Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Oklahoman: In Race Between Two Good Men, Lankford Our Choice In 5th District GOP Primary

Editorial, The Oklahoman ~ James Lankford studies the issues like a good student prepares for a test. He forms well-reasoned positions on those issues and articulates his views with specificity and candor.

This passion for detail is refreshing. It would serve constituents well if Lankford is elected in November to represent Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District.

First, though, he must win the Aug. 24 Republican runoff against former state Rep. Kevin Calvey. The July 27 primary left these two good men standing. Lankford managed a surprise first-place finish despite being outspent and despite his lack of political experience and name recognition.

Calvey has that experience, having served in the Legislature. Afterward, he volunteered to serve his country in Iraq, where he conducted himself with distinction.

The runoff winner would replace Mary Fallin, the GOP nominee for governor who's leaving Congress after two terms. The Democratic nominee is Billy Coyle, a former Marine sergeant and an Oklahoma City attorney. Two independents also are in the race.

Winner of the GOP runoff will most likely prevail in November because the seat has been held by Republicans for decades. Thus, the choice Republican runoff voters will make is probably for more than the designation of a nominee. It's for the office itself.

Lankford is a Texas native. He moved to Oklahoma to work for the Baptist General Convention and from 1996 to 2009 he directed Falls Creek, the largest Christian camp in the nation. This background may make him a curious choice to be a member of Congress, but Lankford's knowledge and diligence prove otherwise.

He's a solid conservative but not a reactionary. He doesn't substitute ideology for intelligence. He understands that most issues have nuances and that taking a firm position has consequences.

Last year, Calvey took a position on MAPS 3, joining an anti-progress chorus that failed to defeat the initiative. Calvey was on the wrong side of the issue and it was ill-advised for a congressional candidate to take any stand on MAPS 3.

Lankford believes local political issues should be left to local leaders and citizens, while a member of Congress concerns himself with national and international affairs. He appears well-versed on the major issues of our day and could become an excellent, hardworking congressman. The last leg of his journey from Falls Creek to Congress starts with the runoff against another good candidate. The Oklahoman recommends that Republicans choose Lankford and set the stage for his victory in November.

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