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Eastern Oklahoma congressional races will end Tuesday with nominations

Runoff campaigns on both sides have been a nasty prelude to a general election race that could make the 2nd congressional district of Oklahoma a national battleground.
by Chris Casteel Published: August 26, 2012
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Herriman also has sought to portray his opponent as the type of establishment-backed candidate that goes to Washington as a ready-made part of a failed system.

“People are tired of electing the same people all the time who aren't getting anything done in Washington,” Herriman said.

Wallace said the numerous endorsements he has received have enhanced the credibility of his campaign. Moreover, he said, the campaign has attracted nearly 1,200 distinct donors and a network of volunteers.

“It's a three-lap race,” he said. “There's going to be another lap for someone, and I hope it's me.”

Republican race

Mullin was unavailable for comment last week, according to his campaign spokesman. The political neophyte has raised more money than any of the other candidates, recently topping $1 million, with $284,000 of that from his own bank account.

Faught first ran for the state Legislature six years ago, when he was 44, after operating his carpet cleaning business for 20 years. He scoffed at Mullin's charge that he's a career politician.

On the contrary, he said, the experience he gained in the Oklahoma House will allow him to go to Washington ready to tackle the issues Congress is currently confronting.

“I know how the process works,” he said.

Faught pounced on the fact that Mullin endorsed a single-payer health care system for all without, apparently, realizing that he was essentially advocating government-run coverage.

An outspoken opponent of the health care law passed in 2010, Faught said elements of the law are being implemented and “you've got to have an understanding of what it is.”

Though Faught wants people to focus on his competency and experience, the negative tone of his campaign has drawn some criticism. Faught has been particularly relentless in suggesting that Mullin may be charged criminally for providing a gun to a felon years ago.

Faught said there was a bit of “kill the messenger” in the backlash he has received but that every concern he raised was from public records and would likely be used by the Democratic nominee in the race.

“This is an important race, not only for the 2nd District but for all of Oklahoma and the entire nation,” Faught said, adding that the Republican nominee had to be prepared for a tough general election campaign.

“It's not just going to be a slam dunk for the Republicans,” he said.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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