- Associated Press - Sunday, October 11, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Whether they’re local fixers or high-profile appointments, Oklahoma politicians are playing a role in presidential campaigns this year.

State Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, was one of the first state lawmakers to publicly support a contender, and one of the first to take a supporting role in Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign for the White House.

Holt is the state chairman of the Oklahoma campaign. In a state that doesn’t have many people and doesn’t vote very early in the GOP primary, Holt’s duties are strictly volunteer; when Rubio visited Oklahoma City, Holt personally drove him around.

“It’s highly unlikely that any of the campaigns will have paid staff here or really expend any amount of money,” Holt told The Journal Record (https://bit.ly/1MgQ8qw ). “They depend on volunteers like me to be that point of contact.”

Having someone on the ground like Holt, or state Sen. Ralph Shortey for Donald Trump, eases the burden of national campaigns.

“So they find people like me and get the word out there so Oklahomans who want to help Marco Rubio will get in touch with me first,” Holt said. “It’s a manpower issue.”

Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, reached out to Trump’s campaign to see if his endorsement should have been coordinated. Instead, he got the responsibility of coordinating the needs of Trump’s campaign in Oklahoma.

Shortey suggested Trump’s visit to the State Fair and helped plan it, but he never got to meet the billionaire businessman.

“I didn’t have any aspirations,” Shortey said. “I think he’s the right guy; I want him to win and I want him to have as much support in Oklahoma as possible.”

As the presidential candidates spar in public, local politicos will probably avoid the rumble.

“I consider (Holt) a friend,” Shortey said. “He and I have talked several times about things not even related to presidential politics since then. There’s no more ribbing than there usually is between us.”

Holt said he’s apt to tease people if their candidate has a bad week. It’s all good-natured, though, he said.

“I think we’ll have some fun with that,” Holt said.

A spokeswoman for presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Terry Neese, an Oklahoma City businesswoman, is the campaign’s national finance chairwoman. State Sen. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, recently came out in support of Fiorina, too.

On the Democratic side, the only known surrogate in Oklahoma is state Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City, who is helping the Hillary Clinton campaign.

In the coming weeks, Holt said he expects more campaigns to name Oklahoma leadership teams.


Information from: The Journal Record, https://www.journalrecord.com

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