While we don’t have the newsroom capacity to cover Oklahoma’s exciting 2018 gubernatorial election as much as we’d like, the wonders of modern technology help us — and most anyone — keep tabs on the state’s governor hopefuls.
Former Oklahoma City mayor and even former-er wacky TV sports reporter Mick Cornett is squaring off with Tulsa mortgage mogul Kevin Stitt for the Aug. 28 GOP runoff election. Similarly, Libertarians Chris Powell and Rex Lawhorn seek their party’s nomination in a runoff election the same day.
Meanwhile, former Oklahoma attorney general and former State Question 777 opponent Drew Edmondson secured the Democratic Party’s gubernatorial nomination in June and is doing the sort of things a politician without a clear opponent does on the July campaign trail:
— Drew Edmondson (@DrewForOklahoma) July 22, 2018
Short answer: No. Although it’s a little less awkward than posing for a pic with Oklahoma’s most popular racially insensitive beer-joint mascot.
Mick Cornett stands in front of stuff
Edmondson’s blurry, half-faced Twitter selfie — someone stop him before he learns what a belfie is — presents a nice segue to discussing what appears to be Cornett’s primary digital campaign strategy.
Throughout 2018, Cornett has been documenting his Oklahoma roaming on Twitter with more selfies than Kim Kardashian. Here he is waiting to buy fried pies in Davis. Here he is at a yard sale in Maysville where he admits to not buying anything. Here he is with a woman who painted a rock to look like a watermelon in Bixby. Here he is left speechless by his experience on a tire swing.
While you might think a fella wouldn’t have to do much more than that to become governor of Oklahoma, Cornett has lately attempted to bolster his conservative bona fides going into a runoff that will likely feature a higher percentage of core Republican voters.
Thursday, Cornett spoke positively about President Donald Trump’s immigration positions, something The Oklahoman’s Chris Casteel noted was in contrast to Cornett’s statements when Trump was merely a candidate.
But if reading Casteel’s full article isn’t your thing, let’s pop back over to Twitter:
— Mick Cornett (@MickCornett) July 20, 2018
Kevin Stitt shows off gristle, garden and guns
Not to be outdone, Kevin Stitt does his own tweeting from the campaign trail. Saturday, he sent out this pic in an attempt to secure the important Pro-Meat vote:
After the @OKCattlemen governor forum today, I was craving a juicy steak! Great event. Awesome people. Thanks for hosting Sarah and me this afternoon with your members. #stitt4gov pic.twitter.com/khmWBv2dmD
— Kevin Stitt (@StittforGov) July 22, 2018
Most importantly, however, here’s a photo of him holding a gun.
But throughout his 2018 campaign, Stitt’s Twitter profile has been hounded by the parody account @StittsPhone, which needles the political neophyte for looking at his phone during gubernatorial forums. Interestingly, the account stopped tweeting abruptly on June 26 — the day Stitt and Cornett defeated their other GOP opponents — which has left political observers flipping a coin as to whether it was most likely Keith Beall or David Tackett behind the amusing jabs. (Much like the anonymous Twitter account, that, too, is a joke.)
Similarly, Stitt has been pestered by @SamDavisBoyHero, whose monicker “Conrad Bigfoot” might imply troll status but whose 39,000 tweets with the occasional selfie would argue real-but-vague dude.
Ahead of the June primary, Conrad Bigfoot spent a great deal of his time yammering at Stitt’s Twitter account. Like any embarrassingly dedicated heckler, Mr. Bigfoot eventually baited the Stitt account into briefly dropping decorum days before the election:
While Team Stitt appears to have deleted the whole thread — campaigns rarely get to have fun — the joke really seems to be on Jarrett.
Libertarians call for resignations
While the Twitter antics of Oklahoma’s remaining Libertarian governor hopefuls would have been more boisterous if Joe Exotic had made the party’s runoff, Chris Powell and Rex Lawhorn are still doing their darnedest to fire people up online.
Powell recently tweeted an opinion piece he authored for Sand Springs’ SanditePride.com wherein he calls for the resignation of Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner — and dance captain — Terri White.
And Lawhorn has been busy giving Oklahomans insight into exactly how many Crystal Light packages and crap-filled binders his gubernatorial office would hold:
— Rex Lawhorn (@GovRexLawhorn) July 16, 2018
During that “Ask Me Anything” event on Reddit, Lawhorn calls for the resignation of the entire Oklahoma Board of Health. He also touts education savings accounts and electoral reform.
Candidate tweets offer little policy talk
If this editorial examination of gubernatorial campaign activities on Twitter shows much, it’s that all candidates have their own styles of pandering. Even with 280 (instead of 140) characters at their disposal, Oklahoma’s governor hopefuls are highly unlikely to dive into the important policy questions facing the state.
Instead, it’s a fried-pie here and a slab of meat there. Some photos will be blurry, while some will be filtered to perfection.
It should be a fun three-and-a-half months ahead of the November general election.