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State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister Becomes the Democrat She’s Always Been

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has announced that she is switching parties from Republican to Democrat in order to run for Oklahoma Governor in 2022, hoping to oust incumbent Governor Kevin Stitt in the November general election. First, she will have to get past former State Senator Connie Johnson in the Democratic primary.

Hofmeister had a difference of opinion with Governor Stitt about a new state law that prohibits local school boards from mandating face masks for students. She also expressed anger at Stitt in September when he announced a full audit of the State Department of Education for the first time ever after evidence was uncovered of misuse of funds in an audit of EPIC Charter Schools. Hofmeister called the audit an “attack on public education.” Her defensive response to the audit is political posturing to distract the public from the lack of fiscal accountability in her department. With her alleged felonious activity with regard to campaign finances, it is laughable that she should expect the public to believe the fiscal status of her department is pristine just based on her say so. 

“The Governor’s call for an audit is yet another attack on Oklahoma’s public education system. 
As the Governor should already know, the State Department of Education has undergone more than 20 financial, compliance and programmatic review audits by the state auditor’s office in the last 6-1/2 years. Additionally, the Governor’s hand-picked Secretary of Education approves every agency expenditure over $25,000 on a weekly basis. Every single spending request has been personally approved by Secretary Ryan Walters. 
At a time during which there are serious audits we have requested which potentially involve criminal activity, and while 541 school districts are struggling to find normalcy during a pandemic, the Governor’s attack on public education couldn’t be worse timing for students, families, teachers and taxpayers.”

Hofmeister has always been a Democrat in disguise, merely running as a Republican in order to get elected in a red state. Her track record shows her true colors and should serve her well in seeking the support of any skeptical Democrats choosing between her and Connie Johnson. It will be interesting to see if she touts her liberalism in the primary, giving up any pretense about having Republican ideology.

Some things that I do not expect her to campaign on that should be remembered by voters.

  • Her felony charges. In the 2014 election for State Superintendent, it certainly appears that she and her campaign consultants conspired with the Oklahoma Education Association and the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration to funnel money from a donor corporation and two education groups into a fund to finance a negative campaign against her GOP opponent in the primary. It is a felony to coordinate such activity in Oklahoma. Hofmeister pleaded not guilty and the charges were eventually dismissed, but Oklahoma County DA David Prater said the case remains under investigation and could be refiled. Oddly, the charges were never refiled and the case has vanished without any follow-up. 
  • Her support for LGBT students using whichever bathroom they choose. In 2019, a newsletter was sent by the Oklahoma State Department of Education containing a section called “LGBT-Inclusive Schools & Classroom.” This newsletter advised school districts to allow students to use the bathroom of their choice based on gender identity rather than biological gender. After a brouhaha about the newsletter, Hofmeister said the recommendations were “proposed by a non-governmental entity and not the OSDE.” That entity was the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is a  known leftist organization. Hofmeister declined to meet with an Oklahoma state lawmaker and citizens concerned about the newsletter.
  • Her support for mass quarantines of healthy students. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs outlines her support for quarantines of students for COVID-19 exposure, even though schools reported that the quarantines were unwarranted and only served to create unnecessary strain on schools.
  • Endorsement of her re-election by former Governor Brad Henry in 2018. Strangely, news of this endorsement was withheld during the Republican primary and the runoff that followed and was only announced before the general election. 
  • Her apparent displeasure with House Bill 1775, which bans critical race theory from being taught in public schools. “We didn’t ask for this law,” Hofmeister said with an air of helplessness.

It did not escape my notice that Hofmeister is term-limited out of being Superintendent. Like a lot of politicians in Oklahoma have done when term-limited out of office, they just run for a different office. Running for Governor just gives Hofmeister the perfect opportunity to become the Democrat she’s always been. In a state where liberals try to disguise themselves as Republicans in order to get elected, she managed to do exactly that and fooled the public for the last two statewide election cycles. 

One last thing that I doubt that she will use in her campaign material is a quote from former Governor Brad Henry. He said yesterday that “Joy is a lot like me, I think. She doesn’t fit nicely into any party.”

Oh, Brad, I disagree. She fits very nicely into the Democratic party. She always has.

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