Andrew Rice’s uphill campaign against Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator reminds Oklahoma’s governor of his 2002 gubernatorial race when he was the underdog, according to an e-mail sent out during the weekend.
“As governor, I am proud when Oklahoma produces leaders like State Senator Andrew Rice,” Henry, who won a Democratic primary before winning by a narrow margin in 2002, wrote in the e-mail, which was paid for by the Rice campaign. Rice, an Oklahoma City Democrat, was elected in 2006 to the state Senate. He launched his bid last year to unseat U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, who was elected to the Senate in 1994 and served as a state legislator, Tulsa mayor and congressman before that.“In an evenly divided Senate, Andrew has proven that he can work with both Democrats and Republicans to attack our state’s most challenging issues,” Henry wrote. “He has stood out as a leader on veterans’ issues, health care, and energy.”
Henry, a Democrat who won re-election in a landslide in 2006, called Rice “the right choice for Oklahoma at a time when Washington is badly in need of new leaders with strong principles and a fresh bipartisan approach.”
The governor asked those who received the e-mail to contribute to Rice’s campaign.
“Senator Rice is proud to have Governor Henry’s support and his help,” said Tres Savage, a Rice campaign spokesman. “He is a good example of somebody who has put people before politics.”
Henry also has appeared in campaign ads for Rice. The commercials haven’t aired yet.
But Henry said last week he may limit how much he will get involved in Rice’s campaign. His first obligation is taking care of gubernatorial duties, he said, and he doesn’t like the recent negative tone in campaign ads used in the race.
“That’s not my style,” Henry said. “I don’t like to get involved in negative campaigns, I’ve never run one myself and certainly wouldn’t want to be involved in anyone else’s negative campaign. It’s not necessarily Senator Rice’s fault.”
Inhofe and Rice along with independent candidate Stephen Wallace of Tulsa will appear Tuesday at different times during a forum sponsored by The State Chamber in Tulsa.
- Michael McNutt, Capitol Bureau