It’s official. With neither candidate winning a majority in the last week’s primary, perennial candidate Jim Rogers, a leaf-blower conspiracy theorist, will face the Jesse Jackson-backed State Senator Constance Johnson in an August 26 primary runoff to decide the Democratic Party’s 2014 nominee for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma.
In the primary, which also included candidate Patrick Hayes, Rogers received 35.34 percent behind Johnson’s leading 43.84 percent. Hayes was eliminated from the race after finishing in third with 20.82 percent. The winner of the Rogers-Johnson runoff will face the Republican nominee, Congressman James Lankford to decide who will replace the retiring Republican Senator Tom Coburn.
Rogers, 79, was the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s 2010 U.S Senate nominee and candidate for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination. Among his many campaigns, Rogers ran for president in the 2008 election cycle during which he alleged that leaf blowers were used against him to sabotage his campaign.
In late 2007, Rogers sent the following letter to the Federal Election Commission concerning the incident:
I have encountered a problem which I need to make you aware of now.
On November 8, I went to the Midwest West City Post office [in] Midwest City, OK and returned from there after mailing my items to my own personal mail box on the grounds of the apartment complex where I live . . . There [at the apartment complex] were three men, two with leaf blowers working about thirty feet away as I came up the walkway to the Post office box that is mine. As I got my key and opened the box, I was sprayed with dust, grit, tiny rocks, leaves & debris. One of the men with a leaf blower came up on one side of me, and the other on the other side with his leaf blower operating. and sprayed me from both sides including my face, eyes, etc.
I could understand this being an accident if one person had been involved but to have allowed [this] with a supervisor present who was supposed to watch them, I find it unlikely this was an accident. A person running for office can get few votes if he is blind.
I contacted the Midwest City Department and they said as far as they could determine it was an accident, hence they do not plan to do anything about it, and I cannot find out the names of the people involved or the company they worked for. This is described in the copy of information and report sent to the Midwest Public Dept and to the Attorney General of Oklahoma. The latter has not replied to my letter yet.
I am enclosing copies of the photos of truck involved used by the three men and appeared to be their company truck, and I was told they worked for a contractor whose name they would not say to me. So if it was an accident why all the secrecy in the matter? However if I was attacked because of my political activity that is a completely other matter. I am of the opinion I need some protection from the FBI, the Secret Service, or other agency like the Marshall’s service of the US initially in this matter and for protection until I am better recognized and publicized as a candidate. . . .
Perhaps as a result of the attack, Rogers’s 2008 presidential campaign showing was less than stellar. He received only 0.94 percent of the vote in the Oklahoma Democratic primary, not qualifying for any convention delegates. However, his 2012 presidential campaign was more successful. He had a strong third place showing in the Oklahoma Democratic primary, receiving 13.79 percent and qualifying for three delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The delegates were not seated. It is not known whether leaf blowers were present at the convention.
There is no word yet on whether Rogers plans to focus his current campaign on the leaf blower issue.