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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Brogdon to resign? Issues call for new chair election

What's going on with the OKGOP?

Answer - nobody really knows.

This afternoon, an 'official call' went out from the State Party setting a State Committee meeting on September 12th that stated "[t]he purpose of this State Committee Meeting is to elect a new State Chairman."

According to additional news reports, Vice-Chair Estela Hernandez said that Brogdon called her today to inform her of his plan to resign. Hernandez told the AP that she intends to run for the post.

Pam Pollard, former OKGOP Vice Chair and OFRW president, points out that according to the State Party Rules, a normal state committee meeting only requires 10 days notice, but for a special meeting to replace a state chair (due to death, resignation, etc) requires 30 days notice. I think we can expect a revised call to be issued.

Brogdon's initial call placed the meeting in Tulsa. As a former member of the State Committee, I would recommend that this special meeting be held in Oklahoma City, as it is more centrally located and has traditionally had better attendance than Tulsa or elsewhere.

No word on exactly why Brogdon plans to resign/has resigned. Candidate filing for his old senate district's special election (following Sen. Brinkley's resignation) closed this evening at 5:00pm. The state election board does not show Brogdon on the list of candidates who filed.

Wagoner County Commissioner switches to GOP

Wagoner County Commissioner Chris Edwards has switched his voter registration to Republican, making term-limited State Representative Wade Rousellot the lone elected Democrat in Wagoner County.


In keeping with his personal values and convictions, District Two Wagoner County Commissioner, Chris Edwards has changed his voter registration to the Republican Party.  When asked about the reason for the switch, Edwards explains that based on changes made to the Democratic Party platform during the last national convention, he feels the party platform no longer reflects his personal values.

Being a devout Christian, even serving as a deacon in his church, Edwards has always been solidly pro-life and says that he has always supported limited government and lower taxes.  Being a veteran himself, he is also a strong advocate for our military.  In fact, Edwards’ original voter registration was for the Republican Party.  “I made the switch to be a Democrat at the request of a commissioner I worked for here and I just never switched back.  At that time, you almost had to be a Democrat to vote in Wagoner County”.

He goes on to say that, even so, party affiliation has never been an issue to him. “I have always wanted to just do the best job I can do as an elected servant of the county.  I have tried to leave the politics out of it and make the best decisions I can make based on my convictions” and he says he believes the citizens agree he has done just that.

However, it is those convictions that have now led him to make the decision to change registration. He said, “I have always been at odds with some of the things in the (Democratic) party platform, but I really have a hard time reconciling some of the things they are supporting now, especially their views on the family, with my Christian faith.”  He said he began considering the move when the crowd booed God at the last Democratic National Convention.

Edwards says he believes that the majority of the people in Wagoner County are much more conservative than are some of the more far-left in the Democratic Party. “I think when they look at the two parties and what they believe side by side, they will see the same thing I did.  My values and beliefs really are more in line with the Republicans.  If that’s the case, I hope they will join me and make the move too.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

County Party Finances: net growth for 2015

Closing out this update to my County Party Finances series, today we're examining net changes for 2015.

Statewide, Republican county parties netted a gain of $44,437.26. Ten counties had positive gains ($47,836.98), six reported no money raised or spent, and nine show losses (-$3,399.72). In 2013, the GOP had a net gain of just over $24,000.

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Top five counties: Tulsa ($22,943.70), Oklahoma ($14,237.86), Muskogee ($8,174.03), Grady ($620.05), and Osage ($502.45).

Bottom five counties: Creek (-$220.37), Stephens (-$356.54), Wagoner (-$435.72), Carter (-$739.07), and Washington (-$1,273.52).

Together, Tulsa, Oklahoma and Muskogee counties have a net gain of $45,355.59 -- without that, the statewide total would be in the red about nine hundred dollars.

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Statewide, Democratic county parties showed a net loss of $447.11. Eleven counties had a gain ($8,158.92), four raised and spent nothing, and eight show losses (-$8,606.03). In 2013, the Democrats had a net loss of just over $10,000.

Top five counties: Creek ($4,482.24), Comanche ($1,320.17), Lincoln ($407.00), Pottawatomie ($353.50), and Muskogee ($338.06).

Bottom five counties: Canadian and Kingfisher (-$250), Payne (-$490.27), Cleveland (-$988.05), Tulsa (-$2,084.43), and Oklahoma (-$4,395.06).

Note: as mentioned previously, the figures for Garvin County on the Democratic side are for the 1st Quarter only - the Ethics Commission site shows them as being "past due".

Monday, August 24, 2015

County Party Finances: raised and spent

The other day, I posted an update to my County Party Finances series, in which we looked at cash-on-hand totals for local party organizations. Today, we're looking at what those county parties have raised and spent in 2015.

The 25 "current" Republican counties have raised a grand total of $96,408.76. That's a $16,000 increase from 2013, although more counties now file with the Ethics Commission.

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The top five for the GOP are Tulsa ($32,608.99), Oklahoma ($19,444), Muskogee ($17,100), Stephens ($11,481.72), and Carter ($3,818). Eight counties raised nothing, while Washington County "raised" 35¢ in interest. Ten counties brought in more than $1,000. Tulsa, Oklahoma and Muskogee counties raised 72% of the grand total.

Now for the Democratic side. Their 23 "current" counties raised a grand total of $41,651.15, a significant drop from their $68,732 in 2013.

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The Democrats top five counties are Tulsa ($9,578.23), Cleveland ($9,186.22), Payne ($8,042), Creek ($5,229.58), and Comanche ($3,835.19). Oklahoma County was the only other one to raise more than $1,000 (they brought in $1,040). Five counties raised nothing, and Washington County took in only $4 (add the Washington County GOP's 35¢ and you've either got a stingy county or lackadaisical local parties). The top three counties raised 64.5% of the statewide total. Garvin County's figure is 1st Quarter only.

Now let's look at the spending side of things.

On the Republican side, the statewide total of spending was $51,971.50 (in 2013 it was about $56,500). 
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Top five counties: Stephens ($11,838.26), Tulsa ($9,665.29), Muskogee ($8,925.97), Oklahoma ($5,206.14), and Carter ($4,557.07). Nine counties spent nothing. The top three counties spent about 58.5% of the grand total.

On the Democratic side, their statewide total was $42,098.26 (in 2013 it was about $79,000)
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Top five counties: Tulsa ($11,662.66), Cleveland ($10,174.27), Payne ($8,532.27), Oklahoma ($5,435.06), and Comanche ($2,515.02). Seven counties spent nothing. Tulsa and Cleveland counties spend about 52% of the grand total.

On Wednesday, we'll look at the net change totals for 2015.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Labor Commissioner Mark Costello stabbed to death

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello was stabbed to death this evening in Oklahoma City. News reports say that Costello was meeting with his son at Braum's on North May Avenue in an attempted reconciliation effort, when the son attacked Costello with a knife.

Costello was first elected in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014 by a wide margin. He was dedicated to his work as Labor Commissioner. A true friend to the Republican Party grassroots, he traveled the state extensively, attending GOP events and helping local candidates. Below is a photo of me and my wife with Costello, at the Muskogee County GOP's Lincoln-Reagan Dinner in 2014.

Costello had a knack for the personal -- he could always remember minute details about people he came in contact with. He sent us a handwritten card when he found out my wife was expecting, and a real Republican gift (an elephant pacifier) for Carmen after she was born.

Mark Costello will certainly be sorely missed.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

County Party Finances: Cash-on-hand

In 2013, I did a series on County Party Finances, illustrating the financial health of local party organizations. Over the next few days, we'll update that series with the 2015 figures.

On the Republican side, 25 county parties are up-to-date (2nd quarter) in their campaign finance filings. That's up from 17 counties in 2013. On the Democratic side, 22 counties are up-to-date, and 1 county (Garvin) filed a 1st quarter report. That's also up from 17 counties in 2013.

First up, cash-on-hand totals.

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The top five counties on the GOP side are Tulsa ($25,903.34), Comanche ($20,912.88), Stephens ($20,179.41), Oklahoma ($18,282.18), and my home county Muskogee ($16,675.86). The lowest county is Carter, with $8.92 on hand.

Last time we looked at this topic, Tulsa County had not filed an ethics report since 2007. They recently began filing reports (new leadership in charge), and jumped to the top of the pack in fundraising. Comanche, Stephens and Muskogee counties have consistently been in the top five (or less) for years.

All told, the 25 GOP county parties have just over $144,000 in the bank.

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The top five counties on the Democratic side are Cleveland ($11,232.86), Tulsa  ($10,084.46), Comanche ($7,948.06), Creek ($4,773.98), and Payne ($4,358.33). The lowest county is Kingfisher, with $56.76 on hand.

All told, the 23 Democrat county parties have just over $55,000 in the bank, almost $75,000 less than their Republican counterparts.

Next time, we'll look at the totals for receipts and expenditures.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Iran to Inspect (Its Own) Nuclear Site


No, that's not a headline from The Onion. It's an Associated Press exclusive story.
Vienna (AP) -- Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate a site it has been accused of using to develop nuclear arms, operating under a secret agreement with the U.N. agency that normally carries out such work, according to a document seen by The Associated Press. [...]

The newly disclosed side agreement, for an investigation of the Parchin nuclear site by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, is linked to persistent allegations that Iran has worked on atomic weapons. That investigation is part of the overarching nuclear-limits deal. [...] 
The Parchin agreement was worked out between the IAEA and Iran. The United States and the five other world powers were not party to it but were briefed by the IAEA and endorsed it as part of the larger package. [...]

The agreement in question diverges from normal procedures by allowing Tehran to employ its own experts and equipment in the search for evidence of activities it has consistently denied - trying to develop nuclear weapons.
There are some times when something is so absurd that you can't come up with words accurate enough to describe the absurdity.

This is one of those times.