On Sunday afternoon, members of the Oklahoma Republican Party's State Committee will convene to elect a new chair for the Party.
I was a member of the State Committee for six years (2009-2015), but did not run for reelection at the county convention this spring, so while I do not have a vote any more, I take great interest in the operations of the committee and the state party in general.
As my readers are aware, for the last several years I have made an effort to conduct a survey of the candidates running for OKGOP chair and vice-chair. To date, I have been successful in getting responses from all of the candidates. The survey I did this year was the longest (14 questions) and most detailed yet. -- view it here.
We have a great group of candidates running to finish Randy Brogdon's term, that's for sure.
I have not had much interaction with Estela Hernandez beyond my candidate surveys this year (both the current one and the vice-chair one from this spring). She brings an enthusiasm to the party that we need, and an emphasis on outreach that the Republican Party in general tends to neglect. She has a willingness to be a vocal Republican in a community where it isn't the most popular thing to be.
Some of you may remember that I endorsed and voted for Robert Hubbard in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. During that race, Robert was the only candidate to put aside the political rhetoric and generic platitudes to discuss facts, figures and plans -- that impressed me. Robert also was a financial supporter of my dad's 2012 congressional campaign at a time when most people wanted to sit on the fence and wait. Robert has guts and is willing to stick his neck out, yet gets along with everybody. He's a great guy.
As I said, the State Committee has three great candidates to choose from. My pick for Oklahoma Republican Party Chair is Pam Pollard.
My wife and I have interacted with Pollard since 2008, and always found her to be a ball of GOP-driven energy. She has a fierce dedication to advancing and growing the Republican Party.
The state party is facing some challenges right now. I think Pam Pollard is the best choice to resolve them.
We need a chair who is knowledgeable about the State Party Rules. I can think of no other Republican who knows the party Rules as well as Pam Pollard. The Rules form the basis of how this Party is to operate, and without a good grasp of them, we will flounder (as the immediate past two chairmen have demonstrated). I'm a nut about the Rules (probably one of the few who keep a copy downloaded on my smartphone), but Pam is an even bigger nut about them.
We need a chair who can fundraise. This is a huge part of operating the OKGOP. Matt Pinnell did a fabulous job here as chairman, but Dave Weston and Randy Brogdon struggled. Pam Pollard has a proven record here of success, and I believe can bring alongside others who can help the Party be a financial success again.
We need a chair who can organize conventions. The presidential primary makes 2016 a b-i-g year of conventions. There are precinct meetings, county conventions, District conventions, and the State Convention. The presidential year conventions are different from off-year conventions, as they are focused on electing national convention delegates and presidential electors. Any convention is a difficult thing to put on, and it's even harder for a novice to do (exhibit A: the 2015 state convention). Pam has a great deal of experience here that we need in the chair's office.
Additionally, I believe Pam can unite the Party effectively. We've fractured some over the last year or two, and especially with the "soap opera" of the last few months. We need a chair who bring everyone together and focus them on the main goal - advancing the party principles and platform, electing Republicans to office, and growing the conservative grassroots in this state.
For the Oklahoma Republican Party to be strong again, we need an experienced leader.
That leader is Pam Pollard.