10. Mary Fallin

16 CONSERVATIVE NAMES FOR 2016 AND BEYOND … WHO AREN’T CHRIS CHRISTIE OR JEB BUSH

Chris and Jeb

Imagine if Parks and Recreation character Leslie Knope were a Republican from Oklahoma: she’d be Mary Fallin. Fallin has worked in the Oklahoma Department of Tourism/Recreation, Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, and Oklahoma Office of Personnel Management, also worked in the private sector, and has held the office of Lieutenant Governor under two different governors, won election to US Congress, and became the first female governor ever elected to office in Oklahoma, all well before she turned 60, which she’ll do later this year.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin

The only troubling aspect of Fallin as a contender is that she’s not really that tested on the national stage, and she has some skeletons in the closet, including rumors of an alleged affair in 1998 that could be dredged up to haunt her.

Her biggest pre-gubernatorial accomplishment was writing a strong anti-stalking bill that became law. She’s held to generally conservative values, though that’s not very hard in Oklahoma, and so far has settled budget discrepancies via budget cuts, streamlining, and “modernizing government.”

Of course, even that raises concerns for some, since “modernizing government” is old Clinton Era-speak for expanding government. The biggest shock is how little we know of her after so many years in public life.

Unlikely as a top-of-the-ticket candidate, Fallin would make an intriguing pick as someone else’s running mate, depending on electoral demographics at the top of the ticket. She is, however, the first person who’d get knocked down a spot on my list if Scott Walker proves adept on the national stage.

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