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‘With a heavy heart,’ J.C. Watts will skip Oklahoma governor race

BY CHRIS CASTEEL Modified: May 23, 2009 at 12:12 am •  Published: May 23, 2009


All about timing
Watts, who now lives in a Virginia suburb of Washington, has apparently vacillated in the past few weeks about returning to the state and running for governor. He has made numerous appearances in Oklahoma. Many political observers said they expected him to announce his candidacy.

But Watts started leaning heavily against a run in the last few days, and he said he made his decision "with a heavy heart.”

He didn’t say what business obligations kept him from running and wasn’t available to elaborate.

His business in Washington includes lobbying for such disparate entities as the Bowl Championship Series and the Tarrant Regional Water District. He also has been a registered lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union.

He also has been a member of several corporate boards, including John Deere Co. and Dillards.

Gary Jones, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, said it was apparent to him Watts was wrestling with whether he could make a race and satisfy his business obligations.

"It’s all about timing,” Jones said. "The timing just wasn’t right.”

Todd Goodman, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said Watts "had at least a perceived value in the Republican Party” and would have been formidable.

J.C. Watts

A native of Eufaula, Watts graduated in 1981 from the University of Oklahoma, where he was the quarterback of the Sooners football team and Most Valuable Player of the 1980 and 1981 Orange Bowls. He played in the Canadian Football League from 1981 to 1986.


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