Is Lloyd Fields a buffoon? Or is he just a misunderstood good ole boy? And where can he be found on the campaign trail?
Whatever your analysis of Fields' troubled tenure as labor commissioner, it's clear he's in trouble with voters, a fact Republican Mark Costello is doing all he can to drive home.
Fields won the post in a close 2006 election, defeating incumbent Republican Brenda Reneau and it's been non-stop controversy for Fields since.
Fields' antics, aside from prompting ridicule, have cost Oklahoma taxpayers; the lawsuit of a former office worker was settled by Fields for $200,000.
And who can forget (as if Costello would let us) Fields being taken to the Oklahoma City Police detox tank after trying to steal a guitar and being tackled by three rodeo cowboys?
There's more: In August 1997 Fields made headlines when he was sued for nine years of past child support and ordered to pay $26,000. Last July, he stormed into the offices of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and destroyed a questionnaire he had completed, apparently angry that the group gave Costello a donation.
Of graver concern to those who watch the Labor Department is their belief that Fields, elected with the help of organized labor, has turned the agency into a labor union advocacy unit.
While most candidates, Costello included, show up for any event with more than a dozen persons, the word among Democrats is that Fields shows up only at "safe" events, those featuring other Democrats and friendly audiences. Whether that's just his campaigning style, or the controversies have made him gun-shy in audiences that aren't composed of died-in-the-wool Democrats, isn't known.
What is known is that voters will decide whether Lloyd Fields deserves a second term given the controversy he's generated in his first term.