Friday, January 31, 2014

Jay Paul Gunn indicted for felony embezzlement

Former Oklahoma State Senator Indicted In Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. – Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering announced today that Jay Paul Gumm, former Executive Director of the Stone County (Miss.) Economic Development Partnership, has been indicted on one count of felony embezzlement. He was served the indictment by OSA Special Agents and Stone County Deputies yesterday. Gumm was previously arrested on August 16, 2013 for embezzlement.

As Executive Director, Gumm embezzled over $24,000.00.

The various instances of embezzlement included Gumm depositing $11,750.00 into his personal account; fraudulently withholding a $2,000.00 personal check that was shown as deposited; depositing a $500.00 fraudulent check into his personal account from a Christmas party; and depositing an $8,060.00 amount from six checks with forged signatures; and other money.

“I appreciate the work of our Special Agents, District Attorney Joel Smith and the Stone County Sheriff’s Office,” State Auditor Stacey Pickering said. “Mr. Gumm stole from the taxpayers of Stone County and he will be held accountable for his actions.”

Gumm served two terms in the Oklahoma State Senate from 2002-2010 before moving to Mississippi for his position with the Stone County Economic Development Partnership.

Brogdon considering switch to Senate race

According to an article in Roll Call,
Former state senator Randy Brogdon may be considering switching from running for governor to running for the Senate seat being vacated by Tom Coburn.

Randy Brogdon, a conservative former state senator currently challenging Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, is considering running in the Senate special election instead.

“He has got a lot of people inside of Oklahoma, probably eight or nine out of 10, that are urging him to run for Senate, and he is listening very intently to those urges,” Brogdon senior adviser Louis Waller said when reached by CQ Roll Call.

Brogdon’s potential entrance comes just after Rep. Jim Bridenstine, a favorite among conservative outside groups, decided against a bid. Groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project had pushed for Bridenstine to run as a conservative alternative to Rep. James Lankford, who announced his bid for the seat earlier this month.

Brogdon, who lost to Fallin in the 2010 gubernatorial primary, has the kind of tea party profile that could garner support from those groups. If he runs, Brogdon would be the third major Republican in the race, along with state Speaker T.W. Shannon. Candidates have until April 11 to file for the race, which follows the state’s regular election year schedule.

Read the rest of the Roll Call article here.

Some people may not agree with me, but I would consider this to be a mistake on Brogdon's part. He does not have a good chance at beating Mary Fallin in the governor's race, but running for Senate against two very well funded candidates (Lankford and Shannon) poses an even greater difficulty.

Let's face it; Randy Brogdon has not gained in popularity since he lost the gubernatorial primary in 2010. in fact, it could be argued that between his taking a job with the Insurance Commissioner, and with being somewhat out of the public eye, he is significantly less popular. Considering how he only received 39% of the vote four years ago, I think he will struggle to reach 30% against Governor Fallin.

If Randy run for Senate, I think that the odds are even longer. Lankford and Shannon are two excellent candidates who will be well funded. Neither of them will receive less than 30% of the vote. I see Brogdon getting only 12%-20% of the vote, especially if any other candidates jump in. Brogdon has no chance in running for Senate.

The primary purpose I see for Randy is in providing a choice for governor. I for one have not been pleased with Mary Fallin as governor. I did not vote for her in the 2010 primary, and as things stand do not plan on voting for her in the 2914 primary. She has done a poor job at governing in a conservative manner. Spending continues spiraling upward, and taxes have not been cut. Fiscally, Brad Henry did a better job than Fallin has.

I had issues with Brogdon's 2010 campaign (hence why I voted for Hubbard over Brogdon and Fallin). Will 2014 be any different?

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Bridenstine: no endorsement yet

From Congressman Jim Bridenstine:

I have not endorsed any candidate for the U.S. Senate race to replace Dr. Tom Coburn.

There have been reports in the media and innuendo from candidates suggesting that I support one candidate over another. This is simply not correct.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Breaking: Bridenstine says no to Senate run

Bridenstine Decision on U.S. Senate Race

[Official statement]  Since Dr. Tom Coburn’s retirement announcement, I have been honored and overwhelmed by encouragement to succeed him as Oklahoma’s senator.

After giving this matter serious consideration and prayer, my family and I have decided I will not to run in the special election to complete Dr. Coburn’s term.

I would like to thank my faithful supporters who have provided so much encouragement. Their extraordinary outpouring of support strengthens my resolve to continue our efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Hill: Bridenstine out

The Hill: Bridenstine won't run for Oklahoma Senate

Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) will not run for Senate in Oklahoma, multiple sources confirmed to The Hill.

Bridenstine spent part of the afternoon on Tuesday calling around to supporters to let them know he’s decided against running, including former Kansas GOP Rep. Jim Ryun, who heads the conservative group Madison Project, which had encouraged him to run.

Read more here.

Senate race update: Keating declines, Shannon launching announcement tour

From the Oklahoman, former Governor Frank Keating has ruled out running for U.S. Senate this year.


In other developments, House Speaker T.W. Shannon is set to launch an announcement tour tomorrow, hitting Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and his hometown of Lawton. Shannon has informed members of the Republican caucus that he would be running for Senate.

Speaker Shannon issued a list of exploratory committee members yesterday, comprised of business leaders - and major political contributors - from across the state. Notable on the list is the absence of elected officials, the lone exception being State Rep. Mike Jackson, who is one of the individuals likely to run for House Speaker when Shannon officially steps down.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Hubbard announces run against Lucas

Robert Hubbard Announces Candidacy for Congress
Will Challenge Incumbent Frank Lucas in the OK-3 GOP Primary

Oklahoma City, OK, January 27th, 2014 - Standing before a crowd of supporters, Rancher and small business owner Robert Hubbard announced that he was running for the GOP nomination for the 3rd Congressional District in Oklahoma.

"We are at a time when our nation needs consistent, conservative leadership," said Hubbard. "And frankly, we are not getting that with our current Congressman."

Hubbard highlighted his conservative values and the need for Oklahoma to have members of Congress who reflect Oklahoma's conservative values. "We are the reddest congressional district in the reddest state in the country," said Hubbard. "Yet Congressman Lucas has one of the most liberal voting records in our state."

"It's time that we have a Congressman who votes his conservative values, every time," continued Hubbard. "And I promise I will do just that."

Hubbard is a long time resident of Canadian County where he owns and operates Hubbard Ranch. In addition he runs a construction company in the Oklahoma City metro area.

When asks what his priorities in Congress would be, Hubbard replied, "Our federal debt is out of control right now. With close to $18 trillion that our country owes, our leaders are doing little to nothing to curtail our spending. It's time we get a handle on how the government spends our hard-earned tax dollars."

Hubbard also mentioned his desire to end the influence of special interest groups and lobbyists on government spending. "When you look at Congressman's Lucas' top 20 donors and see that 19 of them are 'inside the beltway' interest groups, it's no wonder why he has no problem dishing out the pork barrel spending," said Hubbard.

"I promise you this," continued Hubbard. "If elected, I will ensure that my top priority will be to do what's best for the people of the 3rd District, and not the special interest groups in Washington."

"I am excited about the prospects of this campaign," said Hubbard. "We are going against the business-as-usual gang in Washington. That’s why I ask the people in the 3rd District – from the eastern edge at Skiatook – to Boise City in the panhandle – to my friends in Altus – to join my campaign for Congress. Together I know we can make a difference and win the Republican nomination on June 24th."

Bridenstine bringing attention to Benghazi for State of the Union

Bridenstine: Benghazi Will Not Be Forgotten at State of the Union

(Washington, DC)  Charles Woods, father of Navy SEAL Ty Woods who was killed in Benghazi, is Congressman Jim Bridenstine's guest for the State of the Union Tuesday evening.

The President typically stacks the gallery with victims of various policies he wants to change. Republican Leadership has urged Members to invite as guests people who have been victims of Obamacare.

Congressman Bridenstine is hosting a genuine victim of failed foreign policy, who continues to be victimized by failure to appoint a House Select Committee to get to the bottom of what happened the night his son was murdered in Benghazi and to assure that what happened then will not be repeated.

Congressman Bridenstine said, "As a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, I understand the importance of knowing that America leaves no one behind. I am honored to host the father of a true hero.

"One of the first bills I cosponsored in Congress was Rep. Frank Wolf's H. Res. 36 to establish a select committee on Benghazi. The resolution has 180 cosponsors. No action has been taken on it.

"The House of Representatives must establish a select Committee to investigate the incident, the intelligence available, and the actions and inactions of those who should have been responsible for preventing the deaths of four Americans."

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Creation vs. Evolution: Ken Ham to debate Bill Nye


From Answers in Genesis:

TV’s famed “Bill Nye the Science Guy” will argue the case against creation and for evolution as he faces the founder and president of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham, on February 4, 2014, in the museum’s 900-seat Legacy Hall. The museum, which has drawn two million guests in six years (including 20,000 visitors at its recent Christmas Town programs), is located in Petersburg, Kentucky (near the Cincinnati Airport).

The agreed-upon topic for the 7 PM debate is “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”

“A debate with Mr. Nye, nationally known for his children’s TV program and for promoting evolution, will be one of our major events in 2014 to highlight how children and teens are being influenced by evolutionary thinking," declared Ham. “This year, our AiG theme is ‘Standing Our Ground, Rescuing Our Kids.’ Having the opportunity to hold a cordial but spirited debate with such a well-known personality who is admired by so many young people will help bring the creation/evolution issue to the attention of many more people, including youngsters.”

Ham added, “I hope to show Mr. Nye and our debate audience that observational science confirms the scientific accuracy of the Genesis account of origins, not evolution.”

Nye is the former host of the popular Bill Nye the Science Guy PBS-TV program for children, the current executive director of the Planetary Society, and a frequent guest on TV interview programs.

Ham also noted, “If his travel schedule permits that day, Mr. Nye will be my guest at the museum. I would personally show him through our museum before the debate. I would also like him to meet our several full-time staff members who hold earned doctorates in science.”

AiG is willing to participate in public debates with serious evolutionists with credentials. Even though some mocking, strident evolutionists have challenged AiG to public debates, their requests are not considered. As a serious advocate for his beliefs, Nye’s opinions carry weight in society.

Ham, who debated at Harvard in the 1990s, has pointed out that evolution/creation debates featuring serious debaters have sadly become rare.

~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~          ~

The debate will be live-streamed at DebateLive.org on February 4th at 7pm EST/6pm CST. For more information about Answers in Genesis, click here.

Pre-order your DVD copy of 'Uncensored Science: Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham' today!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Report: Shannon expected to resign


According to a report by Oklahoma City's News 9, as well as other sources, Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon is expected to resign his post in order to focus on running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Dr. Tom Coburn.

It appears that the race to succeed Shannon as Speaker has already begun. State Reps. Mike Jackson, Scott Martin, and Jason Nelson are rumored to be seeking support from their Republican colleagues.

Update from the Associated Press:
Several House Republicans told The Associated Press on Thursday that Rep. Mike Jackson of Enid and Jason Nelson of Oklahoma City are working to secure votes in case of a potential speaker's race.

Nelson and Jackson both confirmed to the AP they would be interested in the post if Shannon steps down.

Latest Developments in U.S. Senate, 5th District races

U.S. Senate

Among the latest individuals thought to be considering running for Tom Coburn's seat is former governor Frank Keating. A resident of northern Virginia since 2003, Keating has some interesting voter registration information. Read this from a scathing article by blogger Michael Bates:
According to the most recent voter records I have handy, from July 2012, Francis A Keating II and Catherine H Keating are registered to vote in precinct 720071, with a residential address of 2121 S. Yorktown Ave. (a condo tower just east of Utica Square), Apt. 1203. No one named Keating owns property at that address, according to Tulsa County Assessor records, but Cathy Keating's mother, Frances Herndon Chandler, is listed as trustee of a trust that owns that unit.

But both Keatings list the following as their mailing address in their voter registration record (at least as of July, 2012):

820 NORTHEAST 23RD STREET
OKLAHOMA CITY OK 73105

Recognize that address? It's Oklahoma's Governor's Mansion, home to Brad and Kim Henry and their daughters from 2003 to 2011, and home for the last three years or so to Mary Fallin and her family. More than eleven years after moving out, Frank and Cathy Keating had not bothered to contact the county election board to change their voter record to their new mailing address. But they have continued to vote consistently, via absentee ballot. Presumably those ballots are being sent to a mailing address other than the one in their voter registration records.
It will be interesting to see if Keating decides to pursue this any further.

5th Congressional District

Joining announced Republican candidates Shane JettPatrice Douglas, and Steve Russell is State Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond). Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Jolley is in the middle of his four-year term, and thus will only vacate his seat if he is ultimately elected Congressman.

On the Democratic side, State Sen. Al McAffrey has formed an exploratory committee. McAffrey was Oklahoma's first openly homosexual legislator.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

State Sen. Constance Johnson thinks Marijuana could elect her to U.S. Senate

State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-OKC) tells KRMG's Russell Mills that she is considering running for U S. Senate, and that she believes her push to legalize marijuana in Oklahoma could be the factor that would elect her as Tom Coburn's replacement.

In an interview about her recently-filed marijuana legalization bill, Johnson told Mills that she believed her bill could lead to the election of an African American woman to the US Senate. Mills asked her whether she was considering running, and she said that she was thinking about it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Russell in for 5th District; Boren, Askins say no to Senate

In further developments for Oklahoma's 2014 election, former state senator Steve Russell tells the McCarville Report that he will seek the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District.

On the Democrat side for U.S. Senate, former congressman Dan Boren and former lieutenant governor Jari Askins told the AP that they would not be running for Tom Coburn's senate seat. At the same time, former state senator Kenneth Corn said he is considering running.

T.W. Shannon to explore U.S. Senate run


From the Tulsa World:

House Speaker T.W. Shannon inched closer to a decision on whether he will run for the U.S. Senate, with one of his advisers saying Tuesday that the Lawton Republican is forming an exploratory committee to explore the feasibility of such a campaign.

Trebor Worthen, a former state representative who has been a campaign consultant to Shannon as well as 2nd District U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, among others, said Shannon would file the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More Dominoes: Corp. Comm. Douglas running for Congress


This morning, Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas announced her candidacy for the 5th Congressional District. With Congressman James Lankford running for U.S. Senate, Douglas joins Shane Jett as the first announced candidates to replace Lankford.

Douglas, a former mayor of Edmond, was appointed in 2011 to the Corporation Commission after Jeff Cloud resigned, and was elected without opposition in 2012 to finish the rest of Cloud's six-year term.

This announcement means that another statewide office will be open. So far, Coburn's bombshell has opened up three statewide or federal offices - U.S. Senate, 5th Congressional District, and Corporation Commission.

Common Core last week: Fallin defends, OKGOP condemns

Wednesday, January 15th: 

"In a speech at the National Governors Association [January 15th], Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, chairwoman of the group, gave a strong defense of the Common Core State Standards as a state-led initiative that would provide better long-term prospects for the nation's students." (EdWeek.org)


Saturday, January 18th:

The Oklahoma Republican Party's State Committee passed (by a large margin) a resolution strongly condemning Common Core. (pdf link)


Monday, January 20, 2014

Bridenstine not rushing Senate decision

Congressman Bridenstine's Statement on Senate Race

(Tulsa, OK 1/20/14) Congressman Jim Bridenstine said on Monday he is pleased to know that Dr. Coburn is not resigning strictly on health concerns. Bridenstine said he is honored by the number of people, statewide and nationally, encouraging him to run for the Senate seat, but he is not inclined to rush the decision.

Lankford announces for U.S. Senate



Congressman James Lankford has officially announced that he is running for Tom Coburn's U.S. Senate seat.

5th District Watch List

With James Lankford's near-certain candidacy to fill the rest of Tom Coburn's U.S. Senate term, there will be a crowded Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. Here is a list of names to watch for in the coming days.

Former state rep. Shane Jett (already announced)
Former state rep. Kevin Calvey
State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft
State Sen. Clark Jolley
State Sen. Greg Treat
Corp. Comm. Patrice Douglas (soon to announce)
State Treasurer Ken Miller
Labor Comm. Mark Costello
Former state sen. Steve Russell

Leave a comment with your suggested additions or removals.

Shane Jett to run for Lankford's seat


Former state representative Shane Jett has announced that he plans to run for the 5th Congressional District seat currently held by Congressman James Lankford, who will most likely announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate today. Jett was one of several candidates Lankford defeated in the 2010 primary for the 5th District.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Who will run to fill Coburn's seat?

Following Dr. Tom Coburn's announcement that he is resigning from the U.S. Senate, the question now becomes who will run to replace him. The answer could be very complicated, and will likely cause a cascade of other offices to open up.

Let's just run through the some of the possibilities.

First of all, Gov. Mary Fallin said Friday that she won't run for Senate. Not really a surprise, as she's focused on her re-election campaign, and may have her eye on something bigger.

Now for other statewide elected officials. State Auditor Gary Jones wouldn't be interested. Neither would State Superintendent Janet Barresi, or Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy. Some have mentioned Corporation Commissioners Patrice Douglas (former mayor of Edmond) and Bob Anthony (came in third in 2004 GOP Senate primary), but I don't see either of them doing it. I also don't think that Treasurer Ken Miller or Insurance Commissioner John Doak would run.

Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb is a sure candidate for the 2018 gubernatorial race, so he's off my list of possibilities. Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, however, is one to watch. Everyone knows that he wants to run for something bigger, but does he go now or does he, too, run for Governor in 2018?


Attorney General Scott Pruitt is probably the most likely to run of the statewide officials. He has just about everything going for him right now. He's been in the forefront of the ObamaCare battle, and fighting other issues (like the EPA). He's a staunch conservative, and is well-liked.

Turning to current members of Congress now.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin won't run; he's barely been in the House for one year, and is the most unlikely of Oklahoma's congressmen to advance to a higher level. Rep. Frank Lucas has his Ag chairmanship, and seems to be content staying in the House. He would probably struggle in building a statewide campaign, as well. Rep. Tom Cole is being mentioned, but as the moderate in Oklahoma's delegation would have a hard time winning the primary. Also, he is probably more interested in becoming chief of the Chickasaw Nation than becoming a Senator.


Rep. James Lankford will probably run. He has made meteoric strides in the House leadership (he's the fifth-highest ranked Republican in leadership), but this is an opening that he may not wish to pass up. I like Lankford. He's very genuine and personable, highly intelligent, and is a great communicator. However, some conservatives are wary of his ties to GOP establishment figures leaders like Speaker Boehner and Tom Cole.

As the former director of Falls Creek, the massive Oklahoma Southern Baptist youth camp, Lankford has the potential for a huge grassroots network across the state - something that no other candidate can probably match.


Rep. Jim Bridenstine is bound to be thinking very hard about this race. From his very first day in Congress, Bridenstine has solidly been among the most conservative Republicans in Washington, developing close associations with Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, as well as other Tea Party favorites in Congress. I like Bridenstine a lot.

However, Bridenstine is not as prolific a fundraiser as many of the other names on this list, and running a statewide campaign as a freshman Congressman will pose a challenge. Additionally, you can count on the DC establishment to work hard to defeat him.


Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon is thought to be considering running as well, although I'm leaning to him staying in the State House. It may still be too soon for him to take on bigger names like Pruitt and Lankford and run a successful statewide campaign.

Other people that might be thinking of running could be J.C. Watts, Kirk Humphreys, Todd Hiett, or Frank Keating. Frankly, I don't think any of those decide to get in.

If I broke it down to chance of running, I guess this would be my list:

75% - Lankford
65% - Pruitt
55% - Bridenstine
35% - Costello
25% - Shannon

The rest would be in the "less than 10%" category.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Oklahoma Shakeup: Dr. Coburn to resign from Senate


Dr. Coburn Announces His Decision to Leave the Senate at the End of the 113th Congress

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) released the following statement announcing his decision to give up his Senate seat at the end of this Congress:

“Serving as Oklahoma’s senator has been, and continues to be, one of the great privileges and blessings of my life. But, after much prayer and consideration, I have decided that I will leave my Senate seat at the end of this Congress.

“Carolyn and I have been touched by the encouragement we’ve received from people across the state regarding my latest battle against cancer. But this decision isn’t about my health, my prognosis or even my hopes and desires. My commitment to the people of Oklahoma has always been that I would serve no more than two terms. Our founders saw public service and politics as a calling rather than a career. That’s how I saw it when I first ran for office in 1994, and that’s how I still see it today. I believe it’s important to live under the laws I helped write, and even those I fought hard to block.

“As a citizen legislator, I am first and foremost a citizen who cares deeply about the kind of country we leave our children and grandchildren. As I have traveled across Oklahoma and our nation these past nine years, I have yet to meet a parent or grandparent who wouldn’t do anything within their power to secure the future for the next generation. That’s why I initially ran for office in 1994 and re-entered politics in 2004. I’m encouraged there are thousands of Americans with real-world experience and good judgment who feel just like I do. As dysfunctional as Washington is these days, change is still possible when ‘We the People’ get engaged, run for office themselves or make their voices heard. After all, how else could a country doctor from Muskogee with no political experience make it to Washington?

“As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere. In the meantime, I look forward to finishing this year strong. I intend to continue our fight for Oklahoma, and will do everything in my power to force the Senate to re-embrace its heritage of debate, deliberation and consensus as we face our many challenges ahead.

“May God bless you, our state and our country."