, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 23, 2011

Herriman to run for Congress

Local businessman first Dem to seek seat

WARNER — Muskogee County Democrats packed Duke’s Diner  on Thursday, rallying the party’s faithful toward what could be a raucous rivalry for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Democrats had been unusually silent since U.S. Rep. Dan Boren announced in June he would not seek a fifth term. Since then, the Republican field of candidates vying for that party’s nomination swelled to six.

That silence cracked Thursday, when the first Democrat to officially enter the contest was met by an enthusiastic crowd.

Wayne Herriman, an eastern Oklahoma businessman, said he’s “sick and tired” of the way politicians are running Washington. Herriman said he sees his bid for Boren’s seat as his “chance to make a difference.”

Herriman said too many politicians are more worried about re-election than about the “way we live here in Oklahoma.”

“We need to take back our country,” said Herriman, who emphasized his working man’s roots. “We are Americans first, and we need to get our country back to where it needs to be.”

Herriman has owned and operated Sunburst Seed Co. in Muskogee more than 25 years. The family business’ holdings also include Sunburst Spraying Co. in Muskogee and Holman’s Seed Farm in Collinsville.

The 1970 Warner High School graduate attended Connors State College before he was drafted. After completing his military service, Herriman briefly worked for the Veterans Administration before earning a degree in agriculture at Oklahoma State University.

Herriman is the second Democrat to file his candidacy for the 2nd District race with the Federal Election Commission. Former state Sen. Kenneth Corn of Howe formed an exploratory committee earlier this year, but dropped out because of a family crisis.

According to FEC records, five Republicans have filed candidacies. Former state Rep. Wayne Pettigrew of McAlester, the sixth Republican to join the fray, has yet to file with the FEC.

Corn said while potential candidates have been quiet, those who are considering a run “have been laying the groundwork for a successful race.”

Corn, who is spearheading the campaign to keep the 2nd District seat in the Democratic column, said there’s a good chance that will happen.

“National politics aside, we do things different in the 2nd District,” Corn said. “We’re tired of the politicians who wear their party as a brand.”

Corn said he expects the 2nd District will be a critical battleground where Republicans will spend millions of dollars to elect a GOP candidate.

“Our congressional seat is not for sale,” Corn said. “We have to make sure we send a Democrat to Washington who is going look out for our values.”

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogee

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