A former Republican state senator announced Tuesday he will file as an independent in his bid to unseat Gov. Kevin Stitt from office.
Dr. Ervin Yen said he no longer feels the Oklahoma GOP represents his values.
He also said he’s running to bring better health care policy to Oklahomans.
This is the second announcement in a couple of weeks of a longtime elected GOP member leaving the party for the gubernatorial race.
“You have to be against mask mandates, you have to be against vaccine mandates, and then at a national level, of course you hear the Republican party saying that Trump won the election, and especially the politicians are saying that. Now do the voters, the republican voters across the country really believe that? Surely not, I certainly don’t,” said Yen.
That’s the question — will voters follow their former GOP leaders and change their vote in 2022.
Political Analyst Scott Mitchell said it's too soon to tell.
“There is upheaval inside the Republican party. There is the Republican party -- the old standard wing of the party -- and those folks are not what you would call the standard Trump version of the party,” said Mitchell.
Just two weeks ago, Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister made a similar move in her announcement to run for governor as a Democrat — bucking her lifelong Republican affiliation.
Yen plans to run on a health care forward platform.
“I am all about health care, OK? I believe our current governor has failed miserably when it comes to health care. Especially COVID,” he said.
Yen said he watched the hospitals suffer during the pandemic and this is his chance to do something for Oklahoma.