Democratic race for the 2nd congressional seat heats up

Friday, July 23rd 2004, 10:53 am
By: News On 6

A heated political race that affects voters over much of eastern Oklahoma.

Two candidates with only a couple of years in politics - hope they can replace Brad Carson in Congress - and they're battling it out on the airwaves. But who are they? News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan takes a closer look at Kalyn Free and Dan Boren.

The 2nd congressional district campaign ads started out as profiles of the candidates. Dan Boren: "In Congress I'll never vote to weaken the social security trust fund." Announcer: "Youngest justice department prosecutor ever, first woman elected district."

But they quickly dissolved into attack and response. Kalyn Free: “When Dan Boren took money from big oil.” Announcer: “Kalyn Free has launched an unfair personal attack against Dan Boren.” Dan Boren claims Kalyn Free let the molester of my child off easy. Announcer: “The facts - it's not about one case.”

Since the candidates are arguing - here are some of their most basic facts. Free is an attorney and former DA. Boren is a state representative with business degree. She belongs to the Church of Christ, he's a Methodist.

Both say the economy is their top priority - and both support abortion rights - but she's stronger on it than he is. That's earned her considerable support from outside Oklahoma. The Emily's List Political Action Committee pumped more than a half million dollars into advertising for Kalyn Free.

To try and offset the outside influence, Boren spent $250,000 of his own money on the campaign. All that money pays for a dozen ads running constantly on television. Announcer: “member of the NRA.” And even that quick mention drew a fast response from the NRA - which says the ad “"implies we are endorsing (Free)." Announcer: "The NRA has endorsed, Dan Boren."

The stakes are high for both candidates - Boren is trying to carry on his family's political legacy, and Free hopes to be the first Native American woman ever elected to congress.

Whoever wins the Democratic primary on Tuesday is likely to win the seat in November.