TULSA — Switching parties makes for a risky political strategy, especially when one leaves the party that dominates state politics to run for governor.
Oklahoma’s sitting State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, took that risk late in 2021, announcing she would leave the GOP to seek the Democratic nomination for governor.
She’s running against a first-term incumbent who continues to support, and have the support, of ex-President Donald Trump and a core Republican base that still appears to reject the results of the 2020 elections, and has managed to pass several laws on issues including education and abortion that are among the most stringent in the country.
Hofmeister will lean on the belief that some of those laws have gone too far in the public mind, and that a more moderate and inclusive approach will appeal to voters in November.
If not, she tells KRMG, the state will continue to suffer from what she calls cronyism and corruption, problems she says stem from the current governor’s policies.
“Oklahoma businesses are paying the price - and communities - for a governor who is not taking care of the needs of Oklahomans,” she said.
During her last four years in office, with Kevin Stitt as governor, she says, “I saw a governor who is more interested in his own self-dealing or cronyism, and I’ve had a front row seat to corruption.”
Gov. Stitt has told KRMG that Hofmeister answers to “special interests,” and his campaign claims that while polling shows her very close - even leading - headed into the close of the race, internal polling shows them comfortably in the lead.
You can hear our conversation with Gov. Stitt here.
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