Oklahoma City, OK – In what promises to be a key pickup for Senate Republicans in the “Little Dixie” region of the state, long known for entrenched Democrats, Howard Houchen (R-Hugo) is gaining notice early in the race by picking up the high profile endorsement of Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello.
”When I ran for Labor Commissioner in 2010, I campaigned on my commitment to bring sound business practices and constitutional principles to State Government. Howard Houchen shares these values and will be an invaluable asset to southeastern Oklahoma. He is unabashed in his love for his home region, and unashamed to stand strong for what is right for Oklahoma in general and right for SE Oklahoma in particular. I am proud to offer my endorsement of Howard Houchen as the right choice for State Senate, District 5,” Labor Commissioner Mark Costello stated.
Houchen will be facing Jerry Ellis (D-Valliant) on the November general election ballot. This race also has an unusual twist: Democrat incumbent Ellis, due to term limits, is only eligible to serve two years of the upcoming four year term. He will be forced to vacate the seat midway through the term if he is re-elected.
Houchen commented, “Commissioner Costello has a proven record of increasing government efficiency and accountability while controlling, and even decreasing, the costs to the hardworking taxpayers of Oklahoma. I share that vision and appreciate his leadership. I look forward to ensuring that the interests of the good folks in SE Oklahoma are heard loud and clear in Oklahoma City as we all work to achieve a more economically free and prosperous tomorrow.”
Houchen is a graduate of University of Oklahoma with a degree in Political Science, and boasts an MA in National Security Studies from the American Military University. With extensive international and small business expertise, he is extensively published in multiple conservative publications. He proudly raises his two sons alongside his wife Jeannie in the S.E. Oklahoma community of Hugo. He and his family are avid hunters and sportsmen, treasuring the bountiful natural resources that are plentiful in our beautiful state and rural communities.
10 years ago this morning, a barge traveling up the Arkansas River struck a bridge support on I-40, causing a 580-foot section of the span to collapse into the river, and plunging about 10 vehicles into the water. 14 people were killed in the accident.
I distinctly remember the event, and the aftermath. Before heading to church that morning, my parents had the news on, and I remember seeing the coverage. Around that time, the kids at the church we attended had a sort of news and comics "club" (weekly exchange of hand-written articles, trivia, or cartoons), and I wrote the following story, complete with a drawing of the scene.
(I suppose one could call this my first "blog" post...)
In the hours after the bridge was hit, rumors flew that the detour bridge upstream was also struck by a barge. That was not the case, but following the I-40 event, work was done along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigational System to strengthen and guard bridge supports from such an accident happening again.
I can recall driving down to Webbers Falls while the bridge was out, and seeing the temporary memorial there in town. The bridge was rebuilt in two months, a record for a project of that scope.
Just yesterday, I drove through Webbers Falls, and was thinking about the bridge disaster. It still doesn't seem like it's been ten years since it happened.
Although I was not affected by the event, now that I think about it, I do have a habit of checking the river when I drive over a bridge. Strange, how things can impact your behavior, even when you were far removed from the occurrence in the first place.
Faught Launches First District Wide Television Ad “When I go to Washington”
Muskogee, OK – The George Faught for Congress campaign launched their first television ad in the race for Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. This is the second week in a row the candidate has made a major media buy, last week Faught started running district wide radio ads.
Titled “When I go to Washington”, the ad features former Arkansas governor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mike Huckabee endorsing George Faught for Congress. During the TV spot, Huckabee refers to Faught as a man of deep faith who is 100% pro-life and will protect conservative values and restore fiscal discipline in Washington.
In The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan To Stop Washington From Bankrupting America, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) explains how Washington's career politicians, staffers, and lobbyists have set the nation up for fiscal failure. Pulling few punches, Coburn targets sacred cows of each party and explains that rather than being in gridlock (as the media claims is the case), Congress has spent the last several decades (and especially the last 15 years) working to expand influence and re-election capabilities regardless of party.
Opening with a story about how America's rising debt could cause first a financial, and then a military crisis by 2020, Coburn reminds readers that this country is only as powerful as its finances will allow it to be. In this fictional-but-likely future, foreign investors decide in 2014 that America is no longer a viable financial investment. Over a span of days, this new consensus works its way into the value of the dollar, sinking it by 50% and increasing inflation. Riots become widespread, the National Guard is deployed, and the G-20 meets to tell the U.S. that tax rates will double, retirement ages will leap precipitously, and means-testing will be the order of the day on benefits. Finally, in 2019 -- two years after employment finally drops from 24% -- China invades Taiwan and informs the U.S. that if we stop the invasion, the U.S. will lose both financially (as China dumps our debt) and militarily (as both nations perhaps engage in a nuclear exchange).
Unlike other authors, Coburn takes on the debt from a series of critical angles, not just partisan ones. This is done in a way that breaks through the fog of D.C.-speak and explains in plain terms the corruption all too present in Washington. The impacts of the debt on the unemployment rate, national security, retirement, social welfare, personal freedom, tax rates, energy reform, and morality each have portions of chapters (in some cases, whole chapters) dedicated to them. Additionally, Coburn aims to show just how much smaller government could be if we just eliminated fraud/waste/abuse/duplicity from the federal government...as much as one-third, or over $1 trillion per year (nearly $3,900 for every American every year). If nothing else, the disgust readers should have for their elected politicians is a victory in and of itself, and it should lead to a successive series of efforts by voters to term-limit members of Congress.
The most important reforms Coburn addresses are those related to duplication/oversight, military spending, taxes, and entitlements. With an envious lack of ego, Coburn looks at the problem from the perspective of an outsider involved in the process rather than as an elitist insider who knows all the answers. Does the senator have answers? Yes. Does he think his are the only ones? Absolutely not. While his own oversight reports and Back in Black solutions are regularly mentioned both in chapters and in an addendum, Coburn praises Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), among others, for truly working to find a way to defuse our debt bomb.
The inside baseball Coburn exposes should embarrass both members and their constituents. Earmarks, personal discussions, and careerism are all brought to the fore, but nothing is more "inside baseball" than the debate that took place leading up to the debt ceiling compromise last August. The utter dysfunction of Congress is laid bare in Coburn's descriptions of what happened. Meeting after meeting and discussion after discussion led to a deal that not only didn't cut spending, but actually grew spending by $2 trillion over ten years...and still left our nation's credit rating downgraded.
In the last week, 2nd Congressional District candidate George Faught picked up two more major endorsements, adding to his already extensive list of supporters.
David Barton Endorses George Faught for Congress
Muskogee, OK – David Barton, historian and founder of Wallbuilders, today endorsed State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee) in his bid for Congress in Oklahoma’s 2nd District.
“Our nation stands at a critical crossroads, and it is vital that we put proven conservatives in Congress who will respect and follow the Constitution. George Faught is a man of character and integrity, and will fight to protect the Judeo-Christian values that our nation was founded upon,” Barton said. “I strongly urge voters to support George Faught in Oklahoma’s 2nd District Republican primary.”
“I am honored to have the endorsement of David Barton. I have greatly admired his invaluable work over the years,” Faught said. “From attending Wallbuilders conferences, to utilizing his material in the homeschooling of my children, David’s wealth of information has had an impact on how I understand America’s tremendous heritage and how I approach my duties as a legislator. I am grateful for his support as I join with like-minded conservatives across the country in the common effort to get our nation back on track.”
Oklahoma Second Amendment Association Endorses Faught
Muskogee, OK – Today, State Rep. George Faught was awarded another statewide endorsement. The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) has announced their support of Mr. Faught in his 2nd Congressional District race for Congress. This endorsement comes in a highly contested field of Republicans and Faught expressed he is proud to have the backing of such a great organization.
Faught said, “OK2A is constantly involved in alerting citizens of our great state about issues and bills that can affect our Constitutionally held Second Amendment rights. Oklahoma is a fantastic state to partake of the positive aspects of gun ownership; hunting, competitive shooting, and in some cases personal protection. I am glad OK2A has decided to take a stand with who they believe will best represent them in Washington. I am honored that pick was me.”
Faught continued, “I attended their rally at the capitol this spring and it was great to see so many concerned citizens lobbying on behalf of gun owners across the state. People from the 2nd district agree, we need government out of our homes and out of our businesses.”
Oklahoma Second Amendment Association founder and director, Tim Gillespie, mentioned there was no question on which candidate they would pick to support.
“In the past Rep. Faught on the state level has been very supportive of protecting the rights of citizens to bear arms. As a life long gun owner and proponent of Oklahoma gun rights we are confident when he is representing the 2nd District and Oklahoma in Washington, D.C. he will continue to protect the freedoms of Americans and stand up for us. In 2011 we gave George the ‘Patriot of the 2nd Amendment’ award and we hope this endorsement for his congressional race will make people aware that he is the best candidate to protect our Oklahoma values and beliefs.”
Following Super Tuesday, The Oklahoma Democratic Party notified Democrat Presidential candidate Randall Terry, who campaigned as a pro life, pro-Keystone candidate, that he would not be allocated delegates to the party's national convention because his campaign failed to complete the proper paperwork and---much more revealing---that the national party (DNC) said he was not a "bona fide Democrat."
Barack Obama lost 15 counties in Oklahoma and 43% of registered Democrats voted for someone other than the incumbent Democrat president. With that, Terry qualified for four national convention delegates.
However, DNC rules define a "qualified candidate" as a "bona fide Democrat" who "affirmatively demonstrates that he or she is faithful to the interests, welfare and success of the Democratic Party."
When asked about Terry’s candidacy, ODP Chairman Collins said he thought Terry was simply a Republican who was trying to embarrass Obama. “He’s a Republican,” Collins said.
"Collins is right," said Chairman Pinnell, "if you are pro-life, believe in religious freedom, and support energy policies that promote projects like the Keystone Pipeline then I guess you aren't a bona fide Democrat but instead a bona fide Republican," said Chairman Pinnell.
The following is a guest post from conservative activist David Tackett of Broken Arrow, giving what I consider to be the most fair and accurate assessment regarding the controversy from Saturday's Oklahoma Republican State Convention.
You know, conventional wisdom says I need to keep my mouth shut. I'm a candidate for State House and I don't need to upset anyone inside the party lest they won't help me.
But I just can't be quiet. And let me summarize it by saying this... Ron Paul people, you were right in principle, but wrong in execution.
First, let me try and say before the RPers completely ignore the rest of my diatribe... Remember, I was the one who stood with you at the 1st Congressional convention, not because I'm a RP supporter, but because I believe in the rule of law.
So let me start off with the 1st complaint... Credentials...
I was one of the volunteers who helped check in people. So I can answer exactly what the problem was.... new software, delegates who pre-registered incorrectly (we had several who registered as guests or typed their name differently than what was provided by their County Chair), and volunteers who entered in data wrong during the check-in (entering people as guests instead of delegates).
It was, frankly, insulting to hear people from the RP clan suggest fraud was committed by the credential volunteers. (I.e. badges weren't secured, etc.) I know each and every single one of the volunteers who helped with the process and not one has EVER done anything unethical.
Could the badges been designed where they couldn't be easily forged? Sure. But let me belabor this major point. ALL of the populous counties (Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cleveland) and the other 20 or so counties that had off numbers, verified their delegates registered against the master delegate list. And the two counties where the fraud could have been perpetuated the easiest because of their sheer size, Tulsa and Oklahoma, had each delegate verify, in person in the main hall, their status.
And don't forget the sheer size of this convention. This is by far a record-breaker in attendance. So were there problems? heck, yes? Was there fraud? No. Was their a conspiracy by the "establishment" to stack the delegates? No. In fact, I will argue that the delegates in question was about an even split between the 2 factions.
Now this is a point that frankly is the main issue. Did the chair wrongly decide that the standing vote was OK for the slate vote? Absolutely yes. But the RPers had a recourse, and that was to appeal the decision of the chair. They did and they lost by a vote of the delegates. At that point, the body in essence had rewritten the rule. In roberts rules, you have no recourse from this issue. You have a recourse in the RNC rules, and the chair advised of that process.
And let me step back for a moment here. Just because you can call a point of order, doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. It's called dilatory motions, when the only issue is to call motions just to impede the process. And I would wager $1000 that if the RPers didn't try to stall the process with all of the points of order, we would have had time for a secret ballot... or even more important, if there had not been the hundred point of orders before the egregious error NOT to have the slate voted on I'm sure the delegates would have been on your side.
And aside from the dilatory motions, one thing I have learned in my short tenure in convention politics - It don't matter how right you are... if you keep pressing a point, the majority of people will shut you down. If you think I'm just spouting off without any experience, then you weren't at the 2011 state convention.
Now let's hit another issue... It was clear from the first test vote that the voting came down 60/40 (about a 500 delegate difference) each and every vote... be it voice vote (hey, let me give the RP people credit for having some MASSIVE lungs!), standing vote, or secret ballot.
It wasn't close, the RP faction was in the minority. And so whether it was standing vote or ballot, the state committee's slate would have been approved. But, I know why all these motions and point of orders were happening... because I was told by several of the RP delegates that this was their plan... to drag out the process until everyone else left then they could redo the vote and get their slate in.
I'm sorry, but I get red faced in anger when I keep thinking about that above statement. That is NOT the way to win the hearts and minds of those conservatives who aren't yet with you yet. And the only way Ron Paul, Rand Paul, or any libertarian leaning Republican is going to win the nomination in the future is by getting more conservatives to join with you. You may have had 40% of the delegates, but you only had 9.6% of the popular vote in Oklahoma. And in Oklahoma it's the popular vote that matters so that is what you all need to be focusing on.
Oh and on that point, you will lose me and thousands of Oklahoman Republicans who sympathize with your movement if pledged RP delegates try to vote for someone else besides the candidate they were assigned to on the 1st ballot. It's not about what's legal (jurisdiction, etc.) it's about what's the right thing to do.
The last point - Adjournment and the Rump convention
It stated on the agenda, we had to be out by 5pm. Clear as day. No, the walls didn't go up because Matt told the facilities people to, the Embassy Suites people did it on their own. How do I know? They did it to us in the credentials room, they literally unplugged our computers in order to prep one side for another rental. (That explains for about 30 minutes of the delay in the credentials report, btw!)
I know there was other business to attend to, but if we have to leave, we have to leave. The party rules clearly gives the option for the state committee to convene and consider any issues that the convention couldn't address.
So then the RP crowd did what they did at the 1st CD, they held an rump convention, not an extension of the current convention. That convention adjourned. You can't appeal the decision of the chair to adjourn. When the gavel falls for adjournment, it's done.
And I was at a place in the hall to see both sides, (you could still see both sides from the stage as well at that point) and yes, it was the same 60/40 split. But the Ron Paul people screamed and hollered and made a mockery by holding a parking lot rump convention.
Yes, I said it... A mockery. Even if, and I say a MAJOR if... I accept that the parking lot convention was an extension of the first convention, you didn't have a quorum... not even close... Remember those precious rules that you said were being violated by the convention chair? Nothing you did mattered unless you had a quorum of the delegates present at the signed credentials report. Even with the first reported number, that would mean you had to have over 600 in your "parking lot" convention. I think the number you claimed was under 400.
So what does it look like from the outside? If the establishment breaks the rules, it's a travesty, but if the RP faction breaks the rules, it's OK.
Please hear me what I am trying to say. Thuggery can only get you so far. But the RP people MUST change the way they approach these conventions if you TRULY want people to change their minds and support your cause.
I will continue to come to the defense of anyone who is being wronged during a GOP event that I am at. But in order to succeed in the future, the tactics of the RPers must be revamped.
I say this last point. One way to earn the respect of the rest of the delegation, and frankly to increase your influence, is to keep being a part of the party apparatus throughout the year, every year. This is what the Christian Coalition did in the 90's throughout the country. And by doing this, the RPers (And yes, I know ALOT of RP supporters are already actively working in the party) will not be seen as an outside faction, but an important wing of GOP working to advance their cause in the party.
David Tackett is a conservative activist from Broken Arrow, and is the Republican nominee for State House District 12 against Rep. Wade Rousselot (D-Wagoner). His campaign website is DavidTackett.com.
The Oklahoma Republican State Convention commences Saturday morning at 9:00am in Norman, and is sure to be a crowded, eventful affair. I'll be in attendance - if you want to say 'hello', give me a shout on Twitter at @JamisonFaught and I'll try to connect.
Speaking of, if you are on Twitter, the official hashtag for the convention will be #OKGOP, so post your convention-related tweets to that hashtag.
The delegates at the 2012 Oklahoma Republican State Convention tomorrow will be picking one of two men to serve as National Committeeman for Oklahoma, replacing retiring NCM James Dunn. The National Committeeman serves as one of three representatives for each state and territory on the Republican National Committee; the state Chairman and National Committeewoman are the other two members.
The two candidates are Richard Engle and Steve Fair. I know and respect both men, and they have both been very active and involved in their respective political circles. They are to be commended for their involvement, drive to advance conservatism, and willingness to offer their services on behalf of the state party for this office.
I am honored to endorse my friend, Steve Fair.
Steve currently serves as the 4th Congressional District Chairman and as Stephens County Chairman, and has an extensive background as a conservative party activist. He has been tremendously successful in building the party at the grassroots level in his area of the state, and has been helpful in developing and implementing strategies for other counties to use to grow their organization. He is also a very good writer, authoring weekly columns in numerous newspapers, and maintains a well-written blog.
There can be no doubt as to Steve's conservative credentials. His views on the issues place him with the most conservative of conservatives, and he is unafraid to espouse those views, no matter the controversy that may accompany it. He is a Christian first, a conservative second, and a Republican third, and that is as it should be.
Steve posted a summary of his campaign goals in a recent post on his blog: "The real issue is what will Steve Fair do if elected? First, I will be a conservative voice on the RNC. Second, I will work to build our county GOP organizations. Third, I will help educate the public on issues, and fourth, I will make building the foundation fun. Those that know me know I don't take myself very seriously, but I take the cause very seriously."
I could go on, but suffice it to say, for this position, I believe that Steve can be the most effective, productive and uniting. He is very serious and dedicated about growing the party and advancing conservatism, but does so in a way that is entertaining and fun. There is never a dull moment around Steve!
I encourage delegates to the State Convention to join me in supporting Steve Fair for National Committeeman.
(Fellow blogger Michael Bates has a great post endorsing Steve Fair - read it here)
State Auditor Gary Jones Endorses Faught for Congress
Muskogee, OK – State Rep. George Faught announced another endorsement today in his race for Congress in Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. Current State Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones has been added to the list of state and national individuals who have openly come out in support of Faught’s campaign.
Jones, a former longtime Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman, hopes his endorsement of George Faught, along with endorsements from Gov. Mike Huckabee, Phyllis Schlafly and others, will help propel Faught to victory in the June 26th primary.
“As a proud Oklahoma Republican, I am honored to endorse George Faught for Congress. George is the trusted and proven conservative in the 2nd District race. He has personally invested in growing the Republican Party throughout District 2, working at the grassroots level. When George goes to Washington he'll continue to fight for our country the way he's fought for Oklahoma at the State Capitol,” said Jones. “George has the backbone to stand and proudly represent Oklahoma values in Congress. He is truly a principled conservative. I urge Oklahomans from all across our state to support George. Let's send a good man to be Oklahoma's newest Republican Congressman to Washington this November!”
With his endorsement, Jones becomes the first statewide elected official to make a pick in the crowded 2nd Congressional District GOP primary.
Faught responded to the news by saying, “I am honored to have State Auditor Jones join my growing team of supporters. Gary understands how critical this election will be, and that we need to send a true conservative to Washington. I have a proven and public record of conservatism, and am the only candidate in this race who has shown he can win in a 70% Democrat district. With the critical issues facing our nation, our next Congressman must be ready from day one to tackle the challenges, and I can do that.”
“I will fight to repeal ObamaCare, defend pro-life values, and cut spending and balance the budget. We need to break the chains of government regulations so America can create energy sector jobs again,” said Faught.
For more information about George Faught and his campaign for Congress, visit GeorgeFaught.com.
The Oklahoma Republican Party today released the National Convention Delegate slate, which will be voted on at the Oklahoma Republican State Convention on May 12th in Norman. Twenty five individuals were selected to serve as at-large delegates for the Republican National Convention (August 27th-30th), with an additional twenty five people chosen to serve as alternates. Over two hundred people applied to be delegates and/or alternates.
On Saturday, pursuant to the Oklahoma Republican Party Rules, the State Executive Committee met to whittle down two hundred plus applicants into a slate of twenty five delegate nominees and twenty five alternate-delegate nominees. The committee also chose two at-large electors and two elector-alternates out of about another dozen applicants.
Almost the entire State Executive Committee was present, either in person or via proxy. As a committee member, I had the privilege to participate in the process. The committee gathered around 8:30am, and interviewed hopefuls almost non-stop from 9am until 5pm. We were able to question around 165 applicants; about sixty people did not show up. The vast majority of interviews were done in person, although we did conduct a few over the phone.
All of the applicants were asked a series of questions, which included their personal views on abortion/right-to-life and the 2nd Amendment, as well as past political involvement, and questions regarding voting at the national convention (all delegates are bound by the rules to vote for the candidate they are assigned to, unless that candidate releases his delegates).
Once interviews ended at 5pm, the committee took some time to go over notes, review application forms, and discuss with fellow members about the different applicants. We cast the first ballot for delegate around 5:30pm. Cutting down the list was by no means an easy task, as many enthusiastic and qualified Republicans had applied for the positions.
Tallying was conducted by four individuals: Wayne Watts counted the individual ballots to ensure the proper amount of votes had been cast, Richard Engle (carrying a proxy for National Committeeman James Dunn) read the votes, Gary Jones recorded the votes, and I served as the observer. Occasionally, all four of us had to deliberate over "voter intent" - i.e. votes that were scribbled out, or on the line between two candidates, etcetera. Counting all of the votes, on each successive ballot, was a tedious process, but we worked out a good system.
Voting went three rounds to reach twenty five delegates, another couple rounds for the twenty five alternates, and one round for elector/elector-alternate. We were able to finish by 8:30pm, a full twelve hours after we had begun.
A great amount of time and work went into forming this slate of nominees, and all Oklahoma Republicans can be proud of the result. The individuals selected by the committee represent a wide array of experience, geography, age, presidential candidate preference, and are a solid group of conservatives who will represent the state well at the National Convention in Tampa.
Local Students Receive Scholarships from County GOP
Congratulations are in order to three area students who were recently awarded $500 scholarships by the Muskogee County Republican Party.
"The scholarship recipients were chosen based on their involvement in the community and local schools", said Ken Doke, one of the scholarship committee members. "We also took into consideration their GPA, future plans, and their knowledge of the current political climate," said Doke.
Scholarships were awarded to the following students, and can be used at the college or university of their choice.
Ashley Curran - Hilldale High School
John Trey Bennan - Muskogee High School
John Cody Kilgore - Fort Gibson High School
The Muskogee County Republican Party annually awards scholarships to high school seniors within Muskogee County.