Of course one night walking blocks for a couple of candidates isn’t necessarily an indicator of a trend. But it’s interesting when it coincides with national polling results in at least one important aspect. (See this Gallup poll regarding party affiliation.)
While out walking blocks yesterday in two Oklahoma neighborhoods, several folks either indicated they were no longer Republicans or would not be voting. In one instance, a gentleman who is known to be more liberty-oriented by his neighbors flatly refused to change his registration back to Republican even to vote for liberty-minded candidates. Perhaps that particular fellow is a rarity, its one thing to answer “Independent” to a pollster, it’s another matter to go to the trouble of actually changing one’s voter registration.
Maybe it’s just the particular neighborhoods walked, maybe it’s just Oklahomans as compared to Nebraskans, but when out walking a good chunk of a legislative district in Nebraska in April and May, the people who engaged in conversation didn’t indicate dissatisfaction with the Republican party. In fact, it was largely the opposite. Most simply wanted to know that the candidate was a Republican. It becomes more interesting when another fact is taken into account – because it was a legislative race and Nebraska’s legislature is a Unicameral (purportedly non-partisan), we knocked on EVERY door in neighborhoods. (Of course because we weren’t targeting just registered Republicans, we did get a few negative reactions, but a very few.)
In addition to some OK Republican voters saying that they are no longer Republican, I also encountered another interesting contrast; the number of people who went beyond simply politely accepting the material I was giving them was higher – people wanted to know more. When the candidates’ websites were highlighted on the handouts, there was general interest in visiting those sites.
From my perspective then, the OK voters listed as registered Republicans are either fed up with the party or are at least interested in putting some effort into investigating candidates. Many weren’t aware of the primary election on July 27 but were interested once told.
Of course I can’t be sure what all of this may mean for the July 27 election in Oklahoma, but it seems it might mean one of two things; enough Republicans are so disgruntled they now consider themselves Independents, they may just stay home, or challengers may stand a better chance of pulling off wins in OK than they did in NE. Apparently that seems to hinge upon voters knowing there is a primary and whether the challengers get their names and good information about themselves to those voters.
Voter turnout was low in Nebraska’s May 11 primary. There was clearly a trend by voters there to accept a person with an “R” behind their name. A general lack of inquisitiveness would readily lend itself to a trend that people would vote for the most recognizable name on a ballot and that would be an incumbent. And that’s exactly what happened. Incumbent Republicans won all of the major seats in Nebraska.
Oklahoma state law has set a 60 day deadline in advance of an election for voter registration and that happens to be this Friday. IF many Republicans actually went to the trouble of changing their party affiliation, it would seem a priority to ensure they change it back to vote for Constitutional, limited government candidates.
Beyond that, anyone who knows of solid candidates, particularly challengers, needs to make an effort to help them get their names and information out to voters, particularly the disgruntled bunch, and motivate them to get to the polls on July 27.
Oklahomans tired of insanely out of control spending and extra-Constitutional governance seem to have some opportunities. The question is…will they take them?
It would be silly of me not to take the opportunity to pitch for the candidates that motivated me to get out and walk. They are Nathan Dahm, who is running for OK’s First Congressional District, and State Senator Randy Brogdon, who is running for Governor. Two other candidates whom I know and heartily support in OK are CD04 Candidate RJ Harris and CD02 Candidate Howard Houchen.