State Rep. Joe Dorman established an exploratory committee Tuesday to evaluate running as a Democratic candidate for governor, saying he intends to make education his top issue.
“Of course education is going to be the top issue,” said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. “Visiting with teachers … about the conditions we're seeing in schools, what we've seen Governor Fallin and Superintendent Janet Barresi do to education, I think that has to be one of our most critical issues we'll look at.”
Mounting a successful challenge to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to be a difficult task, since she has enjoyed high popularity ratings in a state that has trended strongly toward Republican candidates in statewide political races in recent years.
“Being out there visiting with the citizens of Oklahoma, I don't think she's as popular as she thinks,” said Dorman, who described himself as a “pro life” candidate.
Money also could be an obstacle. Fallin reported having more than $1.2 million in campaign contributions on hand as of Sept. 30. Dorman said he currently has $307 in contributions that he can move over for a gubernatorial race.
Dorman has been a strong backer of an initiative petition that would allow the public to vote on whether to issue up to $500 million in bonds for the construction of storm shelters in Oklahoma schools. Franchise tax revenues would be used to repay the bonds, and the Legislature could appropriate additional money to pay off bonds if franchise tax revenues were insufficient.