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Barresi Loans Campaign $910,000 In Personal Funds Last Month

State Superintendent Janet Barresi during an April 2014 press conference announcing problems with the state's standardized testing vendor.
Nate Robson
Oklahoma Watch
State Superintendent Janet Barresi

The most recent campaign finance reports show State Superintendent Janet Barresi loaned her reelection campaign nearly $1 million in personal funds last month. Barresi's campaign manager told The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay the loans are necessary to counter negative attacks by her opponents.

“She has had to provide this funding because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent by education bureaucrats, leaders of pro-Obama unions and even those under investigation for fraud who are trying to protect a status quo that has put the wants of education establishment adults above that of our state’s children,” said her campaign manager, Robyn Matthews. “Janet is personally committed to helping improve the lives of children and education in Oklahoma,” the campaign manager also said.

But her main challenger in Tuesday's GOP primary, Joy Hofmeister, says the cash influx shows Barresi is frantic and trying to buy the election.

“How much more will Janet Barresi spend to win re-election by slandering my name, smearing my reputation or by making deceptive claims that simply are not true?” asked Hofmeister, a Tulsa Republican. “Personal fortune may buy political ads, but it doesn’t buy leadership capacity. You can't lead if no one is following,” Hofmeister said.

SoonerPoll founder Bill Shapard told KGOU yesterday his data on the tight superintendent race shows Barresi doesn't have the advantage most incumbents typically do during re-election.

"She's been the tip of the spear," Shapard says. "She's been trying to put forth Republican initiatives at the education level, and she's running into brick walls built by Democrats within about how they feel about education."

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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