TULSA, Okla. -- A professional bass fisherman has announced a bid for Congress, challenging the seat held by incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin.
Political novice Darrel Robertson, also a Republican, said the values he was taught as a youth are "being mocked in Washington." No Democrats have announced for the seat, but state Sen. Jerry Ellis, a newspaper publisher from Valliant who is term-limited in the state Legislature, is among those considering the race.
"I think I can make a difference of some kind, I really do," Robertson, 63, said Friday during a brief interview. "Our government is just terrible right now, if you want to know the truth. It's going to take a miracle to get out of debt."
"My message is simple: I want this country to do better; Oklahoma can do better," he said.
Like Mullin, Robertson criticized what he said was a dysfunctional federal government that was too big and took too much from its citizens. He warned that the Obama administration would continue to push a "radical liberal agenda" for the next two years.
Mullin, who owns a plumbing company, won in 2012 to fill the seat vacated by moderate Democrat Dan Boren. Mullin was part of a new breed of conservative politicians swept into office in the 2012 election and quickly proved it with a vote against allocating funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Kaleb Bennett, Mullin's campaign spokesman, said Friday that the congressman had "always been preparing" for a potential opponent to enter the race, and was quick to tie Robertson to what's wrong with Washington.
"Maybe Mr. Robertson agrees with the politicians in D.C., and believes Congress is a place for only professional politicians who have no idea what it's like to run a business and create jobs. ..." Bennett said. "(Mullin) is fighting to be a true citizen legislator."
Mullin's district stretches across 26 eastern Oklahoma counties, from the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in the northeast to the Red River border with Texas in the south.