Politicos in Oklahoma have been looking to the proverbial horizon, for the prospects of a post-Fallin Oklahoma. Several names are being floated, but nearly as many are already trowing in the towel.
Two names are rising to the top of the stack:
Former Ronald Reagan appointee, federal prosecutor Gary Richardson, will be a strong candidate of the party of Trump. Gary ran in 2002 on an independent populist message. But Oklahoma was not ready for a nonpartisan administration.
Gary now sees a home for him in donald Trump's Republican party. He believes the outsider message that Reagan tapped into is very much alive in the Trump movement. Reagan also saw those attributes in Richardson and saw him as a natural fit to fill a Justice Department appointment to serve as Eastern Oklahoma's federal prosecutor.
Todd Lamb has quietly been building his inside game at the Oklahoma Capitol. Perhaps no one has posed for more photos in that building. Lamb's ceremonial duties are about all we've seen from him, these past 7 years. But that has given him a huge opportunity to made allies, raise money, and build name recognition.
Prior to that, Lamb served as a state senator for Edmond. Before that he was an investigator for the Secret Service. He also helped Frank Keating get elected.
“I don’t know what the date on that is,” Richardson said of his gun giveaway. “My consultant’s handling it for me. I ran in 2002 as an independent,” Richardson recalled. “Been a Republican pretty much all my life, but I didn’t feel at that point in time that change was in the cards — change that needs to be made. But I feel like today, seeing what’s happened in Trump’s case (…) I think the Republicans are ready to see the changes that need to be made. This is the only thing I will disclose because I talk about it pretty often anyway: There’s got to be some changes made with regard to the turnpikes,” the 75-year-old attorney said. “And the state prison system. There are other things. But that’s the kind of thing I’m talking about that needs to be cleaned up.” ”
OU professor of political science, Keith Gaddie said;
“When I lived in Georgia 25 years ago, I watched a 74-year-old Lester Maddox run for governor against Roy Barnes and Zell Miller,” Gaddie recalled. “Old Lester stole the show. So sometimes having an old guy with nothing to lose in there can really fire up the political environment. It can be interesting, because he becomes the wild-card among the serious contenders. If he had been a party nominee in 2002, he would have won in that environment. He absolutely owned Steve Largent. Just owned him. He had a decent little issue to work with on that turnpike thing. It was a wonderful piece of populism. It was very Oklahoma.”
"Lamb’s status as an incumbent statewide-office holder would likely help him, despite mounting public criticism of Gov. Mary Fallin. What are you going to tie him to? What policy decision has Lamb made?” Gaddie asked rhetorically. “That’s the one thing about lieutenant governor: Nobody knows what you do, nobody knows that you did it, but they know you did something, and they know you’re the lieutenant governor.”
Lamb’s office has denied multiple NonDoc requests for an interview since mid-2016.
“If you were you, would you talk to you?” Gaddie said with a smile.
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