EDMOND — At age 19, University of Central Oklahoma student Anna Langthorn is not only engaged in the political process, she's battling in the trenches for Democrats on the ballot in Oklahoma, including President Barack Obama.
Her zeal for the November election and beyond was fueled last month when she attended the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., as an alternate state delegate.
An Edmond North High School graduate, Langthorn is a sophomore at UCO studying sociology. She is president of the Young Democrats of Oklahoma. She and fellow UCO student Aaron Wilder were the youngest members of the Oklahoma delegation.
An alternate was allowed on the convention floor if the full state delegate contingent was not present, and Langthorn said she was able to be on the floor as much as she wanted.
She saw Obama nominated for a second term and heard speeches by Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other high-profile politicians.
“The convention was pretty much organized chaos,” she said.
The excitement of a national convention is a contrast to the reality of red state Oklahoma politics, where Democrats are having to work harder for votes. In 2010, Republicans won every state office. A Democratic presidential candidate hasn't carried Oklahoma since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Al Gore was the last Democratic presidential hopeful to carry an Oklahoma county, and that was 12 years ago.
“I tell my friends in blue states like New York or California that it's more interesting here,” she said. “You have to fight real hard.”
Her allegiance to Democrats is based on a few core beliefs.
“I want economic and social equality,” she said. “It doesn't scare me to have big government.”
She's involved in the state Senate District No. 15 race in Norman, helping candidate Claudia Griffith in her race against Republican Rob Standridge. She's also working for Kay Floyd in the state House District 88 race against Republican Aaron Kaspereit in Oklahoma City.
Langthorn said this won't be the end of her political involvement. In fact, she's looking at a lifetime commitment.
“While I don't rule out ever wanting to hold elected office, I certainly want to have some role in policymaking — perhaps as a lobbyist,” she said.