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As Democratic surrogates pitch presidential candidates, poll shows Bloomberg, Sanders in tight race

EDMOND — Speakers for Democratic presidential hopefuls made the case for their candidates at a forum here Monday night, while a new poll showed Mike Bloomberg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders locked in a tight race in Oklahoma two weeks from the March 3 primary.

About 275 people attended an event sponsored by the Edmond Democratic Women to allow surrogates a chance to contrast policies and electability.

“We have to dream big and make sure that we bring along all the folks that have been disenfranchised and need someone to believe in, and that’s Bernie’s vision and track record and that’s why he can beat Trump in November,” Oklahoma City council member JoBeth Hamon said in advocating for Sanders.

Amanda Finney, national deputy director for women’s outreach for the Bloomberg campaign, said, “We have 23 staff members right here on the ground. We’re 14 days away from Super Tuesday and no other candidate has the resources. He’s really putting his money where his mouth is. We are on the ground in so many states … when a lot of the other candidates were only worried about the first four.”

Oklahoma is one of 14 states holding primaries on March 3, Super Tuesday. The 2020 campaign for Sanders, who won Oklahoma’s Democratic primary in 2016, has been active for months in the state, with volunteers knocking doors and sponsoring events.

Bloomberg began spending heavily on ads and organization in Oklahoma late last year and has visited Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The billionaire and former New York City mayor qualified for the Democratic debate scheduled for Wednesday in Las Vegas; it will be his first.

A survey released Monday by longtime GOP pollster Pat McFerron, of Oklahoma City, showed 18% of those who can vote in the Democratic primary favored Bloomberg, while 17% favored Sanders. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 11%; Pete Buttegieg had 9%; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 8%; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar had 7%; 15% said they were not likely to vote; and 8% were undecided.

Among those Democrats polled who had voted in previous primaries, Bloomberg was favored by 20% and Sanders by 14%.

The Sooner Survey included 500 registered voters, 242 of which are eligible to vote in the March 3 Democratic primary. Oklahoma Democrats are allowing independents to vote in their primary, while the Republicans are not. The poll had a margin of error of 4.3%.

At the forum Monday night, the surrogates talked about health care, the economy, the environment and how their candidates could defeat Trump.

Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert, speaking for Warren, said the Oklahoma native won her Senate seat after the U.S. Senate rejected her nomination to run a consumer protection agency she'd created.

Referring to the multiple policy plans Warren has developed, Blumert said, “I don’t think we can say that you can stop a woman with a plan who’s upset and who wants to help her community.”

Oklahoma City attorney Leslie Batchelor, president of the Center for Economic Development Law, said, “The case for Pete Buttegieg is simple: Democrats win when we run a young, idealistic candidate on a platform of hope, change and values that Americans share.”

Buttegieg has been surging in recent polls after strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Former Oklahoma House minority leader Scott Inman, speaking for Biden, whose campaign has been faltering, criticized some of the other candidates and said the race “isn’t just about plans."

“It’s about two things: It’s about who actually has the broad diverse coalition that we need to beat Trump and who has the experience to bring us together afterward.”

Related Photos
<strong>Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a rally at Reaves Park in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 22, 2019. [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman]</strong>

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a rally at Reaves Park in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 22, 2019. [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a9d254193157c8079b069c8378e3d414.jpg" alt="Photo - Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a rally at Reaves Park in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 22, 2019. [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman] " title=" Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a rally at Reaves Park in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 22, 2019. [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders talks to a crowd during a rally at Reaves Park in Norman, Oklahoma Sept. 22, 2019. [Paxson Haws/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›

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