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Wallace Collins wins re-election as Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman

Former Oklahoma state representative Wallace Collins turned back a challenge from a state senator in a hotly contested race for the chairmanship of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Published: May 19, 2013

When he took office two years ago, Collins said he was surprised to find only one picture of President Barack Obama, a Democrat, hanging in state party headquarters. Several pictures of the president are now displayed in party offices, he said.

Oklahoma Democrats took another beating at the polls in November. Obama again failed to win a single county and for the first time in state history Republicans occupy the entire state's congressional delegation, all statewide elected offices and both chambers of the Legislature.

Collins said the party will continue to recruit candidates and work with Democrats to get elected to local races so they might consider a legislative or statewide contest later.

Johnson said she would have worked to reconnect, rebuild and restore the Democratic Party

Johnson, vying to become the first sitting legislator to be the state's top Democrat since then-Rep. Mike Mass held the post from 1999 until 2001, said she sought to bring diversity to the party.

“I believe Oklahoma's demographics have shifted,” she said after the elections. “Our party should have been willing to reflect that in terms of our leadership.”

Johnson said she wanted to work to attract various groups to the Democratic Party.

Earlier, former Oklahoma U.S. Sen. Fred Harris, 82, gave a stirring speech, encouraging Democrats to work harder for candidates and to support the president.

“We're due for a turning,” he said. “We've got to keep fighting.”