In an announcement today, former Democrat congressman Dan Boren has decided against running for governor in 2018. This is essentially the Oklahoma Democratic Party conceding the race to the GOP, as Boren was their best (and perhaps only) shot at taking the governor's mansion back.
From reporter Sean Murphy with the Associated Press:
Dan Boren decides not to run for Oklahoma governor in 2018
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Dan Boren, a former four-term Democratic congressman from one of Oklahoma's most well-known political families, has decided not to run for the state's open governor seat in 2018.
Boren told The Associated Press that he opted against entering the campaign after spending the past year visiting with civic and business leaders across the state about a potential run.
"At this moment, it is important for me to spend time with my kids," Boren said late Monday. "My desire for public service has not diminished and I believe some day in the future I will enter public life again."
The 43-year-old Boren said he intends to continue working on business development for the Chickasaw Nation and spend time with his two children, ages 6 and 9.
In an interview with the AP earlier this year, Boren had said he was actively exploring a run to replace Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, who is prohibited by term limits from seeking a third four-year term in office.
Boren served one term as a state representative before running successfully for Congress in 2004 in the 2nd Congressional District in eastern Oklahoma, a seat he held for eight years before stepping down.
His grandfather, Lyle Boren, was a congressman and his father, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, is a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator. Dan Boren's first cousin, Janna Little, is married to current House Speaker Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice-presidential nominee.
The Oklahoma governor's seat in 2018 is expected to draw interest from strong candidates on both sides of the aisle. Potential Republican candidates include U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, Treasurer Ken Miller and Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Lamb, Miller and Pruitt all are term-limited from their current offices, and Bridenstine has said he wouldn't seek a fourth term in Congress in 2018.
Prominent Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson, who ran as an independent for governor in 2002, said Tuesday he is taking a "very serious look" at running as a Republican in 2018.
Possible Democratic candidates include ex-state Rep. Joe Dorman, who won 41 percent of the vote against Fallin in 2014 despite being heavily outspent, and Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman of Del City.