Friday, November 7, 2008

Name game: Senate challenger almost pulls it off

The Oklahoman Editorial
Published: November 7, 2008
Jim Reynolds, Republican state senator from Oklahoma City, won re-election this week to his third and final term — but just barely. Reynolds’ 13,826 votes were a mere 159 more than his challenger, David Boren.

That’s right, David Boren. Not the David Boren — the University of Oklahoma president, former governor and U.S. senator, father of U.S. Rep. Dan Boren — but the psychiatric nurse from Moore who had never run for public office.

Consider that when Reynolds first won election eight years ago, he beat an incumbent Democrat who had raised about five times as much money. Then in 2004, Reynolds beat his challenger with 57 percent of the vote. Yet this time, despite a big edge in fundraising and a solid record at the Capitol, he almost lost.

In a story in The Oklahoman last month, Boren said he decided to run after the Legislature failed to pass a law that would have mandated insurance coverage for autistic children. He said he wanted Oklahoma to be a leader in renewable energy and that he was concerned about mental health issues.

Little more was heard from him during the campaign. Much of the money he raised arrived in the final few weeks and came largely from attorneys and Democratic political action committees. One of those PACS funded last-minute attack ads against Reynolds, whose conservative record has been a good fit with District 43 constituents for eight years.

This time he really had to sweat. What’s in a name? Jim Reynolds might tell you plenty.

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