On August 3, Oklahomans For Ballot Access Reform reported attorney RJ Harris, a contender for the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential nomination, announced his 2014 candidacy for Governor of Oklahoma as a member of the Democratic Party.
In a Facebook posting, Harris announced his plan, appealing to the “Constitutional Conservatives” of Oklahoma, in that “it is time to put our principles for freedom ahead of party politics, it’s time to fight for LIBERTY.” He then added a link to an August 1 Washington Post editorial titled, “Libertarian Democrats: A movement in search of a leader.”
Before his switch to the Libertarian Party, Harris, running as a Ron Paul Republican, unsuccessfully challenged Congressman Tom Cole in the 2010 GOP primary, receiving 23 percent. After dropping out of the 2012 presidential race shortly before the Libertarian National Convention, Harris announced he would again challenge Cole, not as a Republican, but as an Independent in the general election. In a three way race, Harris finished third with five percent of the vote.
No other candidate has announced his intention to seek the Democratic Party’s 2014 nomination for Governor. If Harris prevails as the Democratic choice, he will likely face incumbent Republican governor Mary Fallin, who has held the office since 2011.
Harris figures to make his opposition to Oklahoma’s strict ballot access laws an important part of the campaign. On Facebook, he writes:
As Governor, I fully intend to pursue legislation which ensures the voice and votes of every Oklahoman will be counted. Artificially keeping candidates and parties off our ballot strikes at the very heart of election legitimacy. The people of Oklahoma deserve to know about ALL of the candidates running for office and the political principles of the parties from which they hail. Armed with this knowledge I trust fully informed Oklahomans to choose the best candidates for office and not JUST those from “major” parties.