Oklahoma City — Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who has never lost an election during a 25-year political career in Oklahoma, will face two lesser-known opponents in next week's GOP primary who have made their support for legalization of marijuana an issue in the campaign.
While it is an unusual issue to highlight in such a conservative state, criminal defense attorney Chad Moody — known around Oklahoma City as "The Drug Lawyer" — and computer network operator Dax Ewbank, a libertarian-leaning Republican from Guthrie, both said they support the full legalization of cannabis. The issue arises as two separate signature gathering efforts are underway in Oklahoma to get marijuana questions on the ballot — one to legalize the medicinal use of the drug and another authorizing its complete legalization.
"It's not appropriate to be imprisoning people and perpetuating police powers through the drug war," said Ewbank, a 38-year-old father of seven known for openly carrying his firearm at campaign events.
Moody has a knack for humorous marketing techniques such as a psychedelically colored Volkswagen van with his number on it, or a billboard adorned with his trademarked pot leaf that asks: "God made cannabis. Does God make mistakes?" The 46-year-old says his gubernatorial campaign was launched to start a pro-marijuana discussion, but now says he's convinced there is a strong sentiment against Fallin that he may be able to exploit.
"From the response we've been getting I think it's altogether possible," Moody said.
Ewbank reported spending about $3,300, while Moody's report wasn't filed by Tuesday's midnight deadline. Fallin has raised more than $3 million so far and has more than $1.5 million left in her campaign war chest.
If Fallin secures more than 50 percent of the vote, she will advance to the November general election against Democratic state Rep. Joe Dorman of Rush Springs and two independents.