I've been a part of this community since before I ran for any public office, and throughout all my campaigns, you have all been so supportive. I realized it's been a while since I've checked in with you, so before we all make our final push and leave everything on the road for tomorrow, I wanted to share what I've been doing these last few weeks.
Our "Working for Main Street Tour" photos are below the fold....
Every politician has a story about why he or she was called into public service. My story is one that is intertwined with the trajectory of our country over the past seven years, and unfortunately there are constant reminders for why I am compelled to run for U.S. Senate.
Over the last few days, we have seen a Russian incursion into a sovereign Georgia, an action that many foreign policy experts saw coming – but the Bush administration failed to do anything to intervene before the inevitable came.
Though much of the world is coming to China in peace for the Olympic games, that country’s rescinded visa for a former Olympian who has been openly critical of many nations’ inaction on the crisis in Darfur has only reminded us of the need to resolve that ongoing conflict.
And now today, another story hit closer to home.
Karina Henderson, live from the Andrew Rice watch party...
7:49 [Central] - Found a wireless connection and we're live from Cafe do Brasil in Oklahoma City! We have a great crowd building, waiting for Andrew to arrive and officially accept the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. Results are coming in slowly but surely, and we're confident that the election will go in our favor.
In the meantime, we're enjoying the great food and keeping an eye on the TV and on the tubes.... Follow the returns here, and keep an eye right here for updates as they come in. We're going to launch a few new elements to the campaign tonight - so keep reading....
UPDATES BELOW THE FOLD
My older brother David Rice was a Democrat. He was killed on the 104th floor of the South Tower in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, 2001.
David was killed with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats. On that day, they were not members of political parties, they were Americans.
Some Americans and politicans apparently believe my brother was to blame for his own murder because he voted Democrat, which apparently surrendered our borders to those who want to kill us.
There’s a reason they call candidates like me "challengers." It’s a challenge to knock off an incumbent as entrenched as Jim Inhofe. It’s a challenge to be a progressive Democrat running in a state like Oklahoma, which, in many people’s minds, is solid red. It’s a challenge to run a grassroots campaign, fighting for everyday people, when our opponent is well-financed by moneyed special interests.
It’s a challenge we’re meeting. It’s a fight that’s worth fighting. And it’s a race that we will win in November.
But today’s a critical day for me as a challenger. More than any other day of the campaign, you can have the greatest impact on this race TODAY.
A few weeks ago, the DC reporters from the Oklahoman – our state's largest newspaper – interviewed my opponent, Sen. Jim Inhofe, about his campaign and his main issues. Unfortunately, Sen. Inhofe seemed a bit confused about a few things, so I asked to stop by and set the record straight (video is 11 minutes).
Here's the video:
A few things in this discussion I'd like to highlight are below the fold.
I've been campaigning for U.S. Senate since last summer, but in many ways, it's still early in the race. I'm proud of the signs of success we've been seeing in this race: I've raised over $1 million, my opponent's polling numbers stay well below 50%, and, of course, witnessing the outpouring of grassroots and netroots support that's been coming my way.
And the good news is that my race against Inhofe has heated up earlier than expected.
Because of you and all of my supporters, we have forced Jim Inhofe to dip into his campaign war chest to go on television six months before the general election. Neither of us has a primary opponent – he's going on TV because he's seeing the same polling numbers we are, and the same reports that this is no longer considered a "safe Republican" seat.
(follow me below)
Record gas prices and record oil-company profits don't seem like a good mix to me.
The far-reaching consequences of short-sighted policymakers, like my opponent, Jim Inhofe, are becoming all too apparent. From $3.60 a gallon gas to soaring prices at the grocery store, from farmers and ranchers who can't cover their costs to small business owners who have to raise their prices or lay off employees, the dominoes from years of denial are falling - with serious effects for most Americans.
There are a few folks who don't seem to mind the consequences of higher gas prices. Oil companies are announcing near-record profits - billions more than even most analysts expected. Jim Inhofe is profiting too - by taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and coal industry, he's managed to stay in Congress for more than 20 years.
I'm State Senator Andrew Rice, candidate for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma. We have an historic opportunity before us in Oklahoma next November to replace one of the most partisan politicians in Washington with principled leadership that is accountable to everyone.
This not a normal election year in Oklahoma. Bush is at 39%, and our U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is stuck in the 1990s. Oklahoma is "in play".
On Friday, Sen. Jim Inhofe used more than two hours of the Senate’s time continuing to rail against the reality of climate change. Instead of being an advocate for the state of Oklahoma, Sen. Inhofe is still debating an issue that’s long settled.
Oklahoma City’s daily paper, The Oklahoman, included some of my response to Sen. Inhofe’s floor speech:
State Sen. Andrew Rice, an Oklahoma City Democrat who plans to run against Inhofe next year, said Inhofe, rather than "always posturing as the obstacle to change," could "help Oklahoma by leading the charge for conversion to clean-burning energy." Rice said, "In addition to our rich deposits of natural gas, Oklahoma has an abundance of wind, switch grass, animal fats and other natural resources that can be converted to renewable fuels."
I'm running for U.S. Senate not just to send Jim Inhofe into retirement. I felt the call to public service several years ago while working with 9/11 victims' families groups.
My campaign website is now up. I look forward to it becoming an important, participatory tool that you can use to communicate with me and my campaign, and help me become the next U.S Senator from Oklahoma.
Follow me below for more information about my public announcement in Oklahoma next week.