McCain stumps for Ewing; Carson touts 'powerful ideas'

Monday, November 6th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CLAREMORE, Okla. (AP) _ Arizona Sen. John McCain came to car dealer Andy Ewing's side Monday to stump for his fellow Republican in an eastern Oklahoma U.S. House race he deemed too close to call.

Democrat Brad Carson, meanwhile, spent election eve walking Main Streets in the 2nd Congressional District, championing what he called ``powerful ideas'' over ``powerful people.''

``I think the race is won by the candidates themselves, not by who they bring out,'' Carson said.

It was on the Claremore attorney's home turf that McCain appeared with Ewing before a crowd of several hundred people at Rogers State University.

McCain called the Muskogee car dealer ``a good and decent man.''

``I think what Andy Ewing represents is what America's all about,'' said McCain, who unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president earlier this year.

Ewing said little during McCain's visit. He later told reporters that he was honored the senator had included the Claremore stop on a day in which he had stumped for three other Republicans in close races.

``The men I've had come in represent the values of a majority of voters in Oklahoma,'' Ewing said.

Some in the crowd wore stickers supporting Ewing. Others said they came primarily to see McCain. The senator received a standing ovation when he entered the crowded auditorium.

Doneva Brooks, a 29-year-old single mother of two and a student at Rogers State, was interested in hearing the senator. But she said she remained undecided in how she would cast her vote in the congressional race, which includes Libertarian Neil Mavis.

``I'm going to talk to some other people,'' she said, expressing disappointment that she hadn't learned more about Ewing's platform. ``Maybe between now and then I'll get on the Internet and see what I can find.''

Like other 2nd District voters, the registered Republican said she was tired of negative campaign ads that have inundated the eastern Oklahoma airwaves. She said mudslinging discouraged younger voters.

``Get down to the facts,'' she recommended. ``The brass tacks.''

McCain said he was ``appalled and angered'' by the negative ads and agreed that it alienates voters. He said the campaign finance reform he supports would ban the soft money that helps finance ads.

The senator pushed Republican platforms and urged support for Texas Gov. George Bush for president and a ``break with the past.'' He sprinkled his talk with jokes and at one point, quoted the university's namesake, political humorist Will Rogers.

``There are many times that I wish Will Rogers were around today to talk about some of the shenanigans that we pull in our nation's Capitol,'' McCain later added.

McCain said the Oklahoma race is among about 20 U.S. House races considered too close to call. National Democrats view the race as one of their best opportunities to regain a Republican-held seat.

Republican Rep. Tom Coburn has served for three terms in the district, which is overwhelmingly Democrat. Coburn, too, has endorsed Ewing.

McCain said the closeness of the race means that more than ever, every vote counts.

``Tomorrow we will really decide, to a significant extent, the course of American politics in the 21st century. It's a very important election,'' he said. ``I'm obviously a devout and committed Republican. But I urge all of our citizens _ whether you're Republican, Democrat or Libertarian or vegetarian, whatever you are _ get out and vote.''