J.J. Stitt.TGp001

J.J. Stitt, who is not related to the current governor, says Kevin’s success was a factor in his decision to run for statewide office, too. Tulsa World file

Gov. Kevin Stitt’s 2018 campaign inspired many Oklahomans, but it inspired one in a way that Stitt could not have expected.

J.J. Stitt, who is not related to the current governor, says Kevin’s success was a factor in his decision to run for statewide office, too.

“I told him he was an inspiration,” said J.J. Stitt. “He was enthusiastic about me running. But I guess I didn’t tell him what I was going to run for.”

J.J. Stitt, a 45-year-old farmer and gun shop owner from Kingfisher, is challenging the godfather of Oklahoma Republican politics, Jim Inhofe, in the 2020 GOP primary for U.S. Senate.

“I don’t have nothing bad to say about James Inhofe,” Stitt said by telephone as he drove from a campaign stop in Weatherford to one in Woodward last week. “We don’t necessarily have any differences. I just want a younger, more aggressive approach in Washington.”

Stitt said he is “kind of in the middle” on most things.

“I’m not a radical but I am firm,” he said.

Stitt said he would promote health insurance reform that would allow individuals greater choice — and he hopes more competition. He wants to build, if not a wall on the southern border, “something so that people can’t just enter the country at will.”

He’d also like to make it easier for people to enter the country legally.

“This is the greatest place on Earth,” Stitt said. “I can’t blame them for wanting to come here.”

As a gun owner and dealer, Stitt is big on gun rights. He’ll be in Tulsa for the Wanenmacher Arms Show on Nov. 9-10 as both a candidate and an exhibitor.

“But I’m not just about the Second Amendment,” he said.

If Stitt didn’t know how difficult taking on Inhofe — and in a primary, no less — would be, it was quickly made apparent to him.

“I tried to get professional help,” he said, referring to a campaign consultant. “We had a meeting in my gun shop, and they laughed in my face. But I said, ‘If my name’s not on the ballot, we don’t have a choice (of candidates).’ ”

Through the end of September, Stitt had raised $4,207.64 and spent $3,100 of his own money. He has about $2,500 in cash on hand.

Inhofe has more than $2 million.

“I know if he wants to he could squash me like a bug with ads,” Stitt said.


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Randy Krehbiel

918-581-8365

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@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @rkrehbiel

Randy has been with the Tulsa World since 1979. He is a native of Hinton, Okla., and graduate of Oklahoma State University. Krehbiel primarily covers government and politics. Phone: 918-581-8365

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