, in an interview with CapitolBeatOK, “I teach my children, the scars of defeats are not there to remind you of the battles and foes, but of how you responded.” She plans to remain involved in public policy debates and discussions.
As for the winner, Treat was asked by CapitolBeatOK to distill the election result to one or two factors. He responded, “The difference was my ground game. I had 85 volunteers going door-to-door, working week-in and week-out. I was grateful that 40 members of our home church, Highpointe, volunteered to help us. In the end I think it was all about the personal touch. We worked it precinct by precinct.”
Treat continued, “The second factor was certainly the endorsement from Senator Tom Coburn.” Treat has worked for Coburn on two different occasions, and was part of the fall 2010 Republican “Victory” drive that Coburn chaired. The effort swept Republicans to unprecedented power in the Sooner State.
When he takes the oath next week, Treat will be the junior member of the Senate. He told CapitolBeatOK he will serve on these committees: Finance, General Government, Military and Veteran Affairs. He is also slated to serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health & Human Services.
Because the election was held to fill out the unexpired last half of Lamb’s term, Treat will run for re-election in 2012, hoping for a full four-year stint.
Looking ahead to the 2011 legislative session, which begins on February 7, Treat stated, “I intend to strongly support Rep. David Dank and Sen. Jim Reynolds on the subject of property tax reform. That is entirely in agreement with my political philosophy. In this first session I might not run any Senate legislation entirely on my own, but I’ll be very active. I might serve as Senate sponsor of certain House bills.”
Treat elaborated, “I feel I need to learn the system and then make a contribution by working within the structure. For one thing, I’ll need to study and learn the new Senate rules. I know that after doing that I’ll be able to get in there and be effective.”
Asked about the staff support he anticipates as the most junior member of the Senate, Treat disclosed, “I will have a part-time Executive Assistant for four days a week in session only, and share an EA with senior member.”
For Hefner, a newcomer to electoral politics, the outcome was a disappointment. Still, she insisted the experience was more positive than negative. Hefner observed:
“Looking back, I am grateful for the many people I have met along the way. They have been so gracious and encouraging in these days after the election. I realize that my positive campaign reflects character. I was taught to be a woman of my word – say what I mean and mean what I say. This works well in every arena from parenting to business to politics.
She continued, “This first foray into the political arena was an intense one full of variables that were very unusual. It was great exposure to the process. I don’t believe that it was a defeat, it was a building block and I am optimistic that I can still effect positive change for the people. I have no regrets and I am hopeful that I can continue to positively affect Oklahoma’s future.”
Both the victor and the closest challenger expressed concern about the role played by Citizens for Republican Values, described by Hefner succinctly as “trial lawyers and Democrats pretending to be Republicans.” She further asserted the group was backed by “the good old boy Democrats who used to run the Senate.”
All five candidates ran as multi-issue conservatives. Further, by election day all five were listed as 100% pro-life by Oklahomans for Life and its chairman, Tony Lauinger.