Energy Not a Hot Topic in State’s Elections

Energy has been a controversial campaign issue for some politicians across the country. But in Oklahoma, it hasn’t been a hot-button issue.

Not in the Governor’s bid for re-election and the challenge by Democratic gubernatorial candidae Joe Dorman.

Not in Senator Jim Inhofe’s re-election effort, nor in the race between Republican Congressman James Lankford and Democratic state senator Connie Johnson to replace retiring Senator Tom Coburn.

The Governor, during the legislative session signed into law the permanent, lowered gross-production tax on oil and gas. Under it, production from all new wells will be taxed at 2 percent for three years, then the gross production tax rate of 7 percent kicks in.

Elsewhere, it’s been a bone of contention in Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu’s re-election bid. But in one debate against Republican challenger Bill Cassidy, she took claim for opening up eight million new acres in the Gulf of Mexico and came out saying she did not agree with President Obama and his energy policies. The Democratic Senator also boasted of being a strong promoter of fossil fuels, especially natural gas because it is a 50 percent cleaner burning fuel, in her opinion.

Landrieu’s problem is this—she’s trying to point out the work she’s done as chairwoman of the U.S. Senate’s Energy Committee but Cassidy keeps linking her to President Obama—his ads saying Landrieu supports Barack Obama 97 percent of the time.

In Colorado, Democratic Senator Mark Udall faces much the same campaign tactic in the challenge by Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican. Gardner’s gone after Udall for supporting a carbon tax. Gardner’s using President Obama’s unpopularity in Colorado to attack Udall and as a result, Udall is said to be vulnerable.

But Oklahoma’s a red state. Witness the last Presidential election when not one of Oklahoma’s 77 counties voted for the President. Oklahoma proved to be one of a handful of states that voted against him.