Monday, July 19, 2010

Brogdon, Leonard Seek Traction As Primary Nears

Republican candidates Randy Brogdon and Ryan Leonard, seeking traction in their bids to become the party's nominees for governor and attorney general, have gone on the attack in recent days.

Brogdon has launched an attack on front-runner Mary Fallin in a television commercial and through news releases.

Leonard has launched a broadside against Scott Pruitt in a television commercial and has exchanged accusations through news releases. He accuses Pruitt of "shopping" for an elective office and of having no constitutional law experience.

Such attacks in the closing days of a campaign usually indicate the attacker believes he trails his opponent.

Polls have shown Fallin a prohibitive favorite in the governor's primary and Leonard trailing former Senator Pruitt with a huge pool of undecided voters.

Whether the attacks have traction appears open to question.

Brogdon's criticisms of Fallin have been refuted by Fallin and others. His commercial includes claims that do not appear to be substantiated by records, although he disagrees with that characterization and continues to insist he's right.

Leonard's criticisms of Pruitt appear more on target, but of questionable impact. He accuses Pruitt of being a candidate for numerous offices (which, indeed, he has been) who is now shopping for another one, and of claiming credit for being a "constitutional expert" when Leonard says he isn't. Pruitt rebuts the latter allegation and the campaigns have traded barbs via news releases.

In the latest development, Leonard released a "fact sheet" to rebut Pruitt's rebuttal.

A key part of the Leonard sheet deals with Pruitt having sought office in the past. It reads, "Ad Text: "Scott Pruitt's shopping for another political job. He tried for Congress and Lieutenant Governor. Now Attorney General? Fact Check: Pruitt's campaign for Attorney General is the fourth different political office he has sought in the last nine years. Pruitt ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2001, the State Senate in 2002, and unsuccessfully for Lieutenant Governor in 2006. Pruitt announced for this office in April."

Some observers say that's not necessarily a damning fact; they note that Senator Jim Inhofe ran for governor (defeated), Congress (defeated) and Tulsa mayor (defeated) before being elected to Congress and then to the Senate.

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