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Dorman Won't Seek Governor's Office Again If Boren Decides To Run

Former state Rep. Joe Dorman meets with voters on the University of Oklahoma campus during his 2014 campaign for governor.
Kate Carlton Greer
Former state Rep. Joe Dorman meets with voters on the University of Oklahoma campus during his 2014 campaign for governor.

A former Democratic congressman's interest in becoming Oklahoma's governor could edge out another popular candidate.

Not long after Dan Boren said he might run for governor, 2014 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Joe Dorman announced he would back off if the former congressman seeks the post, The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports:

“I want to see someone good get elected in 2018,” Dorman said. “I think I would do an outstanding job, but I also think Dan would.” He also said Boren would have significant political and financial support. . . . Dorman said that if Boren runs, he would still consider campaigning for another statewide office. “I would rather see several good candidates who might look at one office look at different offices, and weigh the options of what it would be like to have a great ticket or team out there helping each other out,” he said.

The next gubernatorial election is in 2018, but whoever runs will have to raise a lot of money and win a lot of early support. Boren could do both. He served in Congress as a conservative Democrat, and has the name recognition as a member of one of Oklahoma’s most politically powerful families. Since leaving Congress, Boren has worked in economic development for the Chickasaw Nation.

Rose State College political scientist James Davenport told Denwalt even though Dorman was the 2014 nominee, and captured 41 percent of the vote against incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin, he would have a tough time securing the Democratic nomination a second time.

“Last go-around, Dorman really didn’t have any competition,” Davenport said. “I think Boren would be completely different. In Democrat politics and politics in general, I don’t know if there’s a bigger name right now than Boren.” If any other Democrat was considering a run for the governor’s seat, Davenport said, Boren’s announcement would force them to step back and reassess their chances. State Rep. Scott Inman, Democratic leader in the State House of Representatives, is another possible candidate, but he would suffer from low name recognition against either Dorman or Boren, said Davenport.

Dorman said if he doesn’t run for governor, he’ll spend the next three years thinking about which office, if any, is right for him.

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