Nuke LaLoosh, Crash Davis, and the sultry Annie Savoy tore up the minor leagues in the movie "Bull Durham." The story of baseball players traveling from town to town in a dilapidated bus, trying to make the big leagues " the ultimate goal for aspiring minor league ball players " is an apt analogy for Oklahoma politics.
Past and present key players " Ernest Istook, Frank Lucas, Frank Keating, JC Watts, Jim Inhofe, Don Nickles, Denise Bode and Brenda Reneau " are joined by Mary Fallin, James Lankford, Scott Pruitt, Todd Lamb, Mark Costello, John Doak, Gary Jones and Janet Barresi.
You need to get used to these recently elected officials, because they will be around for quite a while.
Sen. Tom Coburn will be finishing his last term, and then he is going to retire. I don't think Sen. Inhofe is trying to break Strom Thurmond's service record, so within the next couple of years, the more things change the more they stay the same.
When those two major league spots open up, who is going to step up and run for the Senate?
Mary Fallin (governor-elect): She has made it clear she did not want to stay in D.C. any longer than she had to, and I don't think she could come home fast enough for her liking.
James Lankford (congressman-elect): He probably cannot make the jump to run statewide yet, but give him time and some statewide exposure, and it is possible " but in years to come.
Scott Pruitt (attorney general-elect): After running for a couple different offices (Congress, lieutenant governor), I think he will be staying put as our attorney general, if not for any other reason than he wants to prove that he is not just a guy looking to run for any elected office, but feels called to his new position.
Mark Costello (labor commissioner-elect): He had a great jingle in his primary and general elections, but is going to find it hard to convey to the average GOP and common voter what he has done as labor commissioner.
John Doak (insurance commissioner-elect): He is going to have a similar problem in relating his accomplishments to the average voter. Although Kim Holland had a lot of establishment GOP support, it clearly was not enough to win last November. Doak would have a hard hill to climb if and when he wants to jump to the U.S. Senate.
Gary Jones (auditor and inspector-elect): I think he has the same problem as Pruitt, in that he is going to thrive in his new office. He ran for auditor multiple times, and now he just can't wait to do his job. Also, on top of that, this office will have a problem with average voters knowing and understanding his duties and accomplishments.
Todd Lamb (lieutenant governor-elect): He is the one that, depending on how things unfold, will be in the best position to run for higher office. He is in a prominent position that people understand, has been a successful fundraiser and has a great biography.
It should be interesting to see who gets "called up" to the big leagues and who the voters send down to the minors.
Loveless, a 2008 Republican candidate for Senate District 45, is CEO of Phoenix Consulting, editor in chief of www.okpolitico.com and the business manager for Loveless Custom Footwear.