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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Costello endorses Walker for President, urges SRLC support

(front of mailer -- click to view larger)

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello is out front early with his pick for president. Yesterday, in what I assume was a statewide mailing, Costello said "I stand with Scott Walker for President", and urged Oklahomans to attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend and "cast your vote for Gov. Scott Walker for President in the largest regional presidential straw poll of 2015".

(back of mailer -- click to view larger)

In the mailer, Costello talked about his trip to campaign for Walker in the 2012 labor union-led recall election. There are two photos of Costello and Walker, one during the 2012 recall and another from Costello's 2014 re-election campaign. The back of the mailer details Walker's bio and accomplishments.

Walker will join the following announced or potential presidential candidates at the SRLC (which runs from Thursday through Saturday): former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Mark Everson, Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, Senator Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Marco Rubio, and former Senator Rick Santorum.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My thoughts on Brogdon, TC Ryan, and the OKGOP

Controversy has recently been stirred up regarding OKGOP Chairman Randy Brogdon hiring T.C. Ryan, former Tulsa County GOP State Committeeman, as his top staffer. Word got out two weeks ago that Ryan had been involved in an altercation with a girlfriend in 2012, which resulted in him receiving a misdemeanor conviction for "domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor" and for "interference with an emergency telephone call".

Nothing usually happens by accident in politics. I suspect the real target is not TC Ryan, but rather Chairman Brogdon. Perhaps the recent election for state chair has something to do with it (full disclosure: I voted for Pam Pollard).

Once the information hit the news, political figures and activists (including some who qualify as "attention-seekers") piled on to add their name to the list of those calling for one (or more) of three things: 1) Ryan's demotion, 2) Ryan's firing, 3) Brogdon's resignation. Some merely clarified that they are against domestic violence (as if it needed to be stated). Some have never been interested in helping or working with the state party before.

I'll admit - I'm a little torn about the situation. I understand what some say about giving Ryan a second chance. As a Christian, my own sins have been forgiven, and I've been given new life. As God has forgiven me, I am to forgive others. From his public statement as well as testimony from people I know, Ryan seems to have learned from this unfortunate event. I also understand the other side that says in this political climate, it is harmful for the top party staffer to have recently been convicted of domestic violence.

This has been terrible PR for the state party, on top of the financial problems left over from the past chairman. The problem is, this won't simply "go away". Brogdon has tripped a little on handling this. First he demoted Ryan (or rather, gave him a new title with essentially the same duties); now he's aggressively, even angrily, defending him. The mixed signals haven't helped.

Later this week, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference is coming to Oklahoma City. Practically every major announced or potential Republican presidential candidate will be coming to town. The last several election cycles, one of the main talking points by the Democrats has been the [absurd and trumped-up] "Republican war on women". It is not good publicity for the host party to be in the news for a staffer with a fairly recent domestic assault conviction. Given the mainstream media's leftward bias, I wouldn't be surprised if this gets dragged into the national spotlight on the SRLC.

A lot of damage has already been done. At this point, there really aren't any "good options" left. For the good of the Oklahoma Republican Party and Chairman Brogdon, I think the best option remaining is for T.C. Ryan to step down on his own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NRA disappointed in Fallin veto of pro-gun bill

Despite public support and strong bipartisan votes in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed pro-gun Senate Bill 41 yesterday.  The Governor caved to pressure from the Oklahoma City Chamber, which disseminated misinformation based on a flawed legal analysis.  The NRA is extremely disappointed that this common sense legislation was put on the back burner in favor of drummed up fears by the Chamber.

SB 41 sought to clarify that public property (open spaces such as streets and parks) remains open to law-abiding Oklahomans with a carry permit even if that public land is currently being used for another purpose by a private entity renting the space for an event.  This legislation would have provided for a necessary fix to a loophole in Oklahoma’s state firearm preemption statute.  This loophole has been exploited by misguided municipalities, resulting in a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying a firearm on open areas of public land where they have a legal right to be.  Senate Bill 41 passed the House by an 88 to 4 vote and the Senate by a 39 to 7 vote.

Current abuses pose a significant problem for lawful carry permit holders by creating an ever-changing patchwork of laws throughout the state with regard to firearms prohibitions on public land within a particular locality.  This legislation focused on reaffirming the right of a peaceful law-abiding Oklahoman to exercise his or her basic right of self-defense where they are already legally allowed to be, no matter which private entity is leasing public land at the moment.  It did not seek to expand carry into public buildings or structures.

Please contact Senate and House leadership immediately and encourage an override of the Governor’s veto and their support for restoring the provisions in SB 41 this session.  Time is running out and session is drawing to a close, so your action is needed immediately!

Please also contact Governor Mary Fallin and voice your disappointment in her veto of a pro-gun, self-defense bill that would have made Oklahomans safer.  Contact information for Governor Mary Fallin is provided below:

Office of Governor Mary Fallin:
(405) 521-2342

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee double GOP's 2016 field

In the last 30-odd hours, the 2016 GOP presidential primary field has doubled. Joining fellow candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio are newly-official contenders Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee.

First to announce yesterday was Carly Fiorina. Fiorina is a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and was the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in California in 2010.

Later yesterday morning, Ben Carson held his announcement event in Detroit. Carson is a retired pediatric neurosurgeon who was well-known for his groundbreaking medical career.

This morning, Mike Huckabee joined the race. A former Baptist pastor, Huckabee served as Governor of Arkansas for ten years, and ran for President in 2008.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Socialist running for President as a Democrat

And no, I'm not talking about Hillary Clinton. I'm talking about her first official challenger in the Democratic presidential primary.

Meet Bernie Sanders, Vermont's Independent U.S. Senator who is a self-proclaimed socialist. Sanders has caucused with the Democrats since he arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1991 as Vermont's U.S. Representative. He was elected to the Senate in 2006.

He doesn't have a chance against the Clinton machine, but it will be interesting to watch nonetheless. At least Sanders is willing to say what he really is.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Coburn still being felt: NFL to drop tax-exempt status

Although he is no longer in the U.S. Senate, Tom Coburn's influence is still being felt. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo today that announced the league's office is dropping their tax-exempt status.

Several years ago, Dr. Coburn began to push for eliminating tax-exempt status for professional sports organizations. The status made it into editions of Coburn's annual Wastebook catalogue of wasteful government spending. Since Coburn's retirement, a growing number of members of Congress have taken the issue up.

Goodell called the tax-exempt status "a distraction", and said dropping it would not greatly affect operations at the NFL's central office.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brogdon takes over OKGOP amid financial issues

"I called Pam Pollard yesterday and demanded a recount!" 

That's what new OKGOP Chairman Randy Brogdon joked with Reid Mullins in an interview for the McCarville Report. Brogdon defeated Pollard in a runoff at the State Convention on April 11th, after incumbent chair Dave Weston came in third in the first ballot of voting.

Although the impression given during the chair race was that the party was doing well financially, Brogdon has taken over an organization in fiscal straits -- to the tune of approximately $50,000 in debt. Prominent Oklahoma City-based Republican fundraiser Trey Richardson has joined the effort to get the party back in black, along with financial contributions from Oklahoma's congressional delegation.

In his interview with Reid Mullins, Brogdon said that he has had to let the entire staff go, and operate temporarily with unpaid volunteers (he included himself in the "unpaid" category).

Blogger David Van Risseghem, of, has kicked off an 'OKGOP Minuteman' recruitment campaign aimed at getting more members of the $8.25-a-month donor program for the state party. Past chairman Matt Pinnell started the program with some success, but chairman Weston did not actively pursue it for most of his term.

If you would like to donate to the Oklahoma Republican Party, you can do so at this link, or you can sign up as an OKGOP Minuteman here.