RJ Harris to Run for OK Gov as Democrat

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.

18 thoughts on “RJ Harris to Run for OK Gov as Democrat

  1. Nicholas Sarwark

    This looks like a good strategy to me. OK is the worst on ballot access for Libertarians, his platform is explicitly to change that, and the Democratic field is empty at present.

  2. Stewart Flood

    My retch was over the use of the word “contender” in the article.

    He never really had a campaign for president. He’s a stuffed shirt, doing it for ego. That was very clear during the 2012 election cycle.

    The Democrats will find someone to run against him, even if it is at the last minute.

  3. Reality Watch

    Wikipedia does not list Mr. Harris as receiving any votes for the 2012 LP Presidential nomination. It would be just as accurate to call him a “2012 contender to be Queen of England.”

  4. William Saturn Post author

    Why so much focus on one word?

    Webster’s Dictionary:
    Contender – one that contends; especially : a competitor for a championship or high honor (a heavyweight title contender)

    What is contend?

    intransitive verb
    1 to strive or vie in contest or rivalry or against difficulties : struggle
    2 to strive in debate : argue

    transitive verb
    1 maintain, assert (contended that he was right)
    2 to struggle for : contest

    Bottom line: Regardless of whether he was a “stuffed shirt,” RJ Harris was a contender for the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential nomination because he vied for, struggled for, and competed for the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential nomination. The only item possibly subject to debate is whether the LP presidential nomination can be considered a “high honor.” It seems rather important to IPR commenters.

  5. Richard Winger

    Oklahoma ballot access for independent candidates (for office other than President) is extremely easy. There is no petition. One just pays the filing fee, which isn’t that high. R. J. Harris used the independent procedure to be on the ballot for US House in Oklahoma in 2012. He got 4.51% in the 4th district against both a Dem and a Rep.

  6. Green_Liberal

    Sensible move. If he could get some traction, he could draw or attention to the unfair ballot laws.

  7. Andy

    It is good to see that RJ Harris is still fighting the good fight for liberty, regardless of what party label it is under.

  8. NewFederalist

    While I don’t know his motives for running as a Democrat, I have believed for a long time that libertarians would be wiser to work through the Democratic party rather than the Republicans if they decided to give up on the LP.

  9. Steven Wilson

    First, RW at 6 is correct. The ballot access laws in Oklahoma for PARTIES are impossible. For a indy candidate, comparatively speaking, is a cake walk.

    Independent candidates can form a platform that is specially built for that race or state.

    Second, Harris wants to be famous. For anything.

    As a perpetual candidate, his ambitions are showing his true color. Even the desperate dems want hold onto a party jumper.

  10. Andy

    “Steven Wilson // Aug 16, 2013 at 7:05 am

    First, RW at 6 is correct. The ballot access laws in Oklahoma for PARTIES are impossible”

    It is difficult, but it is not impossible. The Libertarian Party has qualified for the ballot with full party status in Oklahoma in 2000, 1996, 1992, and in 1980, and it may have qualified there some other times.

    The Libertarian Party could have qualified for the Oklahoma ballot in 2012 had the petition drive not been mismanaged.

  11. Melty

    The way I remember it, RJ Harris quit his campaign for LP presidential nominee 2012 shortly before the convention.

  12. Andy

    “Melty // Aug 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

    The way I remember it, RJ Harris quit his campaign for LP presidential nominee 2012 shortly before the convention.”

    He dropped out of the race due to a lack of funding.

  13. Mayall B. Free

    I expect that Harris will end up running as an Independent should he fail to win the Democratic nomination.

    Of course, running as the nominee of a major party would give him greater viability and visibility, and he has zero chance of winning the Republican nomination against popular incumbent Mary Fallin. So a run for the Dem. nomination is certainly worth a try.

  14. Andy

    “Mayall B. Free // Aug 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    I expect that Harris will end up running as an Independent should he fail to win the Democratic nomination.”

    Can a person who loses in a major party primary still run for that same office as an independent? Some states have “sore loser” laws which prevent this.

  15. paulie

    I have believed for a long time that libertarians would be wiser to work through the Democratic party rather than the Republicans if they decided to give up on the LP.

    I wish this was true. However, organizationally, the Democratic Party is dominated by government employee unions. They have lots of members, money, resources (and apparently time on their hands) and the advantage of automatic paycheck withholding for the union political fund (and virtually mandatory union membership in some professions).

    And they fight very, very dirty.

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