When the REALTOR® Champion running to maintain her seat on the Oklahoma County Commission faced a primary run-off, it looked like an up-hill battle: though Carrie Blumert had the advantage as incumbent, her challenger was a former state senator and statewide candidate who had held a slim lead in the primary; when neither won a majority of votes, the challenger was favored to prevail in the run-off election. Recognizing Blumert’s commitment to housing issues, the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of REALTORS® (OKCMAR) launched an independent expenditures campaign to help her continue her work as a County Commissioner. She won the run-off by just 121 votes – and her campaign believes that the boost from the REALTORS® made all the difference.
As OKCMAR Government Affairs Director Gary Jones explains, because the district in question is largely Democratic, it was practically a given that the candidate from that party would be the victor in the general election, and the primary run-off would determine who that would be. “Our Government Affairs Committee felt the need to support the candidate whose primary objective was housing, because, of course, that aligns with our REALTOR® values. Our goal is housing for all, wherever you are on the continuum, whether you’re currently homeless, or a first-time buyer, or a REALTOR®, or a dream-home owner concerned about maintaining value. Carrie Blumert’s passion for housing issues and demonstrated commitment to securing REALTOR® Party funding for housing advocacy made her our clear choice; we felt it was important to have her voice in the arena.”
The independent expenditure campaign involved promoting the candidate through targeted mailings, phone calls, and social media, as well as a get-out-the-vote effort. Due to the laws governing independent expenditure campaigns, the REALTORS® could not coordinate or even communicate with the candidate or her campaign about their support, but the impact was clear. Just as the primary had been, the August run-off was a real nail-biter, reports Jones: “Carrie Blumert won by just 121 votes, and according to her team, our campaign was what helped her across the finish line. This is just another example of how our RPAC dollars can make a difference.” As expected, Blumert went on to win handily in the November election.
OKCMAR has seen a number of successes in the past year as it has worked to amp-up its advocacy program. In the same election as the primary run-off, voters approved a bond initiative co-sponsored by Carrie Blumert that will replace the county jail and make significant improvements in its medical facilities and mental health programs; OKCMAR had supported the effort with an Issues Mobilization campaign with funding from the REALTOR® Party. “We’re experiencing a real cycle of achievement,” notes Jones, “As we’ve strengthened the way we tout our advocacy, and we’ve seen a corresponding increase in the numbers of members investing in RPAC, which in turn helps us to support our REALTOR® values. We’re seeing the quality of life in Oklahoma City rise right along with that RPAC investment.”
To learn more about how the REALTORS® of metropolitan Oklahoma City are using REALTOR® Party resources to elect REALTOR® champions who prioritize housing and other issues valued by the community, contact Government Affairs Director Gary Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org or 405.641.1921.