Who is the most popular Republican in Oklahoma? It's probably not Sens. James Lankford or Jim Inhofe, who both have middling approval ratings. It's certainly not Gov. Kevin Stitt. Keeping in mind that politicians tend to get more popular after they leave office, our money is on former representative J.C. Watts. He was popular while he was in office, he retired in 2003 so he avoided the ugliness of the Trump years, he's charismatic, he's an ordained minister, he's a former football player for the University of Oklahoma. There is much there that is appealing to voters, particularly Southern voters.
Prompted by yesterday's item about unexpectedly competitive governor's races, reader J.P.R. in Westminster, CO, brings to our attention the fact that Watts has just endorsed Democrat Joy Hofmeister in her race to unseat Stitt. J.P.R. writes: "Growing up in Oklahoma, J.C. was never my cup of tea, but I'm willing to bet his regional popularity would still carry some weight. I am truly now convinced it could go either way."
Watts' statement of support, delivered in a new TV commercial, was everything Hofmeister could have hoped for:
I was a Republican then, and I'm a Republican now, and, friends, I'm voting for Joy Hofmeister. All this scandal and corruption is just too much. Joy is a woman of faith and integrity. She'll always put Oklahoma first. I know Joy personally, and I trust her, and you can too.
Clearly, Stitt is giving Kris Kobach a run for his money when it comes to unpopular Great Plains states politicians (NB: Wikipedia affirms that western Oklahoma is part of the Great Plains).
Emerson College, which has had an aggressive Republican lean this cycle, released a great poll for Stitt yesterday, asserting that he's up 9 points, 52% to 43%. However, the four previous polls of the race all had Hofmeister up by a small margin. So, it really is anyone's race. (Z)