Wilson files to challenge Boren in 2nd District primary

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 08-Jun-2010

On Tuesday (June 8), Oklahoma state Senator Jim Wilson of Tahlequah filed for the Second Congressional District now held by U.S. Rep. Dan Boren of Muskogee. Wilson’s formal entry sets the stage for a primary that will present notable contrasts between the “progressive” agenda he espouses and the “independent” record Boren has established in Congress.

Discussing his motivations, Wilson’s discourse expanded on some themes he shared in his Sunday (June 6) telephone interview with CapitolBeatOK.

On Tuesday, Wilson made it clear that Boren’s opposition to the new federal health care bill provoked his candidacy.

Reporters in the Capitol press corps asked Sen. Wilson when he decided to oppose the incumbent. He said, “I began to think this over at the end of March. It was on a Sunday. I’m passionate about this. We provide workers in Oklahoma with low pay, yet say no to this kind of health care bill.

“This vote was huge. It was generational in its impact. In the Legislature, I have fought for small business. They get their dollars sucked into health care, so there’s no money available for spending on their small business.

“If we want to get people out of poverty and get them educated, they need these benefits. The Second District needs somebody who understands the Second District.”

Wilson said, “I can’t outspend him.” He continued, “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much of a backlash there has been” against Boren’s votes opposing the health care law. Asked if he considers Boren a Democrat, Wilson said, “No.”

Soon after Wilson filed on Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Boren emailed the following statement to CapitolBeatOK:

“I have always had a close personal relationship with Jim Wilson and hope to continue it. I simply believe his views are far too liberal to represent the mainstream thoughts of the people of the Second District. I will continue to work as hard as I can to take independent Oklahoma thinking to Washington.”

In related news, the National Right to Life Political Action Committee (NRL PAC), on Tuesday endorsed Boren in the July 27 Democratic Primary. In a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, the group noted that Boren had a 100 percent pro-life voting record during the 111th Congress, and was a leading opponent of President Obama’s heath care bill and its provisions allowing access to abortion services with federal tax dollars.

Anthony J. Lauinger, chairman of Oklahomans for Life and a National Vice President of the pro-life group, said “Congressman Dan Boren is to be commended for his efforts to prevent the Democratic health-care legislation from mandating coverage of abortion and federal funding of abortion.

“His efforts included spearheading a June 2009 letter from pro-life House Democrats to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stating that they could not ‘support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan.’  When the necessary pro-life safeguards were not included in the final health-care legislation, Congressman Boren kept his word and opposed the pro-abortion bill.”

The anti-abortion group described Sen. Wilson as “one of the most outspokenly pro-abortion members of the Oklahoma legislature. Over the past four years, on 23 key abortion-related votes scored by Oklahomans For Life, Jim Wilson was absent once, voted pro-life once, and voted pro-abortion 21 times.”

Lauinger said,  “Senator Wilson is so extreme on abortion that he even opposed a bill which protects against coerced abortions and seeks to ensure that a mother’s consent to an abortion is truly voluntary (HB 3075, April 19, 2010).”