The Norman Transcript

State/Region

December 28, 2013

Brogdon faces new challenges in gov’s race

OKLAHOMA CITY — A conservative Republican state senator who rode a tea party wave four years ago that nearly landed him in a primary runoff with Gov. Mary Fallin will face some added challenges in 2014, including dampened tea party enthusiasm and a popular incumbent governor.

Randy Brogdon announced his candidacy through social media on Christmas Day, setting up a potential rematch against Fallin, who won 55 percent of the vote over Brogdon and two lesser-known candidates in the 2010 GOP primary. But that was at the height of tea party enthusiasm in Oklahoma, when rallies at the state Capitol drew thousands of conservative voters and provided a readymade audience for Brogdon’s anti-government message.

Fallin will enjoy the power of incumbency in the race for the governor’s seat in 2014, and she has provided few openings during her first term in office for a right-wing challenger to exploit.

“It’s hard to get everybody hyped up again and worked up to that fever pitch, especially against a conservative incumbent governor who has not gotten in the way of any of the state’s rights efforts that have been coming out of the state legislature or the attorney general’s office,” said Keith Gaddie, a political science professor at the University of Oklahoma who closely followed Oklahoma’s 2010 gubernatorial race.

“It’s really rare to see an incumbent governor get knocked off in the primary unless they’ve got troubles, and Mary Fallin just doesn’t have troubles right now, at least as far as we can tell.”

But for many conservative grassroots activists who think Fallin is too moderate or too cozy with big business, Brogdon’s foray into the race is a welcome one.

Charlie Meadows, whose Oklahoma Conservative PAC has been a longtime fixture of the state GOP’s right wing, called Brogdon’s announcement a “wonderful Christmas gift.”

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