Truth Test: 2nd Congressional District Election

Tuesday, July 13th 2004, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district primary is less than two weeks away - and the candidates are running lots of television ads. But are they telling the truth? News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan gives the ads our ‘Truth Test.

It started out with warm commercials that each candidate focused on themselves. Dan Boren ad: "In Congress I'll never vote to weaken the social security trust fund." Kalyn Free ad: "The youngest prosecutor ever at the justice department.” But after one round of nice guy ads - the candidates in the 2nd district turned on each other.

It started with Kalyn Free attacking Dan Boren. Kalyn Free ad: "When Dan Boren took money from big oil, and then voted to increase our gas taxes while voting to cut their taxes." It's true that Boren's donors include oil interests - and that as a state lawmaker he voted for higher gas taxes - and voted to cut taxes for oil producers. But the higher taxes would help the government fix roads - and the tax cuts helped small time Oklahoma oil producers - not exactly what most people would consider "big oil."

Kalyn Free ad: "At the justice department, I prosecuted big oil; I'll do the same in Congress." This claim is misleading because congress regulates - but doesn't prosecute. In response - Dan Boren has fired back with several ads questioning Free's record as a district attorney.

The ads claim she was soft on crime. Dan Boren ad: “letting criminals go free." That statement is technically true - though out of context. Every DA makes deals with criminals because it's part of the job. Free's campaign even brought out an ad to make the case. Kalyn Free ad: "Dan Boren claims Kalyn Free let the molester of my child off easy. The truth is Kalyn would have put him in prison for the rest of his life."

Voters usually say they don't like negative ads - but the fact can really influence an election - especially to generate some attention for an underdog. Dan Boren has more money and better name recognition than Kalyn Free - so she probably stands to benefit most by attacking her opponent.

The News on 6 will have more coverage of the ads - as the campaign season continues.