Saturday, April 24, 2010

2nd District Candidate Ranking: 3rd Edition

The Muskogee Politico's 2nd District Candidate Ranking
Post-1st Quarter FEC Reports

With the close of the 2010 1st Quarter FEC reports, it's once again time for the Muskogee Politico 2nd District Candidate Ranking.
This is the third in the GOP candidate ranking series. The original ranking can be viewed here, with the second located here. This is not to be construed as an endorsement of a specific candidate by this blog - merely my view of the race as it currently stands.

And now, without further ado, I present the latest installment of the 2nd District Candidate Ranking from the Muskogee Politico.

1. Daniel Edmonds (prev. 2nd)

I see Daniel Edmonds as having taken the top spot this past quarter.

Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of the 2nd District race, and Edmonds came out as the best Republican when compared to incumbent Congressman Dan Boren (D). He was 16 points down to Boren, as opposed to 20 points (Thompson), 22 points (Houchen), and 27 points (Arnett). You can see more information on that poll here.

Edmonds still seems to be the candidate that can have the broadest appeal to conservative Democrats - a must for winning in this heavily Democratic district.

If this ranking was based solely on raising money, Edmonds would not be ranked first. His fundraising has been poor, a factor that has affected all candidates in this race (except Boren).

However, Edmonds looks to be getting the most bang for his buck; his campaign appears to be the most frugal and effective. He set the standard among his competitors for campaign literature, sparking the rest to get much more professional materials.

In my discussions with Republicans across the district, Edmonds gets the broadest support. That wasn't the case earlier in the campaign, but it seems to be growing steadily now, as activists and voters get to know the candidates.

Edmonds still needs to find a way to raise funds. If he can be in the lead with what little he has now, he could do much better with a good war-chest.

2. Howard Houchen (prev. 1st)

Howard Houchen, after a quick start, has seemed to cool among the Republican electorate.

The latest FEC reports show that Houchen raised slightly over $20,000 in the last quarter - a modest, but respectable sum for a challenger in circumstances like these. His showing was the highest of the Republican challengers to this point. He currently has $9,309 cash on hand - $4,000 more than the nearest Republican competitor.

Houchen is a very aggressive candidate, which will give some voters hesitation, while appealing to others. The Ron Paul/libertarian community seems to be rallying around Houchen in particular, which again, may alienate some people.

He has shown what I find to be a fairly minor lapse in judgment by joining any and every group out there that asks him to (such as Bring Home the Politicians, which aims to hold Congress from every state capitol via teleconference, as opposed to physically meeting in Washington at the Capitol). I find the group's idea to be a bad one, for many reasons.

He's also doing a bit of negative campaigning (in relation to Dan Boren) that I don't care for. It's one thing to attack a person's record, but outlandish caricatures are out of taste, in my opinion. One of the things I hear regularly about Howard is that he
consistently goes over the time allotted to him to speak at meetings - something that several other candidates also do.

On the other hand, Houchen is having the most success of the GOP candidates in raising money, even though he does seem to be burning through it pretty fast. He has run some radio ads, as well as some recent cable TV ads. It's still probably too early for any of that to be effective, and the actual ads themselves aren't the best, design-wise. But, he is the only candidate to have done either at this point.

Houchen needs to appeal to a broader group of voters, and find a way to not alienate potential supporters. He is still very much in the running for the lead. This race will remain fluid until someone emerges as the clear leader.

3. Charles Thompson
(prev. 3rd)

Charles Thompson continues to make moves, although he does not advance in this ranking. Thompson put his toe in the water back in June, dropped out a week later, and decided to get back in sometime in early September.

He filed a report with the FEC this past quarter, reporting about $15,000 raised (although almost $10,000 was in-kind donations). I do have questions about his report - some items may not follow FEC rules.

Thompson does seem to be having the most success at generating volunteers. His military background is attractive to many voters.

However, Thompson has a tendency to trot out ideas that are... ill-advised. For instance, this one on constituent contact.
He has called for, in campaign emails, the banning of Islam in the United States, as well as mandating that former Representatives live in their district for the same amount of time they represented the district - in order to live under the laws they passed. As with Houchen, Charles has a hard time keeping to time limits while speaking.

If Thompson can start to raise funds, as well as keep from making more of these mistakes, he can really start to make some waves in this race.

4. Dan Arnett
(prev. 4th)

Although Dan Arnett had some influence on this race at the very beginning (I see him as one of the reasons that Congressman Boren actually held town halls), I see his impact dwindling.

Arnett has transferred from law school in Pennsylvania to the University of Tulsa, which has helped him to be more visible across the district. However, folks that I have talked with aren't sold on supporting him with the three aforementioned candidates in the race. I don't see his support base growing in the way it is for the other candidates.

Of the Republican candidates at the time, he performed the worst in the PPP poll that took place at the end of February. As with Houchen and Thompson, Arnett has trouble staying within time limits while speaking, sometimes even speaking for twice as long as he was given.

Arnett is going to have a difficult time convincing voters to join his camp, especially since he isn't raising money or generating as much interest as the other candidates. With some 40 days left until the filing period begins, Arnett has to either make some moves, or make some tough decisions.

5. Miki Booth
(prev. not on list)

Miki Booth originally entered the race as an Independent, but decided to switch to Republican in early April. The fact that she took 7-8% of the vote as an Independent in the PPP poll probably had an impact on her decision.

Booth is most well-known for her "Birther" stance. Her position on other issues always takes second place to talking about President Obama's birth certificate, or lack thereof.

She will not be an impact on this race, and will only take single digits of the vote in July.

And that is the 3rd edition of the Muskogee Politico 2nd District Candidate Ranking. Keep an eye here for the latest news and developments for this race.


  1. Booth won't be a factor because she won't even be on the ballot. Even for federal races, in Oklahoma, you have to be a registered member of the party for 6 months prior to filing to be a candidate in the primary.

    Any chance Todd Hiett will get into this race?

  2. Hiett does not live in the 2nd District, although that doesn't hinder candidates from running (i.e. Dan Arnett, and former candidate Bert Fisher).

  3. However, Hiett could argue that he lived in the 2nd District longer than Dan Boren has (He was in the 2nd district prior to the last redistricting)


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