There’s been so much buzz about Alexandria Ocasio’s massive win over Joe Crowley– and rightfully so– that we haven’t talked much about Tom Guild’s success in making it into the August 28 primary runoff in Oklahoma City. There were 6 Democrats in the primary last week and the top two now move on to the runoff– a garden variety Republican-lite Democrat who stands for nothing at all, the type who loses every single time they face the Republican in November– and Tom, a dedicated Berniecrat in a district Bernie won in 2016.
Tom’s very grassroots campaign– largely based on door knocking– set a goal of garnering 14,000 votes, which in both 2014 and 2016 would have been a majority of the primary vote. There was a total of 27,504 votes cast in the Democratic primary in 2014 and 27,203 votes in the 2016 primary. In both years 14,000 votes would have secured Tom’s nomination without a runoff primary between the top two candidates.
In 2018, State Question 788 appeared on the primary ballot– a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana. It passed by a large margin and drew huge numbers of people to the polls, people who wouldn’t even have considered voting in a normal Democratic primary. Republicans were afraid to place the measure on the November general election ballot, because of the swell of progressives and non-Republican voters they expected would come out to vote, so they put it on the primary ballot. That anticipated increase in voter turnout became a virtual tsunami. Last week the CD-05 Democratic primary turnout was an eye-popping 79,505 votes! That’s more than 3 times the turnout in 2014 or 2016. State Question 788 brought tens of thousands of additional voters to the Democratic congressional primary– especially independent voters who are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary but not in the Republican primary.The medical marijuana measure clearly did green the vote.
Guild’s campaign beat its stated goal and received 14,424 votes in a six-candidate contest, a bit more than their 14,000-vote goal. Although Tom didn’t win without a runoff, 14,424 votes were enough to knock 4 candidates out of the running and put him in in the runoff where, in August, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents will choose the Democratic nominee to run against incumbent Republican, Steve Russell, a Trump rubber stamp.
So… there are 2 candidates left standing– a darling of the Democratic Party and corporate establishment, who is a self-described “No Labels moderate” and progressive Democrat Tom Guild, who was elected as a 2016 national convention delegate supporting Bernie and who has the Blue America endorsement.
Guild was outspent by more than 5 to 1. We should step up for him now; he has a strong progressive populist message– like Alexandria’s– and helped Bernie win the Oklahoma presidential primary two years ago by a 10.4% margin. Tom is one of our progressive champions who needs our support to put together the financial resources to effectively compete with his corporate opponent in the runoff. (Think of it like this: Tom is Alexandria Ocasio and his opponent is Joe Crowley.)
Tom supports Medicare for All, a living wage for all Americans, programs to lessen the burden of debt weighing heavily on the shoulders of college students and he has been very clear that he will fight to reverse the curse of the Citizens United decision that makes the corrupt campaign finance system even worse. Tom has fought for immigrant rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, worker’s rights, transitioning to green energy, and a host of issues on the progressive agenda, including support for the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.
If you want to help Tom win the runoff and the Democratic nomination so he can present an actual contrast and strong progressive challenge to Steve Russell and the Oklahoma Republican Party, he needs that help now. That’s what that thermometer on the right is for.
Thanks for always doing what you can to make this a better world.
Howie, for the entire Blue America team