State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister sent shockwaves through the political universe in Oklahoma on Wednesday when she announced she is switching parties and registering as a Democrat to run for governor.
"The 57-year-old lifelong Republican told the Tulsa World in an exclusive interview that she is changing her party registration on Thursday in order to launch a bid to unseat Republican incumbent Kevin Stitt," the newspaper reported.
In the interview, Hofmeister had tough words for the GOP incumbent.
"Governor Stitt is running the state into the ground," she said. "Through extremism, partisanship, ineffective leadership, he is hurting our education system, our health care, our infrastructure."
""And unfortunately, Gov. Stitt has hijacked the Republican Party in Oklahoma," she added.
Hofmeister was elected statewide in Oklahoma in the 2014 and 2018 elections.
"We have a global pandemic, and it mattered who was governor in 2020," she explained. "We've had 10,000 Oklahomans lost. When you understand now how critical it was to have had a leader who contemplated expert advice and opinion and set an example to help protect Oklahomans, we could have avoided thousands of people dying."
She noted the impact on workers from the GOP's efforts to politicize the pandemic.
"Our health care workers are disrespected and stretched to the limit. Just as we've seen the lack of respect for educators, our health care providers have been standing alone battling a pandemic without the kind of leadership needed from the Governor's Office," she said.
Tulsa World exclusive: Oklahoma's State Superintendent of Public Instruction announces campaign for governor.… https://t.co/Fr02An5OLC— Tulsa World (@Tulsa World) 1633573089.0