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December 18, 2013

Rush Springs Democrat eyes race against Fallin

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Democratic state representative from Rush Springs filed campaign paperwork Tuesday that allows him to start raising money for a race against Republican Gov. Mary Fallin in 2014.

Rep. Joe Dorman filed a statement of organization with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission saying he was forming an “exploratory committee” to consider a matchup against Fallin.

The 43-year-old said he was motivated after he helped launch a statewide campaign for a $500 million bond issue to pay for storm shelters in schools and that he would make education funding a top issue if he runs.

“We’ve been working for the last 90 days on the storm shelter issue and visiting with teachers, especially, about the conditions we’re seeing in schools,” Dorman said. “I don’t think she (Fallin) is as popular as she thinks.”

Fallin became Oklahoma’s first female governor when she captured more than 60 percent of the vote in the 2010 election against then-Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

Dorman faces a major fundraising challenge if he does run. She already had raised nearly $1.5 million for her 2014 race through September 30, and reported having more than $1.2 million in cash on hand. Dorman said Tuesday he had about $300 to transfer to his exploratory committee.

Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor’s campaign strategy will not change.

Dorman, who described himself as a “pro-life” Oklahoma Democrat, acknowledged he would face an uphill battle against Fallin but said he looked forward to such a challenge.

A graduate of Rush Springs High School and Oklahoma State University, Dorman is a former Oklahoma House staffer who won House District 65 in 2002.

Also running for governor in 2014 is Democrat R.J. Harris of Norman.

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