Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin cruised to an easy victory Tuesday in the Republican primary, setting up a general election race against state Rep. Joe Dorman.
“Moving forward, my message to Oklahomans will be a simple one: in the last four years, we’ve worked successfully to create 80,000 new jobs; we’ve eliminated government waste and made our state agencies perform more efficiently; and we’ve stood up to President Obama and Washington politicians when they’ve tried to force bad policies on the people of Oklahoma.”
With nearly every precinct reporting, Fallin had 197,439 votes, or 75.5 percent, in a race against two candidates who support legalization of marijuana.
Chad Moody, 46, a criminal defense attorney known in Oklahoma City as “The Drug Lawyer” had 40,344, or 15.4 percent of the vote, and Dax Ewbank, 38, a computer network operator from Guthrie, had 23,737, or 9.1 percent percent of the vote.
Fallin, 59, said that her first term was a success and that she wants to build on her accomplishments.
“Oklahoma is on the right track and our families and businesses are prospering,” she said. “I am asking voters to support my reelection in the upcoming campaign and help us continue to build our state’s impressive forward momentum. Together, I know we can make Oklahoma an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
The two lesser-known challengers were never able to gain much political traction against Fallin, who was the first woman to be governor in Oklahoma and previously served as a U.S. representative, lieutenant governor and state representative.
Dorman, 44, of Rush Springs, is the only Democrat in the race.
He said education reform will be a top issue in the fall campaign. Joy Hofmeister trounced incumbent state schools superintendent Janet Barresi in the Republican primary, and Dorman said this was a good sign for his campaign.
“It was a clear message tonight that Mary’s education policies are failing,” he said. “This sends a clear message Oklahomans are dissatistifed.”
Moody’s campaign slogan was “Vote God, grass and guns.” He said the state locks up too many nonviolent offenders and points to the private prison industry as a big part of the problem.
Ewbank talked about preserving individual liberties, saying he wanted to “leave the people of Oklahoma free to pursue their own happiness.”
Fallin has continued to talk about cutting government waste and producing a good climate for business in the state.
She recently noted that when she took office as governor in 2011 the state was facing a $500 million budget shortfall and had only $2.03 in its Rainy Day Fund.
The budget gap was closed and the Rainy Day Fund grew to $570 million, while the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent.
This past legislative session she signed bills to:
Authorize $120 million in bonds to fix the crumbling state Capitol.
Eventually cut the 5.25 percent top state income tax rate to 4.85 percent if there is sufficient revenue.
Provide $80 million in new funding to common education.
Disappointments for her in the session included failure of a plan to complete funding for the long-delayed American Indian Cultural Center and Museum and the rejection of a proposal to give some school districts greater bonding authority to fund construction of tornado shelters.