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Oklahoma Governors 1975-1979: David Boren (1941—)

This Seminole native followed his father Lyle (OKLAHOMANS 2, Chapter 4), into public service. David Boren excelled at every level of endeavor. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University, his master’s in political science at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar classmate of future President Bill Clinton, and his law degree from OU.


While still in law school, Boren won election as a Democrat to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. During eight years there, as recalled by biographer Bob Burke, he ran a law practice in Seminole, served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard, and chaired the Oklahoma Baptist University Department of Social Sciences.


In 1974, he ran for governor at the age of 32. His “Boren Broom Brigade” signs denoting his intention to “sweep out the old guard” of state politics seemed omnipresent around the state that summer and fall. Boren defeated two Oklahoma political giants—incumbent governor David Hall and legislative and rodeo announcing legend Clem McSpadden—in the Democratic primary and runoff.


Several thousand broom-wielding supporters rallied at the state capitol the night before the general election. They signaled their support for Boren’s fresh, articulate campaign, and agreement with his condemnation of the often-corrupt, and incompetent “good ole boy” network that had long controlled state government. He won more votes in that election than any other gubernatorial candidate in state history.


Once in office, Boren boldly advanced his reform program. He spearheaded eliminating the loathsom