Kevin Hern is likely to win the election to replace 1st District Representative Bridenstine because of his spending power.
Jim Bridenstine, current House of Representatives member from the 1st Congressional District of Oklahoma, could be leaving his position due to a new role as the head of NASA. After the White House nominated him, Bridenstine is currently waiting for the Senate to decide if they approve him as the nominee.
Oklahoma will have to propose an election to fill the void set by Jim Bridenstine. Voting will begin on November 6, 2018. The current nominees for the election are Republican nominees Andy Coleman, Nathan Dahm, Tim Harris, Kevin Hern and Danny Stockstill. In addition to the Republican nominees, there is also a potential Democratic nominee named Rex Ber. In this future election, the mostly likely candidate to win is Hern due to the vast monetary resources at his disposal and his background.
While one’s campaign contributions are not the only important element in a political campaign, they do hold an important role. Financing allows a candidate to use a variety of communication tools to get their message across. As opposed to his competitors, Hern’s political campaign has a massive lead on campaign contributions. According to Ballotpedia.org, Hern has received around $858,707 in campaign contributions. In comparison, the candidate with the second largest amount of campaign contributions is currently Harris who has only received $122,574.
Through this economic base, he can more easily pay for advertisement across many forms of media. In a world surrounded by different forms of media, it becomes increasingly vital to catch citizens’ attention in anyway possible. Mass communication is extremely important to a candidate’s success. Without knowledge sent out to the people, It is impossible for a candidate to achieve victory over his political rivals. With this massive lead in campaign financing, Hern has a greater chance to get his message out to the citizens of the surrounding areas.
A constant issue of a political campaign is getting voters out to the polls. While vast amounts of advertising does not completely fix the issue of voter turnout, it does have an noticeable effect. According to a study in 2011 by the European Political Journal, titled “Turned on or Turned out, Campaign advertising, information and voting, stated, “informative advertisements increase voter participation and thus campaign advertisement turns out voters.” However, the effect is still effective just not to the degree originally thought. The problem of voter turnout is a constant issue in the U.S. and this is especially true for midterm elections. According to Fairvote.org, a website that works to increase voter turnout, only around 60 percent of the population voted in recent presidential election years. In midterm election years, like the Oklahoma 1st District elections, the turnout has been only around 40 percent. In addition to this, Oklahoma voter turnout in 2016, a presidential election year, was only 58.3 percent of the population which is the seventh lowest in the country. Due to the extremely low and problematic turn out of midterm elections, the winning candidate is the one who can push their supporters to the polls.
In addition to Hern’s large political war chest, he has also the advantage of his economic background. Hern currently owns 10 McDonald’s franchises and the KTAK Corporation which according to Muskogeepolitico.com which, “identifies companies that need strategic growth leadership and provides avenue for capital participation.” Through his several business ventures, he can easily showcase his business acumen over his competing candidates. As opposed to the other candidates who have backgrounds in religious activities and the police force, he has an economic background that can be seen as beneficial in consolidating Oklahoma’s budget.
While he does not have the heavy religious background like political rival Pastor Danny Stockstill, or political background like Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm, a mix of both conservative values and economic values will help provide Hern with winning over the average Oklahoma voter over his political rivals.