Not Quite Your Average Joe: Dorman Finds Common Chord on Campaign Trail

By Summars, Emily | THE JOURNAL RECORD, September 9, 2014 | Go to article overview

Not Quite Your Average Joe: Dorman Finds Common Chord on Campaign Trail


Summars, Emily, THE JOURNAL RECORD


OKLAHOMA CITY - State Rep. Joe Dorman always greets people by saying three things: "Hi, my name is Joe Dorman. I am running for governor. I am running against Gov. Mary Fallin."

On Labor Day, Dorman began at 6:15 a.m. with a phone call to local radio station KOKC and ended after 9:30 p.m. at Choctaw's Oktoberfest. Throughout the day, he stuck to four main issues: education, bipartisanship, Oklahoma's Department of Corrections and health care.

His talking points do not change: DOC employees need pay raises and pension protection; education needs more money to reduce remediation; money spent on end-of-instruction exams needs to go to the ACT; and the third-grade reading test needs to be eliminated.

He has another priority point.

"My first executive order as governor will be to accept Medicaid expansion dollars," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs.

When he encounters a nonsupporter, Dorman always encourages the individual to take a look at the issues. His follow-up statement: His rating with the National Rifle Association is one of the best, particularly for a Democrat, and he's pro-life.

If the potential voter still shows no interest, Dorman still encourages him or her to vote in November.

Dorman and his staff repeatedly mention their standing in the polls against Fallin. A SoonerPoll of about 600 voters released Friday showed Fallin with 50.3 percent of the vote and Dorman with 32 percent. But a Rasmussen Reports poll taken in July of 750 voters found Fallin with 45 percent support from likely Oklahoma voters and Dorman with 40 percent.

Seven percent were for another candidate. The other candidates are Richard Prawdzienski, a libertarian, and Kimberly Willis, an independent.

According to the Rasmussen Report, 35 percent of Oklahomans polled had never heard of Dorman. The report by SoonerPoll also found name recognition a challenge for Dorman, citing that 57.6 percent of those polled had never heard of him or had no opinion of him.

But, that does not discourage voters like Mike Flud.

"We need to get something changed, period," said Flud, who describes himself as a proud Republican and retired educator. "I think Dorman is going to change that. He's a common folk. He's one of us."

Dorman began working on campaigns in the early 1990s. He started at the state Capitol, working in the mailroom. He moved up until he termed out from the House of Representatives after the last session.

Originally, he was running for Grady County commissioner. However, he said he decided to run for governor because the state needs someone who works for the working people.

"I talked to my family over Thanksgiving, and they all wanted me to run (for governor)," Dorman said. …

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