Saturday, November 06, 2021

Hofmeister's Long Con: running for Gov as the Dem she's always been

Back in 2014, first-term State Superintendent Janet Barresi was very unpopular. In the Republican primary, she came in third out of three candidates, something that is quite shocking for an incumbent. The victor that primary, and later on in the general election, was Joy Hofmeister.

Hofmeister ran on a pretty standard "conservative Republican" platform. She took advantage of discontent with Janet Barresi, particularly as it dealt with controversy over Common Core and other Obama-era education pushes. 

Take, for example, this screenshot from her campaign website before the 2014 primary.

However, as time has elapsed since her first election, Hofmeister has increasingly revealed that she was not what she tried to pass herself off as in 2014. She fully supported the leftist education unions in their push for higher taxes, and the Department of Education under her leadership has advocated for social policies and curriculum that would absolutely shock many Oklahoma parents if they only knew.

Now, Hofmeister's long con is fully revealed. She is switching parties to run for Governor as a Democrat.

But never fear, she claims that "While I'm changing my party affiliation, I am not changing my values or who I am."

Oh really? That actually reveals more about her character than she intends to.

You see, either she's lying now, or she was lying back in 2014. I believe that her actions since 2014 indicate the latter to be true. 

No reasonable person who claims to be a "conservative Republican" - as she has said in the past - can participate in the Democratic Party today and say with a straight face that their values have not changed. The platforms of the Republican and Democratic parties are so vastly different, and the trajectories of the two parties are so diametrically opposed.

Just days after announcing her newfound party, Hofmeister attacked Governor Kevin Stitt over transgender birth certificates. Gov. Stitt recognizes the scientific fact of male and female, while the 'Newly-Improved-and-Woke' Joy Hofmeister apparently feels like pandering to flaming leftists. By the way, she accuses Gov. Stitt of pandering to extremism, which is highly ironic given her apparent disregard for science.

In a recent article from TheFrontier, Hofmeister criticized Gov. Stitt for signing pro-life bills, giving the lame excuse that "[abortion] is a decision that is personal and one between a woman, her doctor and her faith." Right. Do you think she would have said this during her campaigns as a Republican? I think not.

I touched bases with Jenni White, who co-founded Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE) in 2008, to get her thoughts on Hofmeister's news, as White was very involved in the Common Core debate back in 2014.

"Immediately [Hofmeister] promised us she'd let us be involved in the standards re-write, but the next thing we knew, she was throwing us all under the bus, re-tweeting attacks on us from leftist educrats," White said.

"Over the last 7 years she's backed the unions with demands for more money, applied for every federal grant she could lay hands on, fostered leftist groups such as Generation Citizen and leftist curricula such as CRT and SEL - then having the gall to tell the public Governor Stitt's desperately-needed audit was an 'attack' on public education," said White.

Linda Murphy ran against Hofmeister in the 2018 GOP primary, which went to a runoff (Hofmeister received 56.7% in the runoff despite massively outspending Murphy). I asked her for some thoughts on Hofmeister's political transition.

Hofmeister told The Oklahoman "I am the same person I was yesterday and have the same values, the same positions as I’ve had before." I asked Murphy for her reaction to that, given the extreme differences between the Republican and Democratic parties.

"I think she does have the same values but they are now more clearly revealed to the public," Murphy said. "She wants big top-down government and even told Congress in 2015 she supported the Federal Education Bill- ESSA Every Student Succeeds Act. She said in her testimony to Congress, 'We want you to hold us accountable'.  What conservative Republican wants that? She has integrated Common Core into the standards (thus curriculum) and also into the Testing in opposition to the conservatives’ hard-fought battle passing the law that repealed it. She will certainly retain consistency with that and have the big financial backing it brings."

Murphy continued: "I think Republicans should see that she has deceived many people who wanted to believe her. She is a very effective actress and it should be a lesson learned. We also must take a very close look at every policy and program she put in place in education and clean house."

Candidates who switch parties have mixed success in Oklahoma, so I asked Murphy how seriously she feels Republicans should take Hofmeister's candidacy.

"We should take her candidacy very seriously. How many people are still believing her even now? We really don’t know. The Democrat groups such as the unions and others are gearing up to do whatever it takes to win. She has the top Democrat former officials endorsing her. She has gotten by with a big campaign money scheme, which brought her felony charges when she took $320,000 in campaign contributions from the OEA and the CCOSA school administrators’ group."

"Charges were dropped in 2017 but the Democrat District Attorney, who filed the charges, told the press he was still investigating because he had more information. She denied this when I debated her in August 2018.  The DA finally announced in October 2018, just before her re-election in November, that he was dropping her investigation. Very convenient…… then he joined her in a statewide program for trauma impacted students, which she says they had been planning together during her 2018 campaign.  She is a very talented politician who has proven how she will operate," said Murphy.

Hofmeister's success in the Democratic primary is by no means guaranteed. Former state senator Connie Johnson is also running. Johnson was the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in 2014, and ran for Governor in 2018. That ballot experience could lend itself to some Jim Rogers-esque results.

Rogers was a perennial candidate, who ran for some statewide office every two years between at least 2002 and 2014.

  • In 2008, he won 19 counties and 40% of the vote in the Senate primary against the well-funded State Senator Andrew Rice (who ultimately lost to U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe). 
  • In 2010, Rogers defeated Mark Myles in the Democratic Senate primary (later losing to U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn). Myles had actually campaigned and raised a little bit of money. Rogers' campaign, as always, consisted of sign waving near his house around election week.
  • In 2012, he defeated incumbent president Barack Obama in three counties.
  • In 2014, Rogers took eventual nominee Connie Johnson to a runoff in the gubernatorial primary, winning 62 counties and 35% in the primary, as well as 47 counties and 42% in the runoff.

It would be the height of irony for Hofmeister to lose in the Democratic primary.

Regardless, Oklahoma Republicans should take the Hofmeister campaign seriously. Now that she has revealed herself to be the liberal Democrat she's always been,


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