Mike McCarville, legendary Oklahoma journalist and political commentator, passed away early this morning after a lengthy illness.
A legend in his field, McCarville had a storied media career, ranging from newspaper to television (KWTV) to radio (KOSU, KGWA, KTOK, NRANews), was Gov. Dewey Bartlett's press secretary, and published The McCarville Report since 1980 (in print, then online beginning in 2006, I believe). Mike served in the Army from 1958 to 1961, was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 2013, and received the Ronald Reagan Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Republican Party in 2015.
The godfather of Oklahoma political reporting, his print and later web writings have been a staple among state political movers and shakers for over three decades. His political blog inspired other bloggers, myself included, to begin writing. Called at one point the "gold standard of political blogs" in Oklahoma, and banned in Red China, McCarville's blog was the go-to site for political news in Oklahoma. Since 2015, one of his goals has been to see civil asset forfeiture reform passed in Oklahoma, and Mike strongly pushed State Sen. Kyle Loveless' efforts to do so (his words from April 29, 2015 were: "This plague on our state and nation is my 2015-2016 pet peeve project. There is a chance we can get the Oklahoma law repealed if we raise enough hell about it. Law enforcement will protest that their budgets will be cut. That is no justification for this outrageous violation of rights. That drum beat you hear is me, out here marching around with my drum sticks.").
Mike's death signals the end of an era in Oklahoma political journalism and blogging. He was 76. Read the announcement post by his co-editor Jason Doyle here.
Reactions have been rolling in all day from elected officials, political activists, news figures, and friends. Here are a few:
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe: “Oklahoma has lost a great man and conservative voice. Mike was a staple of Oklahoma political journalism for decades and was known as a voice of reason around the state. I am fortunate to have known Mike and can tell you he was driven by a love for his family and his faith in God. My thoughts and prayers are with Mike McCarville’s beloved wife Ann as well as his children and grandchildren that he took tremendous pride in.”
U.S. Sen. James Lankford: “I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Mike McCarville. Mike was an investigator, communicator, and he had a passion for people and politics. He loved his state and its people, and he will be missed by me and my family. My prayers are with his loved ones and many friends.”
Gov. Mary Fallin: “Mike McCarville was a skilled journalist and one of Oklahoma’s most respected commentators. He had a strong curiosity who cared deeply about Oklahoma and was intrigued especially about the politics and newsmakers of our state. He was a personal friend who I will remember as being fair, but tough in pursuing stories and tips. He worked for several news outlets throughout his career, but I remember him most during his time on the radio, in which he liked to describe himself as the ‘man with a face for radio.’ My thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family and friends during this difficult time, as we remember his joyful and caring spirit.”
State Sen. David Holt (R-OKC): "One of the most legendary names in Oklahoma politics has passed, and it wasn't a politician. For decades, Mike McCarville and his McCarville Report set the bar for political news. His namesake web site may live on, but we mourn the loss of the man. Rest In Peace, Mike McCarville."
State Sen. Kyle Loveless: "RIP I got to really know Mike on KTLR when I was host of Tailgate Political Hour with Keith Gaddie - Mike came on once a week and I learned more in that hour than all my time in classroom- Gentleman, Father, Grandfather and Journalist you will be missed"
Mayor Mick Cornett (R-OKC): "Already missing my friend Mike McCarville. He was our most frequent guest on 'The Verdict' with more than 20 appearances through the years."
Matt Pinnell: "A trailblazer. Passionate conservative and one heck of a journalist. RIP, Mike."
Anthony J. Ferate: "Oklahoma has lost a legend with Mike McCarville's departure of this vale of tears. May peace be with his family and all Oklahomans that regarded him as I did. May his memory be a blessing."
Cam Edwards (NRA): "Mike McCarville was my friend and mentor. Please keep his family, including his wife of 55 years, Ann, in your thoughts and prayers."
Howard Houchen: "Legendary Hall of Fame Journalist/Broadcaster, Mike McCarville passed away at 4:15am this morning. I thought the world of "Sir Mike" and valued his advice and political stories over the years. He will be missed, never forgotten."
Ed Goeas: "Rest in Peace Mike. My prayers go out to both him and his wonderful family. In forty years of working Oklahoma campaigns I always found him to be one of the top “GO TO” voices of Oklahoma."
Mike Edwards: "Saddened to hear of the passing of Mike McCarville. He was a trailblazer and giant in covering Oklahoma politics for decades. Before Drudge, before the Huffington Post, there was The McCarville Report. I will truly miss reading his insight and analysis."
Charles Hill (also a blog post here): "This local media scene owes much of its very existence to Mike McCarville: he was blogging before there were any such things as blogs. RIP."