Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made a campaign stop in Oklahoma City on Sunday night where she endorsed U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5) and spoke extensively about issues facing rural America.
Supporters crammed into the Will Rogers Theater to hear Klobuchar’s positions on education, health care and climate change.
Klobuchar kicked off her speech by noting she had just spoken with Horn was endorsing the first-term congresswoman for re-election in 2020. Klobuchar said not only does she seek to win the presidential election, she wants to “win big.”
“I want to win people over and bring people with us,” Klobuchar said. “And I want to make sure Kendra Horn gets re-elected.”
Horn held her campaign kickoff rally down the road at the Tower Theatre earlier Sunday.
Even though Oklahoma is known as a “red state,” Klobuchar pointed to several state elections in Republican-leaning states like Kentucky where Democrats were voted into office.
“When I look at what we’ve done recently, and you think Oklahoma can’t be a place where we play, look at this — we got re-elected in the state of Louisiana a Democratic governor,” Klobuchar said. “In Kentucky, we just elected a Democratic governor, so Mitch McConnell has a Democratic governor.”
‘A plan is something you can actually get done’
Klobuchar emphasized throughout her speech that she needs voters to know why her plans are better than those of other Democratic candidates.
“What I think we need is someone who understands the difference between a plan and a pipe dream,” Klobuchar said. “A plan is something you can actually get done and know how you’re going to pay for it.”
Klobuchar also noted that there needs to be more recognition on the debate stage about rural issues.
“When we think of states like Oklahoma, with your economy and all the things going on here, it really bugs me that I think we’ve only had one or two questions in the nine debates about rural issues,” Klobuchar said.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, Klobuchar said she has worked on three different farm bills as well as the topic of rural education.
Klobuchar: Fire Betsy DeVos
Nan Binder-Smith, 68, said she doesn’t know if Klobuchar will win the Democratic Party’s nomination, but the licensed clinical social worker is doing what she can to help the Minnesota senator.
“I donate to her, and then I donate to people like the lady running against Mitch McConnell in the Senate race,” Binder-Smith said.
Binder-Smith said she loves Klobuchar’s message and her idea of inclusiveness.
“I like her idea about health care, what she did on climate change, all that stuff,” Binder-Smith said.
Johann Kimbro, 69, said he has not yet decided which Democratic candidate he will support when Oklahoma votes on March 3.
“I think that I want to see which of the candidates are going to have the capacity to reach out and capitalize on the minority vote,” said Kimbro, an African American man. “I see there were not a lot of minorities here in the crowd tonight.”
Kimbro said he wants to find out which candidate will energize minority voters. For him, that means canvassing for the issues most important to minorities, such as education, criminal justice reform and addressing America’s wealth gap.
“One thing we can do in 100 seconds without Congress is fire (Secretary of Education) Betsy DeVos,” Klobuchar said, which caused an eruption of cheers and applause from the crowd.
Klobuchar is the second-to-last remaining Democratic candidate to visit Oklahoma. The final candidate will be former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is scheduled to visit OKC on Monday, March 2.
Democrats and independents in Oklahoma will participate in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary election on Tuesday, March, 3, along with 14 other jurisdictions.
On Saturday, Klobuchar finished sixth behind billionaire Tom Steyer in the Nevada Caucuses, which were won by Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont). South Carolina will be the next state to vote in the Democratic primary on Saturday, Feb. 29.