IF Mitt Romney takes the presidency from Barack Obama, the next Congress will be crucial in helping Romney rebuild the economy, reduce government spending, restore American exceptionalism and repeal Obama's takeover of health care. If Obama wins another term, the next Congress will be crucial in slowing the president's runaway train.
Our recommendations for U.S. House seats are predicated on both scenarios. Putting Romney in the White House is paramount in the Four R's scenario — rebuilding, reducing, restoring and repealing. Having a Congress that can work with him is vital to his success. An Obama victory, by contrast, demands a Congress that will stand firm against his most destructive policies.
We believe the Republican nominees in all five House districts should be elected on Nov. 6 because they would work well with Romney if he wins and work to put the brakes on Obama if he prevails.
Two of the five seats will be filled by newcomers. In District 1, Republican incumbent John Sullivan was defeated in the GOP primary. In District 2, incumbent Democrat Dan Boren chose not to run again. Although independent candidates are on the ballot in all five races, none has any prospect of winning.
In District 1, we support GOP nominee Jim Bridenstine. In District 2, we support Republican Markwayne Mullin. Their Democratic opponents, John Olson and Rob Wallace, respectively, are good men who are doubtless more conservative than most Democrats in the House today. Nevertheless, the districts and the nation are better served if the seats held by Sullivan and Boren go to Bridenstine and Mullin. A key reason is that their values and positions match up well with the three incumbents seeking another term.
Frank Lucas (District 3), Tom Cole (District 4) and James Lankford (District 5) are outstanding members of Congress. Each deserves another term. All three have Democratic and independent challengers.
The incumbents are solid fiscal and social conservatives. They work hard for their constituents. They've shown little tolerance for the Obama agenda. They embrace jobs growth, spending cuts, American exceptionalism and Obamacare's repeal and replacement. Putting Bridenstine and Mullin in the delegation would amplify the effectiveness of the incumbents.
In central and western Oklahoma, the congressional races haven't made much noise. This is due to the quality of the Republican incumbents and the unpopularity of Obama. In the two open seats in eastern Oklahoma, the races have been intense from the last day of candidate filings until now.
The races are coming to a close. Romney is surging in the polls following an anemic start. He can win this election and he will need help from Oklahoma's congressional delegation.
He will have it from U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. He will have it from Lucas, Cole and Lankford. And he would get it from Bridenstine and Mullin if they join the incumbents in Washington, voting as a bloc to embrace the essential elements of Romney's agenda. We can't say the same for the Democratic nominees or independents.
Boren and Sullivan were good congressmen. Our choices for the men who will replace them aren't based on their political party — The Oklahoman endorsed Boren in four consecutive elections. Our choices are based on undoing the damage of Obama's presidency.