Friday, February 28, 2014

Blogger: Do Christian beliefs belong in public life?

Blogger Larry Jackson posted the following thoughts on his website today, asking the question, "Do Our Christian beliefs have a place in our public lives?"
I have been pondering the question posed in the title of this post for quite some time. I believe the main source of this pondering is the furor that is ongoing in America over the rights of individual business owners, who happen to be Christians and hold certain religious values, to refuse to service certain segments of our population. I was informed last year in a discussion on this blog that these Christian business owners had no such right, that if they did not want to serve a certain group of people, that constituted discrimination, and they should shut their business down. The person who made those statements was so offended by my views on this issue that she has not visited my blog since that time.

This issue has raised its head again in the last few days. The Republican controlled legislature in Arizona passed a bill that gave business owners the specific right to claim their religious beliefs as a defense, were they to be sued for refusing service. The uproar that followed was amazing to me. No matter how much the supporters of that bill tried to explain what it was all about, it was misrepresented and demonized, to the point that Arizona Governor Jan Brewer had little choice but to issue a veto.

I engaged in a discussion before the veto on a Politico article in defense of the bill by Rich Lowry. When I questioned why liberals didn’t understand that our Christian beliefs were important to us, business owners or not, I was inundated with replies to inform me of the error of my ways. The basic premise was that Christian business owners had no right to allow their religious beliefs in to their business practices. I guess we are supposed to check them at the door, like a hat or coat. I don’t know about you, but my religious beliefs are a part of who I am as a human being. I don’t remove them when I go to work.
Read the rest here.

Blogger Charles Phipps has two recent posts along the same topic: Christians and the Culture War, and Homosexuals vs. Religious Business Owners.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Inhofe, Coburn, Bridenstine rank high in Club for Growth's 2013 scorecard


Club for Growth issued their 2013 scorecard yesterday, and some members of Oklahoma's delegation ranked very high. Sen. Jim Inhofe received a 94% (7th in the Senate), Sen. Tom Coburn got a 93% (8th in the Senate, and Rep. Jim Bridenstine received a 92% (8th in the House).

For the rest:

  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin: 75% (92nd in the House)
  • Rep. James Lankford: 70% (120th in the House)
  • Rep. Frank Lucas: 53% (189th in the House)
  • Rep. Tom Cole: 49% (208th in the House)
Only 25 Republicans ranked lower than Tom Cole in 2013, according to Club for Growth's scorecard.

CFG also tracks lifetime records for members of Congress. Here's how Oklahoma's members rate:
  • Rep. Jim Bridenstine: 97% (first year to be rated)
  • Sen. Tom Coburn: 96%
  • Sen. Jim Inhofe: 93%
  • Rep. James Lankford: 76%
  • Rep. Markwayne Mullin: 75% (first year to be rated)
  • Rep. Tom Cole: 70%
  • Rep. Frank Lucas: 66%

Monday, February 24, 2014

KJRH airs anti-homeschooling report

A recent KJRH news report on homeschooling was a real hatchet job, and Marla Bender has penned a great response at LibertyOnTap:

On February 17, 2014, news reporter Breanne Palmerini of KJRH Tulsa, gave a slanderous report on homeschooling in Oklahoma based on some children who appear to be school-aged and unsupervised during school hours near some Section-8 housing (61st and Peoria) in Tulsa. The gist of Palmerini’s report is that these Oklahoma children are not being educated at all, and homeschooling is to blame.

Providing absolutely no proof, Palmerini claims that these Tulsa children call themselves homeschoolers in order to dodge truancy laws. Her report recklessly proposes stricter laws over all Oklahoma homeschoolers as a remedy to assure an education for these neglected children.

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

FULL LIST: Oklahoma's 2014 Federal & State Candidates

2014 is going to be a very active election cycle in Oklahoma. Here is a list of the announced candidates for statewide and federal office in Oklahoma, along with links to their websites. Names in red are Republican, names in blue are Democrat, names in gray are Independent, incumbents are underlined.

FEDERAL OFFICES

U.S. Senate - full term
Jim Inhofe (website)
Rob Moye (no website)
Evelyn Rogers (website)
D. Jean McBride-Samuels (website)
Erick Wyatt (website)
Matt Silverstein (website)
Aaron DeLozier (no website)
Joan Farr (website)
Ray Woods (no website)
U.S. Senate - partial term
Randy Brogdon (website)
Andy Craig (website)
Kevin Crow (website)
James Lankford (website)
Eric McCray (website)
T.W. Shannon (website)
Jason Weger (website)
Patrick Hayes (no website)
Connie Johnson (website)
Jim Rogers (no website)
Mark Beard (no website)

U.S. House - District 1
Jim Bridenstine (website)
U.S. House - District 2
Markwayne Mullin (website)
Darrel Robertson (website)
Earl Everett (no website)
Joshua Harris-Till (no website)
Jon Douthitt (no website)
U.S. House - District 3
Robert Hubbard (website)
Frank Lucas (website)
Tim Murray (website)
Frankie Robbins (website)
U.S. House - District 4
Tom Cole (website)
Anna Flatt (website)
Tae Si (website)
Bert Smith (website)
Dennis Johnson (no website)
U.S. House - District 5
Patrice Douglas (website)
Shane Jett (website)
Clark Jolley (website)
Steve Russell (website)
Harvey Sparks (website)
Mike Turner (website)
Keith Davenport (website)
Tom Guild (website)
Leona Leonard (no website)
Al McAffrey (website)
Marilyn Rainwater (website)
Tom Boggs (no website)
Robert Murphy (website)
Buddy Ray (website)
STATE OFFICES

Governor
Dax Ewbank (website)
Mary Fallin (website)
Chad Moody (no website)
Joe Dorman (website)
Joe Sills (website)
Richard Prawdzienski (website)
Kimberly Willis (website)
Lieutenant Governor
Todd Lamb (website)
Cathy Cummings (website)
Auditor and Inspector
Gary Jones (no website)
Attorney General
Scott Pruitt (website)
Treasurer
Ken Miller (no website)
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Janet Barresi (website)
Joy Hofmeister (website)
Brian Kelly (website)
John Cox (website)
Freda Deskin (website)
Jack Herron (website)
Ivan Holmes (website)
Labor Commissioner
Mark Costello (website)
Mike Workman (website)
Insurance Commissioner
John Doak (website)
Bill Viner (no website)
Corporation Commissioner
Cliff Branan (website)
Todd Hiett (website)

(last updated after close of filing, 4/12/14)

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lankford stops by Muskogee



Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate James Lankford made a campaign stop in Muskogee today, holding a meeting with county Republicans activists and a public town hall event. I attended the town hall, and live-tweeted from it, which you can read here.

Lankford is very articulate, and has a great grasp of the issues. He spoke extensively on his work as a member of the House Oversight and Budget committees.

A few notes from his talk:

  • House GOP has made some progress in cutting overspending, but it's just been baby steps, since the Senate and White House have been completely opposed. Still a long way to go.
  • House GOP is winning oversight battles, but the media only talks about fights conservatives lose.
  • Lankford is opposed to a Convention of the States.
  • Lankford is opposed to comprehensive immigration reform; instead, prefers smaller packages. Enforcing current law isn't enough, because there are problems with current law.
  • Lankford believes in term limits, even for judicial branch. His thought would be for judges to have a 20-30 year term, but legislative branch to have a term limit much lower -- long enough to get things done, but no 20-year congressmembers.
  • Lankford says the American people have no idea how extensive the cover-up lies on Benghazi were.

Go to my Twitter feed to see some more of what Lankford talked about.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lankford holding Muskogee town hall on Thursday

Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate James Lankford will be holding a public town hall meeting in Muskogee on Thursday (February 20th), from 1pm to 2pm at the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
Lankford will be facing T.W. Shannon, Kevin Crow, Jason Weger, and Randy Brogdon in the GOP primary to replace Dr. Tom Coburn.

Mullin draws Republican challenger Darrel Robertson



Congressman Markwayne Mullin now has his first Republican primary challenger -- Grove rancher and professional fisherman Darrel Robertson. On his Facebook page, Robertson says "It is time for true conservative leadership in Washington D.C. I will fight to reign in this out of control federal government."

Read more from the Grand Lake News.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Brecheen on SB 906: "A vote I regret"

Following the State Senate's passage of SB 906, I expressed disappointment that State Sen. Josh Brecheen voted in favor of the measure. Today, we both had a conversation about the situation, and below is a note Brecheen wrote on the topic.

State Sen. Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate)

A vote I regret

Proverbs says "The first to present his case seems right until another comes forward and questions him..."

Last year I spent several hours in discussion with a person I have known for almost 20 years about the subject of National Popular Vote. After several hours of discussion I was on the pathway of believing it was a constitutionally sound means of ensuring the beltway states (like Oklahoma) would have a greater role in electing the President of the United States. Like many, I have become frustrated with presidential candidates paying attention to only the viewpoints found in swing states.

Soon after those discussions, I was reading through the U.S. Constitution for another reason and came across the Article where the Constitution refers to the broad latitude states are given to determine electoral votes. I sensed in that reading that the approach of the National Popular Vote needed more examination and that might not match constitutional intent. I made a "note to self" to follow up with those in support to get more information about my concern. A year passed and I didn't think any further about the subject.

As the beginning of this week (second week of the Oklahoma legislature) I was caught in the halls at the Capitol by those promoting the idea of the National Popular Vote contract among states. It was their second attempt to visit with me on the subject (tried the week prior but we were all so busy I didn't have time). I shared that I had concerns based on last year's reading but that it had been so long I could not remember my thoughts. They scheduled a time   (a day prior to the vote) and we discussed my concerns as I re-read that portion of the Constitution during their scheduled session. They had some valid points about the Constitution being silent in relation to how the states award their electoral votes. As I have a strong belief in state rights, I was relieved in discussion that the state's did indeed have the right to compact and award their votes any way they chose. I agreed to support given the constitution was not violated as I saw it during that conversation. Intent and history is where I had forgot to ask questions (had been a year) and I missed the greater issue.

A day later, I listened on the floor to some opposing concerns I had not heard before and I was greatly alarmed that I had agreed to vote for it when certain responses were provided. I was not misled by those who were supportive, but given this issue's complexities, it had just never come up. I cast a vote for the bill as I had agreed to do so and given my belief in the biblical concept "a man keeps his word even when it hurts."

I greatly regret my vote in support of National Popular Vote given what I have learned in the last several days. I shared this regret at a Marshall County GOP meeting Thursday evening when asked about the issue at the meeting.

Given the business of the first two weeks of session, many of us had very limited time to hear discussion on this issue in detail prior to our scheduled vote. This is not an excuse, just context. Like many others who run a number of bills, the first two weeks of session is a blur. Given the massive amount of reading of newly introduced bill language, presentation preparation time of our own bills in committees and discussion with chairmen/member in trying to move our own bills forward, little time is left for much else. I should have made time to learn more on the very complex issue that has persuasive arguments on both sides.

I have learned two things from this mistake. I will pause the next time a bill of this magnitude comes up in the first two weeks of session and I haven't scheduled time to thoroughly vet it and been made aware of the viewpoints of those opposed. And, I have also learned to never commit to cast a vote without leaving room for "unless I hear something during debate that counters what I know thus far."

I sent word to those who visited with me about supporting NPV that I regretted my vote. I did that prior to sending this out as I still value their friendship and opinion, but wanted them to know firsthand my change of mind.

Only Jesus is perfect.

 Josh Brecheen


       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -       -

Having worked on Josh's 2010 campaign, I got to know something about his character. When he wrote I cast a vote for the bill as I had agreed to do so and given my belief in the biblical concept "a man keeps his word even when it hurts", he really meant it. When Josh Brecheen gives his word, he keeps it. That integrity is rare in politics.

Sometimes, a legislator casts a vote that he later comes to realize was wrong. I believe that Josh understands that, and will take this instance to better himself as a state senator.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

McAffrey announces for 5th District


State Sen. Al McAffrey (D-OKC) officially announced his campaign for the 5th Congressional District on Thursday. McAffrey, the first openly homosexual member of the Oklahoma legislature, joins Tom Guild and Keith Davenport, and Marilyn Rainwater as the current Democratic candidates.

Elected in one of Oklahoma's most liberal legislative district, McAffrey has no real shot at defeating the GOP nominee.

On the Republican side, candidates so far are Shane Jett, Patrice Douglas, Clark Jolley, and Steve Russell.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Legislative fools": State Senate passes Popular Vote bill

To borrow a phrase from blogger Michael Bates, 28 Oklahoma State Senators just proved themselves to be legislative fools. Today, the State Senate passed Senate Bill 906, a bill that would bind Oklahoma presidential electors to the national popular vote, rather than the winner of Oklahoma's popular vote (as under the Electoral College system today).

The following 28 state senators (16 Republican, 12 Democrat) voted in favor of SB 906:

Allen (R), Anderson (R), Ballenger (D), Barrington (R), Bass (D), Bingman (R), Branan (R), Brecheen (R), Burrage (D), Ellis (D), Fields (R), Garrison (D), Griffin (R), Halligan (R), Ivester (D), C. Johnson (D), R. Johnson (R), Loveless (R), Marlatt (R), Mazzei (R), McAffrey (D), Paddack (D), Schulz (R), Shortey (R), Shumate (D), Sparks (D), Stanislawski (R), Wyrick (D).

The following 18 state senators, all Republicans, voted against SB 906:

Aldridge (R), Brinkley (R), Brooks (R), Brown (R), Crain (R), Dahm (R), David (R), Ford (R), Holt (R), Jolley (R), Justice (R), Newberry (R), Sharp (R), Shaw (R), Simpson (R), Standridge (R), Sykes (R), Treat (R).

I was extremely disappointed to see conservative senators like Josh Brecheen and Ralph Shortey on the list of those seduced by the National Popular Vote schemers. Brecheen's vote especially stings, because I helped him on his 2010 race.

Blogger and OKGOP National Committeeman Steve Fair has written several articles against the National Popular Vote bills authored by Sen. Rob Johnson and Rep. Don Armes; read here, here, and here for his take.

Here's hoping that the State House shoots this terrible idea down.

Brogdon switching to run for Senate?

According to the folks at TheOkie, it now appears that Randy Brogdon may be switching to run for US Senate.

From TheOkie:

*UPDATE, 12:02 pm: The disclaimer on his website now reads “Brogdon for U.S. Senate.”

His campaign website has been scrubbed of anything saying “Governor” and the fundraising link has been disabled- both telltale signs that this once Gubernatorial candidate may be looking at the U.S. Senate race. See for yourself at http://randybrogdon.com/.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Report: House GOP selects Hickman as Speaker

The Oklahoma House GOP caucus met this morning to select their candidate for Speaker, following T.W. Shannon's resignation last week.

The first reports from the caucus meeting are slim on detail, but say that Rep. Jeff Hickman has defeated Rep. Mike Jackson as the Republican caucus' nominee.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

County-by-County Majority/Plurality Party Map


This year, I decided to create a map showing the majority/plurality party in each county.

Majority Republican: 21 counties
Plurality Republican: 8 counties
Majority Democratic: 41 counties
Plurality Democratic: 7 counties

The counties closest to going from Democrat plurality to Republican plurality are Custer (Dem: 44.12%, GOP: 43.11%), Jackson (Dem: 47.41%, GOP: 41.72%), Pawnee (Dem: 47.74%, GOP: 41.97%), Pottawatomie (Dem: 47.33%, GOP: 40.67%), and Nowata (Dem: 48.57%, GOP: 40.37%).

Friday, February 7, 2014

Map: GOP Voter Registration Growth


Continuing the voter registration maps series, here's the updated GOP growth map (compare to 2012). Again, the GOP grew percentage-wise in 75 of 77 counties, but as slower rates than in 2013. Keep in mind that the state election board just went through an inactive voter purge, and that the 2012 election cycle drove up registration and re-registration rates.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

House Ethics committee considering investigating Mullin

From the AP:

The House Ethics Committee will consider an investigation of Republican congressman Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma.

A spokeswoman for the congressman says Mullin is cooperating with the House Ethics Committee and believes he is in full compliance with all ethics rules.

Ethics Committee chairman Michael Conaway and ranking Democrat Linda Sanchez said Thursday they had received a referral about Mullin from the Office of Congressional Ethics.

The OCE is an outside organization that can refer cases to the House Ethics Committee. The subject of the potential investigation isn't being disclosed.

Conaway and Sanchez say that considering an investigation does not indicate any violation has occurred. They will announce any further action by March 24.

County-by-county voter registration swings, 1/2013 to 1/2014


Updating my voter registration maps series, we now look at the overall direction voter registration moved in each county from January 2013 to January 2014. Overall, 75 counties posted swings to the GOP, while the Democrats only had two counties where they outgrew the Republicans.

The growth for the GOP was slower than in 2012 (see here for last year's map), but still on track for the GOP to overtake the Democrats this year.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Chickasha professor to join GOP primary for U.S. Senate

Dr. Kevin Crow

Dr. Kevin Crow, associate professor of history at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, plans to announce his candidacy for U.S. Senate next week.

According to an announcement on his Facebook page, Crow, a Chickasha resident, will make his plans public at the Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha on Thursday, February 13th, at 6:30pm.

Crow would be joining announced candidates Congressman James Lankford, State House Speaker T.W. Shannon, and Jason Weger.

Oklahoma Voter Registration Map, January 2014


Continuing a series from last year, here is an update on voter registration in Oklahoma. Republicans continue to make gains, increasing by 0.76%, while the Democratic Party lost 0.71%. Independents decreased by 0.05%.

No county changed hands this year, in terms of plurality party. However, if you this to compare to last year, many counties posted noticeable changes.

Stay tuned for more posts on this series.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

6PM TONIGHT: Ham debates Nye on Creation vs. Evolution


Don't forget, tonight, Ken Ham debates Bill Nye on "Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?"

You can view the debate for free at DebateLive.org, starting at 6pm CST (7pm EST).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Lankford leads Shannon 54%-18% in first poll

According to a poll released today by Harper Polling, Congressman James Lankford leads state house Speaker T.W. Shannon 54% to 18% in the race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn.

From Harper Polling:

Lankford’s advantage is driven by his popularity in the Oklahoma City media market where he leads House Speaker T.W. Shannon 77-9%.

In the state's other large media market Tulsa, Shannon trails by just 3%.

The poll included a hypothetical scenario with former congressman J.C. Watts as a candidate. Watts led with 40% to Lankford's 37% and Shannon's 8%.

Read more details here.

Also included in the poll, but barely a blip on the radar at 1%-2%, was no-name Republican candidate Jason Weger. Weger is openly homosexual, a paramedic in Norman, and a student at the University of Oklahoma.