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Fallin still running unopposed for governor

Unlike the 2010 Oklahoma gubernatorial election, Mary Fallin faces no competition so far in her race to get re-elected.
by Graham Lee Brewer Modified: October 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm •  Published: October 20, 2013

Four years ago, the race to succeed then-Gov. Brad Henry was wide open.

This year, with the state's continued move to the right and no serious challenger to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, some are questioning whether it will even be a race at all.

By this point in the last governor's campaign, Fallin faced opposition on the right from then-Oklahoma Sen. Randy Brogdon and two strong Democratic candidates, then-Attorney General Drew Edmondson and then-Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

Henry, a Democrat, had two full terms.

This year, no strong competition has emerged on Fallin's right or left.

The state has also moved to the right in the last four years, both in voter registration and in the increased dominance of Republican elected officials. Both the state House and Senate have garnered more Republican members, increasing their majority in both chambers, and there are no Democrats in the state cabinet.

While Democratic voters still outnumber the opposing party, their numbers are down more than 100,000 from 2009, and more than 30,000 more voters have registered Republican in that time frame. Voter registration for both parties hovers around 900,000.

Fallin has raised just shy of $1 million. Local political commentators agree that both Fallin's popularity and money will be hard to overcome for any potential opponent.

“Let's be honest, to beat Mary Fallin is nearly impossible at this point,” said Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. “The state economy is too good, she's too popular, and she hasn't made any fundamental mistakes that imperil the governor.”

Former Democratic state Sen. Andrew Rice agrees, saying that Fallin's ability to raise money and her popularity mean that it would be very difficult to unseat her.

“It makes it a really tough race for anybody who would step up,” Rice said. “It would be more of sort of a symbolic [race].”

While no opposition candidates have filed, R.J. Harris of Norman has publicly expressed plans to run. He said Thursday that he is in the process of filing for the race.

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by Graham Lee Brewer
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Graham Lee Brewer began his career as a journalist covering Oklahoma's vibrant music scene in 2006. After working as a public radio reporter for KGOU and then Oklahoma Watch, where he covered areas such as immigration and drug addiction, he went...
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