Monday, January 07, 2019

OKGOP removes House Pro Tem from State Committee for supporting Democrat


Some reporting over the weekend from SoonerPolitics.org:
Representative Harold Wright (R-Weatherford) was expelled by the Oklahoma Republican Party's ruling State Committee, today. The action took place at the State Committee meeting, in Edmond, OK.

OKGOP's national committeeman, Steve Curry, presented a letter of the OKGOP Executive Committee, advising action for Wright's actions, funding the campaign of a Democrat nominee(Jeff Berrong) for a state senate seat. Wright, who took money from the OKGOP for his own election, funneled at least $1000 to the Democrat effort, according to campaign reporting documents with the state Ethics Commission. Meanwhile, the OKGOP was funding the campaign of the Republican nominee(Brent Howard).

Republican legislators are granted inclusion in the ruling body of the OKGOP, by being in elective office. Wright has been a State Committee member for several years.

Canadian County Chairman, Andrew Lopez made the motion on Harold Wright's immediate removal. Former National Committeeman, Steve Fair seconded the motion. The final vote was nearly unanimous with one lone voice voting 'nay'.
Last year, Rep. Wright (Conservative Performance Index score of -10.7filed legislation that would gut SQ640's taxpayer protection against easy tax increases. Read more comments from the SoonerPolitics story at this link.

Wright was removed from the OKGOP State Committee under State Party Rule 19(g), which lists "Publicly supporting or endorsing an opponent of candidates of the Republican Party." as grounds for removal from official party committees. I've since been told that Wright sent fundraising letters on the Democrat candidate's behalf and allowed his name and photo to be used in supportive mailers.

Of note, Representative Carol Bush ("R"-Tulsa, CPI score of -24.3) has not yet been removed for her role in assisting the campaign of Democrat Kendra Horn, who unseated 5th District Republican Congressman Steve Russell in the 2018 election. Horn, whose first vote was to elect Nancy Pelosi as U.S. House Speaker, touted Bush's endorsement throughout the campaign.
Rep. Carol Bush (R) speaking at the campaign kickoff rally for Kendra Horn (D)

While Wright's donation to a Democratic candidate ultimately had no lasting consequence due to the Republican candidate's victory, Bush's very early support for a Democratic candidate who ultimately knocked off an incumbent GOP congressman had greater and more lasting effect.

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