“I don’t see how he doesn’t have a chance” to win a future statewide office, Mr. Zezima said.
Noel Runyan, 31, a liberal-leaning high school social studies teacher, agreed. Mr. Pruitt has portrayed himself as a victim of liberal enemies, he said, and “a lot of the political culture in this state depends on that sense of martyrdom.”
While at the E.P.A., Mr. Pruitt justified flying first class at taxpayer expense by saying he needed to avoid confrontations with uncivil critics. In his resignation letter on Thursday, he wrote that “unrelenting attacks” on him and his family had “taken a sizable toll on all of us.”
Mr. Pruitt’s actions at the E.P.A. remain the subject of several federal investigations despite his resignation, and the outcome of those investigations could substantially change the political calculus.
But in the meantime, some important Republican leaders in Oklahoma have rallied to his side. “I think Oklahomans still love him, support him and trust him,” Pam Pollard, the state party chairwoman, told The Associated Press after his resignation. “We’ll give him the opportunity to tell his side of the story.”
Carl Curtis, 59, a retired teacher who was walking in Mr. Pruitt’s neighborhood on Saturday morning, said Mr. Pruitt would probably have a chance for political rebirth, if only because Republicans now seem to rally around their politicians regardless of ethical failings. “Look at Trump, what he’s gotten away with, and they’re sticking with him,” said Mr. Curtis, a Democrat.
Senator James M. Inhofe, a Republican who had long backed Mr. Pruitt, appeared to waver this year but later said the ethics allegations against Mr. Pruitt had no merit. Mr. Inhofe released a statement shortly after Mr. Pruitt resigned, saying he had performed “great work to reduce the nation’s regulatory burdens.”