Democrats for Governor?

Thursday, March 1st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Just when Oklahomans began to catch their breath after the last election, there's already talk of 2002. The focus in the past few days has been on state Republicans, but whom will the democrats put forward in the race for Governor?

KOTV's Sean Mossman has more on the leading candidates. The public wrangling between U.S. Congressman Steve Largent and Lt. Governor Mary Fallin has much of the focus on who Republicans might nominate for Governor.

One question that hasn't been posed is whom the Democrats might offer as opposition. Sources inside the state Democratic Party say there's a short list of early choices. The only one publicly wrestling with the idea is two-term state treasurer Robert Butkin. "And some of these decisions are compounded by the sacrifice involved in a campaign for governor, but we're nearing a decision and I'll be the first to let you know once we reach a decision."

The other men named by our source as possible candidates are not even that forthcoming with their plans. Lexington State Senator Cal Hobson chairs the education committee and is on the wish list of democratic leadership. He denies an interest in a run for governor. "I stand $4-million short of being a viable candidate. It takes that much money to run and win, but I've been focusing on just getting my work done. Have had no thoughts about that."

State Senate President Stratton Taylor of Claremore was also named as a potential candidate. "Well I'm very honored that that would occur, but I'm gonna run for re-election."

One other current lawmaker mentioned is former party head Mike Mass. He says he's not interested, but he would like to see any Democrat throw their hat in the ring. "It's not too early in the sense of people that are interested to begin talking and making connections. But, as far as going out and endorsing someone specific. I believe it's too early."

And that's where most of the highly visible Democrats are right now in the talking stage. Democratic sources tell KOTV there is one potential dark horse candidate for their party, Cliff Hudson, who is CEO of the Sonic Corporation. Tuesday, Hudson told us he wouldn’t make a run for the Democratic nomination.