Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leading Oklahoma Tea Party group leaves Gerhart's OCA

Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Oklahoma City-based Sooner Tea Party group and founder of the (formerly) state-wide Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, is a controversial figure, even within Tea Party circles. Now it appears that his own actions have come back to bite him -- again.

Gerhart formed the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance last year, to coordinate legislative lobbying efforts among the many Tea Party groups in the state of Oklahoma. At its height, over 35 groups made up the Alliance. That's when Gerhart started a media firestorm by suggesting that Oklahoma needed to form a new state militia, and mentioned that he had talked to state legislators about it. His statements and the ensuing negative attention prompted many groups in the OCA to leave, including organizations such as the Muskogee Tea Party, and the Oklahoma chapters of Americans for Prosperity and American Majority.

Bereft of the respectability lent to the Alliance by the large groups that had left, the OCA lost a lot of steam and publicity. However, Gerhart still remained in charge, and the coalition continued to remain active throughout the 2010 election cycle (and claims sole responsibility for freshman Republican State Rep. John Bennett's defeat of Glen Bud Smithson (D-Sallisaw) - which is an absurd claim, but aside from the topic at hand).

In recent months, Gerhart has attacked members of the Oklahoma Legislature, and the State House in particular. He sent out robocalls into districts of members who voted at the beginning of session against House Rules changes that the OCA supported, and has threatened to use his coalition to take out members that oppose the OCA's legislative agenda.

On Tuesday, Gerhart and the OCA was dealt yet another big blow when Tulsa metro-based OKforTea, perhaps Oklahoma's largest and most active Tea Party group, notified Gerhart of their immediate withdrawal from the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. Their email, signed by each of OKforTea's organizers, stated "Though OKforTEA has enjoyed being a member of the OCA and though we understand and appreciate its mission, we must withdraw from membership as of March 15, 2011. Please remove the name of our organization from the list of members and any printed materials or websites, immediately."

This action relegates the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance to a largely Central Oklahoma organization, and one increasingly alienated by the Tea Party movement here in Oklahoma.

As evidenced by the mass exodus from Gerhart's coalition, many Tea Party leaders and conservative activists across the state view Gerhart as a liability, a loose cannon, and a radical who is hurting the Tea Party's standing in Oklahoma.

As a Tea Party organizer and former OCA member myself, let me conclude with this note: as Gerhart and his shrinking group continue to implode and lash out, please remember that they are on the extreme fringe, and do not represent the Tea Party movement, here in Oklahoma or nationally.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for clearing up the fact that the Sooner Tea Party does not represent the Tea Party movemnet..I have been to rallies at the Capital along with other friends and had decided that I would no longer support this movement if this is what it has come to..Every Tea Party group should distance themselves from this mad man.
A Conservative Grandmother

Anonymous said...

I have not been a fan of Al Gerhart and his my way or the highway mentality for some time, but I support him in calling out these phony conservatives who vote against transparency and for treachery, and who are knuckling under to so-called Speaker Kris Steele and his handlers' attempts to veil the process and harrass any Republicans they view as not being in their camp.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this update, Jamison. I am pleased to hear it.


Bobbie McAuliffe
Poteau

grumred said...

This is a total crock. You need to get your facts straight. Gerhart was not the one who started the discussion of the militia ages ago, it was OKforTea's own JW Berry. Additionally, it wasn't about private militias to begin with, but to encourage the state to have one.
As to OKforTea leaving the OCA, they may have had their name associated with it, but they were never a presence to begin with. No big loss. They have their own RINO agenda and are welcome to follow it.
OCA, the umbrella group, was merely designed to be a unity organization for the statewide tea party presence. The activism that you see at the capitol has never been named OCA...give credit where it's due...SOONER TEA PARTY.
As the Liberals and the RINOs continue to tighten the noose around the neck of the freedom loving people of Oklahoma and the United States, just remember who it was that had the guts to fight for your freedom.

Anonymous said...

Great job, Jamison..as usual! The Sooner Tea Party has unfortunately given all of us common sense freedom loving tea partiers a black eye. What a waste of time and resorces this guy has been on the tea party's mission, which was to rally and expose what President Obama and his appointees are doing to our freedoms and prosperity. Let's continue to focus...and thank you for all you do for liberty in this state!

Stuart Jolly
State Director
Americans for Prosperity

Cris Kurtz said...

Jamison's point that Gerhart's taking credit for a GOP win in a year where most incumbent Democrats were ousted, is revealing and absurd. Anyone trying to operate outside of the law, or norms or acceptable behavior does no favors for the Tea Party, already branded extreme. The Tea Party has no purpose, unless we remain independant of the established parties and constantly tackle the serious issues of government corruption. Incidentally, I personally received bitter criticism because as the leader of The USA Patriots, (the really big Tea Party :o) in Tulsa) I chose not to associate with the OCA from the inception, due to the leadership of it.
Cris Kurtz
www.TheUSAPatriots.com
918-798-3460
P.O. Box 702692 Tulsa, 74170