The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 September 2003

Scrambling for the post-Nickles era

A couple of days ago, I speculated as to what might happen should Senator Don Nickles choose not to run for another term in 2004. (If Nickles does run, of course, he'll win easily.) At the time, I suggested that there might be relatively little Democratic interest in the seat, given the paucity of Democrats with statewide recognition these days. OkieDoke.com's Mike pointed out in comments that I perhaps had overlooked Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who certainly qualified as having statewide recognition; I retorted that he might want to keep a lower profile, what with some heavy litigation going on.

Now comes this piece in The Daily Oklahoman, in which Edmondson says that open Senate seats don't come along too often and he'd simply have to look at the possibilities. Advantage: Mike. :)

Brad Carson, just barely in place as Second District Congressman, is also giving the matter some thought. And surprisingly (to me anyway), Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys (a non-partisan post, but Humphreys is a Republican in real life) is making some serious noise himself, even going so far as to rule out a run for the House before trying to move up to the Senate. That sort of slow, steady progress, he says, "is for very young, very patient people. I am neither." At least he didn't say "That's the way we do it in the O.K.C., bitch."

And most telling of all, Nickles has apparently thrown cold water on Ernest Istook, telling him that the state would be better off if Istook kept his Fifth District House seat rather than jump into a Senate race. Istook, of course, disagrees. For myself, I have always felt that the distance between Istook and the nearest clue was variable but never came close to approaching zero, and if Don Nickles, who keeps a closer watch on him than I do, is similarly persuaded — and I haven't heard that Nickles gave any such advice to the other three GOP Congressmen in the state — well, I might actually miss ol' Don when he goes. Whenever that may be.

Posted at 7:14 AM to Soonerland


Another interesting twist is the recent fundraiser for Istook put on by Congessman Tom Cole no less. No one can make much sense of that since Cole is/was a consultant to others with sights on Nickles seat. Cole likely had Istook promise those funds would only be used for a return to his congessional seat. (I say that only half-jokingly.)

Posted by: Mike at 8:26 AM on 1 September 2003

I may be overestimating the political genius of Tom Cole, but I have seen it up and close and personal and he doesn't do anything without thinking 5 steps ahead.

Posted by: Chris at 11:01 AM on 3 September 2003

Cole is sharp, no doubt about it. What concerns me about him is his willingness to come off as Tom DeLay without the pesticide residue.

Posted by: CGHill at 4:20 PM on 3 September 2003