LAWTON_ Local Democrats are very supportive of Barack Obama's vice presidential candidate, Senator Joe Biden, saying Biden compliments Obama's politics, and creates a solid liberal team. But Republicans are also excited, saying picking a partner who is seen by many as liberal, will push moderate, or undecided voters, into John McCain's camp.
So, can the Obama-Biden ticket rally Oklahoma voters? Oklahoma has voted Republican since Lyndon B. Johnson won the state in 1964, and Congressman Tom Cole says he expects it to stay that way. "I think we're in good shape, partly because of McCain's military background, and foreign policy expertise," Cole said. "I think Biden offers a little bit of a counter to that, but he's one of the more liberal members of the U.S. Senate as well... So I think just on ideology, conservative versus liberal, we're probably going to be in pretty good shape with whomever McCain picks."
Local Democratic party activist Ken-Sue Doerfel says the Obama-Biden ticket is so strong it will turn Oklahoma blue. "Our governor was an early supporter of Obama, most of our legislative delegation, the leaders, the Democratic leaders, came out for Obama," Doerfel said. "So I think we have a good chance, for the first time since 1964, to carry the state."
One big question on voter's minds, can such a liberal ticket win over the moderates stuck in the middle? "I think so," Doerfel said. "And of course Biden comes from a blue collar family, he was raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania, he's always supported the causes of working people, and women, and minorities, teachers, the impoverished. And that's been his history in the Senate. So I think he's going to bring a lot to the table."
Cole says it'll depend on who McCain picks as his V.P. "That's the advantage of getting to pick second," he said, "and I think he's got a pretty good staple of people to consider. But I think this would push me more toward a governor, that had executive experience, more toward a person with a private experience background. I think indirectly Mitt Romney's stock probably rose a little bit."
Cole says by Obama picking Biden, they locked in the Democrats in the northeastern states, but may have cut out voters in the south and western states. He says McCain may not pick up that slack either if he goes with the likely choices of former-governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney, or Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.