This year’s Super Tuesday presidential primary election may not be quite as super as initially expected — at least where the number of viable candidates is concerned.
By the time the Super Tuesday Presidential Preferential Primary is held in Oklahoma and a slew of other states on March 1, there will be almost as many candidates on the ballot who have suspended their campaigns as there will be active candidates for the presidency.
At least seven of the candidates on the primary ballot have already halted their presidential campaigns and officially dropped out of the race.
Nevertheless, they will remain on the ballot in the Sooner State and many of the 10 other states participating in the Super Tuesday primary, because they pulled out of the presidential campaign too late to have their names removed.
Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Bryan Dean said the date for U.S. presidential candidates to withdraw from the race was Dec. 11, 2015, the Friday after the filing date ended.
Amazingly, all seven of the candidates who have dropped out so far did so mainly on the basis of the recent Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire Primary.
Would it have killed them to have remained active candidates for a couple more weeks? Many Oklahomans and Super Tuesday voters in other states have no doubt already spent hours watching televised debates, reading interviews and picking favorites, now to have many of the said candidates backing out shortly before Super Tuesday votes are cast.
After years of covering elections, I can assure you that every candidate who has already dropped out of the race — but whose name will remain on the ballot — will get some votes in Oklahoma come primary election day.
Despite all the tough talk on the GOP side, half of the 12 Republican candidates who will be on the Oklahoma Presidential Preferential Primary ballot have already figuratively packed up their tents and slinked away, announcing their campaigns have ended.
After Donald Trump — the Don Rickles of presidential candidates — won an overwhelming 35 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire GOP Primary last Tuesday, two more Republican candidates folded.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — who, despite his criticism of fellow candidate, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, robotically reminded viewers in every debate that he’s a tough former federal prosecutor — gave up Wednesday, apparently disheartened by his poor sixth place finish in New Hampshire. Although he liked to refer to Rubio as the “Boy in the Bubble,” Christie couldn’t handle having his own political bubble burst by the Granite State electorate.
Christie suspended his campaign shortly after Carly Fiorina announced her withdrawal from the presidential race, after she finished seventh in New Hampshire. Dr. Ben Carson is still hanging tough, even though he came in eighth in New Hampshire, behind both Christie and Fiorina. Two more GOP candidates, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have also put the brakes on their presidential campaigns.
So, as it now stands, by the time March 1 rolls around active GOP candidates on the Super Tuesday ballot in Oklahoma will be Trump, Rubio, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
Republican candidates who have already pulled out of the presidential race — but who will remain on Oklahoma’s Super Tuesday ballot —are Christie, Fiorina, Paul, Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, of Pennsylvania.
On the Democratic side, of course, the two frontrunners are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont — but there are more choices.
A Democrat who doesn’t want to vote for either Clinton or Sanders could still vote for Martin O’Malley, right? He’ll be on the Super Tuesday ballot in Oklahoma, but remember O’Malley stopped his presidential campaign after garnering less than 1 percent in the Iowa caucus.
Don’t despair, though. Even with O’Malley leaving the Democratic race, six other candidates are on the ballot.
In addition to Sanders and Clinton, Democratic voters can also consider Michael A. Steinberg and Keith Judd. Haven’t heard of them? Don’t feel alone.
Democratic Presidential Primary voters in Oklahoma can also consider another couple of Democratic stalwarts come March 1: Star Locke or a candidate named Roque Rocky De La Fuente — and I promise he’s on the Democratic presidential primary ballot in the Sooner State.
He’s been identified as a real estate developer and business tycoon from San Diego, California — although there’s no word if he’s one of the 1 percenters (i.e. billionaires) so disdained by Sanders.
One has to wonder why so many candidates — some who had already spent years campaigning — have decided to let the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire decide their future for them. The Super Tuesday results could be decidedly different than those recorded in those two states. They should have given Oklahoma and the other Super Tuesday states a chance.
At least one of the candidates who dropped out of the race prior to Super Tuesday displayed a sense of humor in doing so. Huckabee said he planned to drop out of the race due to health reasons.
“Voters are sick of me,” he said.
That may be the way some Sooner voters will feel once they learn they’ve cast a Super Tuesday vote for a candidate who is no longer seeking the White House.