Kevin Crow says while the task of winning both a Republican primary and the election for Sen. Tom Coburn's vacant seat over two established state officials will be difficult, he has confidence he can win.
Crow, an associate professor of history at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, said he will make the official announcement to enter the Senate race on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha during a Grady County Tea Party meeting. He is currently in the process of organizing a campaign team, saying, "I'm further along than you may think."
His decision to run was only revealed at the end of last week.
"I'm not delusional, but I intend to win," Crow said. He will also continue teaching at USAO, even through the fall semester depending on how long his Senate bid stretches.
Crow faces competition for Coburn's vacated seat from four other candidates, including U.S. Rep. James Lankford from congressional district 5 in the northeast of the state and former State House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
While the announcement will come during a Tea Party meeting, Crow stops short of unreservedly calling himself a Tea Party man, or at least in the way the organization is widely viewed. Its meetings did give him a start in gauging his political prowess.
"Attending Tea Party meetings gave me a chance to express my ideas and have them criticized," he said. "That's a venue that doesn't really exist anywhere else. Do I agree with everything? No, but it is a great example of citizenship. They will question you, grill you, and that's good. People are supposed to be accountable."
Accountability is something Crow says he would like to work on if he were to win the primary and the election to Coburn's seat for two years. He wishes to highlight what top public office holders earn financially after they are done serving.
"We need to watch the finances of political officials, but we also need to watch after they're out of office. From [President Jimmy] Carter on, you just watch how much they profit after they're out of office. That's not right. If I win this, you watch my finances. Check with my after five years, I think you'll find I'm not profit person."
Another issue he wishes to highlight is the availability of medicine in rural areas.
"In the last five years, I've had five different doctors," he said. "That's the state of rural medicine. Here, I doubt a terrorist is going to kill me; but, I am concerned about someone having to drive to an emergency room six hours away."
In the bigger picture, however, Crow said he hopes to simply be a facilitator between his constituents and Congress. He said Thursday's meeting will have Republicans, Democrats, and others that will support his efforts.
"I've never been interested in party politics," he said. "I am a conservative, but I would put workers before corporations. It's hard to make it right now. My interest is working families.
"I'm a person that likes to consider things thoroughly before I make a decision, and the Senate is a slower moving body. I think 'how is this decision going to impact people?'"