Governor’s underdogs say abortion problem, rising voter numbers will help them

OKLAHOMA CITY — Two outsiders hoping to become governors believe rolling back abortion restrictions and increasing voter numbers will help them at the polls.

Former Republican Senator Ervin Yen became an independent. Natalie Bruno introduces herself as a Libertarian.

They will face Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt and State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who switched from Republican to Democrat, in the Nov. 8 ballot.

“I’m saying this year is going to be dramatically different because of Roe v. Wade being overturned,” Yen said. “I think there will be a lot of Democrats showing up to vote who don’t normally vote – and a lot of independents, especially when I’m on the ballot.”

Bruno said she was probably the most pro-choice candidate on the ballot.

She said this election would be very different from 2018. She said the state would see an influx of female voters and young voters who support abortion rights.

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Bruno needs 2.5% in statewide elections to expand ballot access to libertarians for another four years.

“I think I’m going to have a record percentage when it comes to the gubernatorial race,” she said.

On January 15, 2018, the state had just 4,897 Libertarians, a figure that rose to 17,981 five years later.

The number of people registered as self-employed rose to 381,088 on January 15, 2022, from 298,867 five years earlier.

Bruno points out that Yen has changed his position on abortion.

In 2017, Yen reportedly said, “Here is what I say as a Republican, as a Catholic, as a pro-life person. If you want to go to Washington, DC, and try to overturn Roe v. Wade, I’ll go with you.

“If you want to protest outside an abortion clinic, I think that’s fine as long as you don’t interfere with the clinic’s ability to do something that is currently legal. But passing unconstitutional bills, in my opinion, is just plain stupid.

He made the statement after deciding not to hear a bill that would ban abortions of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome or other “viable genetic disorders” or the possibility of one, saying it was unconstitutional. .

Since the U.S. Supreme Court said earlier this year that states must decide the issue, Yen has changed its position.

Yen said it’s not her job to say a woman can’t do something with her body.

“How can I decide that,” he said. “I don’t have a uterus.”

He also doesn’t believe that life begins at conception because a fertilized egg has no brain activity.

He said that if the legislature did not change course on the issue, he would seek to put it to a vote of the people. Oklahoma lawmakers have banned abortion.

Bruno would focus on better quality sex education and more empowerment of men to make better choices.

“Government has no place in health care choices, period,” she said. “We don’t have the right to choose when we want medical freedom, that is vaccines, and when we don’t. And whether you like it or not, as long as a baby is in a woman’s body, it’s her healthcare choice.

Hofmeister said she was personally pro-life but did not favor extremes on either side of abortion access. She believes it’s a health care decision between a woman and her doctor.

Stitt said he would sign any pro-life bill that landed on his desk.

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