A small crowd gathered in CTX Coffee at 11 N. Water St. on Saturday morning as the rain pelted anything and anyone that dared to venture outside. The rainy weather wasn’t going to dampen the efforts of this crowd, however. Dressed in a gray shirts that spelled “Abolitionist Dan Fisher for Governor, 2018” on a backdrop of the easily-recognizable shape of the state Oklahoma, this team of friendly faces was heading out to knock on doors and shake hands, spreading the gospel of Dan Fisher.
Fisher is a Baptist minister in El Reno who served two terms in the Oklahoma House, and is running a campaign that sounds similar to what you’d expect from a dyed-in-the-wool Republican candidate, except for a couple of very stark contrasts: state sovereignty and abortion.
Benjamin, (pictured farthest to the right) helped explain the difference, using the familiarity most of us have with the term “abolitionist”—slavery.
“Back then, you had two groups: you had the anti-slavery party, which tried to regulate slavery, and the abolitionists, who wanted to end it entirely.”
He then related the analogy to the issue of abortion: “We don’t to regulate it, we want to stop it. Even when you’re passing these ‘pro-life’ laws, they don’t really benefit anyone except the abortion industry.”
When asked to clarify on that point, Benjamin explained that the various laws that Oklahoma has on the books about abortion—such as being forced to see an ultrasound, or no abortions past the 20-week date—are really just providing a checklist for facilities to continue performing abortions.
“These laws have not really had much impact on the number of abortions happening in Oklahoma,” he said. “We’re getting to a point where we have to step back and take a more critical look at this and ask, ‘are we really making a difference?'”
Fisher has a more lengthy explanation of his stance and plans for abortion in this video:
In conjunction with abortion, Fisher believes that the only way to properly do away with the issue in Oklahoma is for the Sooner State to assert it’s authority and stop allowing federal mandates to override it’s state sovereignty. In his campaign literature, he asks two primary questions:
“Do we side with the Founders, believing that governments derive their limited authority from the “consent of the governed,” or do we agree with establishment politicians that governments derive their unlimited power from the consent of the federal courts and bureaucrats?”
“Are we subjects of Washington D.C., or do we, the people, of Oklahoma, possess the right to govern ourselves?”
Fisher’s beliefs in state sovereignty is a hard line for the Governor hopeful, and he makes it well known. “The federal government has stripped Oklahomans of their dignity and right of self-governance,” he says. “Over a thousand miles away, bureaucrats even dictate how we should label our bathrooms!”
Fisher dictates that his first act as governor will be to call an emergency special session of Oklahoma Legislature to to criminalize abortion, and then immediately instruct law officials to close every abortion facility in Oklahoma. He says he’ll plainly ignore “all court orders attempting to thwart the will of the people,” and will call on President Trump to stand with Oklahoma in order to let them peacefully resolve the jurisdiction issue.
Fisher is one among several candidates hoping to win the seat of the governor of Oklahoma in November from Mary Fallin, who is wrapping up her final term in 2018. Additional candidates include current Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, Oklahoma State Auditor Gary Jones, and Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb. Candidate Gary Richardson visited Sapulpa in January.