— TULSA (AP) – After advancing from last month’s six-way primary election, two Republicans will meet again today in a runoff to determine who will challenge the lone Democrat in the state’s congressional delegation in November.
Dr. Charles Thompson, a 47-year-old veterinarian, is facing 26-year-old rancher and doctoral candidate Daniel Edmonds in the primary runoff.
The winner will face Democrat Dan Boren in the Nov. 2 general election. Boren is seeking a fourth term in Oklahoma’s 2nd District, a Democratic-leaning chunk of land that stretches from the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in northeastern Oklahoma to the Red River in the southern part of the state.
Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with early voting on Monday.
Voters in the sprawling 2nd district tend to support Democrats in local and legislative elections. But, like the rest of Oklahoma, the district was solidly behind Republican John McCain over President Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
Thompson served 25 years in the military and started his veterinary business from scratch in 2000, and said those accomplishments make him the more-seasoned candidate.
“I understand the concept of putting others ahead of yourself,” Thompson said. “I bring a world of experience to the table that my competitor does not.”
He said voters in the 2nd District are “far more interested in what is right and what is wrong” than voting the strict party line.
“Without question, the number one issue is the economy,” Thompson said. “The federal government continues to spend money it doesn’t have.”
Edmonds, who is pursuing a doctoral degree at Oklahoma State University, shrugs off the notion that he’s too green to hold office, saying Oklahoma needs “a fresh voice” in Congress.
Edmonds said he’s the “true conservative choice” in the election and ticks off his qualifications to be a candidate: seventh-generation Oklahoman, a farmer and rancher involved in small business and internships at the state Legislature and with Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, who represents Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District.
“That brings an agricultural perspective to this (election) that my opponent simply does not have,” Edmonds said. “It’s not just about casting a vote, it’s the behind-the-scenes work.
“I don’t think age is any concern,” he said.
For voter Jay Calan, who owns a farm equipment business in Miami, Thompson’s age is a factor.
“My son is about the same age as Daniel Edmonds,” Calan said. “He’s very mature, but he’s still a young man in his 20s and he’s not ready to take over my business.
“I don’t feel a man who’s 26 years old has the experience to go up against (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi,” he said.