Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Henry Credits Triumph to Hard Work, Strong Message

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Henry Credits Triumph to Hard Work, Strong Message

Article excerpt

It wasn't supposed to happen. The political commentators predicted it wouldn't happen.

"Nobody said we could do it, especially when we finished 16 points behind in the primary," state Sen. Brad Henry said Wednesday. "All the political pundits said it was over, that we couldn't win it."

That is not an unfamiliar situation for Henry, the Democratic nominee for governor.

"I relish the role of an underdog," he said the morning after his runoff victory over Vince Orza. "I like being the underdog. I'm an underdog again in this general election."

That is not necessarily a bad position to be in, he said. "I told everybody on primary night that we were in the perfect position to win the runoff. Most of the political pundits didn't believe me, but I knew that we had the right message, I knew that we were going to out-work our opponent and we'll do the same thing in the general (election)."

The Shawnee senator said it didn't bother him to hear his win characterized as an upset, to hear so many observers express surprise at his victory.

"I think any time you come from 16 points down to a four-or-five- point victory, it's an upset," he said. "I'm the comeback kid, so I'm used to it. I'm ready for it."

Earlier Wednesday, Henry received a telephone call from Beijing, China. It was his cousin, 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Henry, calling from a conference to congratulate the senator on his nomination.

Robert Henry is a former state House member and attorney general.

"This is a truly humbling experience and a great honor, and really it hasn't quite all sunk in yet," he said. "I'm so elated to be in this position, because I love Oklahoma and I love Oklahomans and all I want to do is make a real difference in Oklahoma, for the people of Oklahoma. I hope that I get the opportunity to do that."

The next phase of Henry's campaign is to challenge Republican nominee Steve Largent, seen as the front-runner in the race, and independent Gary Richardson. He was asked whether he will change strategy as the race moves toward the general election.

"When I first got in this race, everybody said I couldn't win it. They said I couldn't beat Vince Orza, and I couldn't make the runoff, and I made the runoff. …

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