Sunday, June 24, 2018

My picks for the 2018 Oklahoma GOP primary


Early and absentee voting is underway for the 2018 Oklahoma primary, with the bulk of ballots to be cast on Tuesday. As is my custom, I will be discussing my picks for the Republican primary in this post.

Some of these candidates I am in wholehearted support of. Others will receive my vote with some reservations or primarily because the other options are worse. If I've written a separate post on a particular race or candidate, their name will be hyperlinked, and you can read in more detail by clicking the link. Candidates that I enthusiastically support will be in bold.

Governor: Gary Richardson
I have never been an undecided voter as long on a top race before. While I can live with all but Cornett, I have settled (for reasons detailed at this link) on Gary Richardson.

Lieutenant Governor: Matt Pinnell
I 100% support Matt Pinnell, and anticipate him making a great Lieutenant Governor.

State Auditor: Cindy Byrd
As Deputy State Auditor under Gary Jones, Byrd has been an major part of the work the Auditor's office has done during Jones' tenure. In the last eight years, she has uncovered over $10M in fraud and waste, leading to the indictment or resignation of six elected officials. She will carry on that stellar performance, and will continue to uncover waste in government. She has earned the endorsement of State Auditor Gary Jones, and I concur with his pick.

The Auditor's race is almost always an afterthought, but one of the most crucial offices that we as Oklahomans vote on. If we get it right, the potential for holding government accountable and uncovering waste goes up. Get it wrong and corruption gets hidden.

Attorney General: Angela Bonilla
The winner of this race will be either Mike Hunter, who is filling out Scott Pruitt's term, or Gentner Drummond. The extremely negative tenor both Hunter's and Drummond's campaigns is repulsive to me, and I am disinclined to vote for either of them. This race has been a vicious and petty knock-down-drag-out riot. By virtue of the chosen method of campaigning, they have both exhibited the worst stereotypes of slick, dirty lawyers slinging mud at each other. I'm disgusted enough to simply "opt out" and vote for Bonilla, who has done extremely little as far as any campaigning goes.

State Superintendent: Linda Murphy
Incumbent Joy Hofmeister is in the pocket of the leftist unions that are the biggest problem facing education in Oklahoma. Linda Murphy led the charge against Common Core, and will bring much-needed reforms to the State Department of Education.

Labor Commissioner: Cathy Costello
Cathy Costello will continue the work done by her late husband, Labor Commissioner Mark Costello. She is facing Leslie Osborn, who over the past few years has compromised and tossed aside just about every conservative principle she once espoused. Osborn led the charge for higher taxes, voted to make it easier for the Legislature to raise taxes, and called for war to be waged against the principled conservatives in the Legislature. Tom Coburn has endorsed Costello, and I fully support her candidacy as well.

Insurance Commissioner: Donald Chasteen
I know next to nothing about this man other than his claims of conservatism and what Michael Bates wrote. His opponent, and the odds-on favorite, is State Rep. Glen Mulready. Like Leslie Osborn, Mulready gets my opposition due to voting to weaken SQ640 and make it easier for the Legislature to raise taxes.

Corporation Commissioner: Bob Anthony
While I am not a fan of his having been on the Corporation Commissioner since before I was born, I do believe Anthony has been a solid conservative in his position (the same can't be said for most who have been on the Commission). His challenger is former State Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, who ended his legislative career with a less-than-satisfactory Conservative Index score of 59. This is Anthony's last eligible race due to term limits.

1st Congressional District: Andy Coleman
I have been thoroughly impressed with Andy Coleman's campaign. The fact that the House Freedom Caucus feels comfortable enough to have embraced him so fully speaks volumes for him, while Kevin Hern's campaign has been supported by the moderate establishment wing of the DC GOP. I believe that Andy Coleman will make a great replacement for Jim Bridenstine, who was probably Oklahoma's most conservative Congressman since Tom Coburn's days in the U.S. House.

2nd Congressional District: Jarrin Jackson
I supported Jarrin Jackson in 2016, and still support his candidacy today. As a proven and blatant pledge-breaker, Markwayne Mullin cannot be trusted. Jarrin Jackson has the best chance at taking him out.

Legislative races
The future direction of the Oklahoma Legislature is at stake this primary season. This past few legislative sessions, conservatives in the Legislature have fought and stood up for the taxpayer against an overwhelming onslaught of higher taxes and liberal policies, pushed by their own GOP leadership and governor. Freshmen classes for the last several elections have been major disappointments, co-opted by power-hungry moderates who have decided to wage civil war on conservatives.

It is vitally important that proven conservative incumbents be reelected, and that new conservatives win in open seats or oust liberal compromisers.

I don't know about candidates in all of the races, but I feel comfortable enough to make the following recommendations.

SD2: Sen. Marty Quinn
SD4: Sen. Mark Allen
SD6: David Bullard
SD40: Joe Howell -- absolutely not Ervin Yen

HD5: Josh Russell
HD8: Rep. Tom Gann
HD10: Rep. Travis Dunlap
HD12: Nick Mahoney
HD14: Rep. George Faught
HD16: Justin Calvert
HD20: Rep. Bobby Cleveland
HD36: Rep. Sean Roberts
HD41: Denise Hader
HD61: Colton Buckley
HD63: Rep. Jeff Coody
HD66: Emily DeLozier
HD67: Rep. Scott McEachin
HD68: Nicole Nixon
HD69: Rep. Chuck Strohm
HD76: Shelley Brumbaugh
HD79: Dan Hicks
HD80: Rep. Mike Ritze
HD83: Jason Reese
HD101: Rep. Tess Teague

State Question 788 (Medical Marijuana legalization): No
While I have friends on both sides of this, I have enough concerns with the proposal to opt for a No vote.

Tulsa County Assessor: John Wright
Oklahoma County Assessor: Larry Stein
Oklahoma County Commissioner: Kevin Calvey

OTHER VIEWPOINTS:

Michael Bates of BatesLine.com has a great series of posts with his thoughts on the primaries here. I agree with almost everything he wrote.
Charles Phipps of OKPolitechs has why he will vote no on SQ788 here.
KFAQ's Pat Campbell has done radio interviews with many statewide and legislative candidates here.

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