Charlie Cook, a savvy and well-respected analyst of political races, put the 2nd District congressional seat being vacated next year by Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, in the “leans Republican” category. Much of his argument is based on the assumption that former Congressman Brad Carson, who is expected to run for the Democratic nomination, would be his party’s nominee. That’s a big assumption. Carson, of Claremore, who gave up the seat to run for the Senate and was beaten by Tom Coburn, may be facing former state Sen. Kenneth Corn, who lives in the middle of the district in Poteau and just ran a statewide race. Other Democrats are sure to run.
And though Cook says Democrats had a candidate ready to go in Carson, it’s not clear whether he’s talking about national Democrats or state Democrats. Certainly, Carson and the state party did not finish 2004 on great terms since the Carson campaign was blamed for the huge amount of debt incurred by the state party. There was a lot of bitterness at the end of that Carson-Coburn race.
The Republican list of candidates will also likely be a long one — it was last year, with Boren running — and there’s a lot of time before November, 2012.
Given the increasingly conservative nature of Oklahoma, and even the Democratic stronghold in southeastern Oklahoma, it’s fair to say that the House race there could be a very close one. But, just as the Democratic nominee will have to answer for President Barack Obama and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, the Republican nominee will have to answer for the House Republican budget and its proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, in some of the poorest counties in the state.