Tuesday, January 31, 2012

District 2 Republican Congressional Debate tonight

Rogers State University Public TV and the Claremore Daily Progress are hosting a live, televised debate this evening with the Republican candidates for the 2nd Congressional District.

"This is the first major debate in this race, and I am excited to have this opportunity to share my message with the voters of the 2nd District," said George Faught. He will join fellow candidates Markwayne Mullin, Wayne Pettigrew, Dustin Rowe, Dwayne Thompson and Dakota Wood in the first (and possibly only) televised forum of the race.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb will be moderating the debate, which will consist of three rounds of questions, in addition to opening and closing remarks.

RSU Public Television (based out of Claremore) will be airing the debate live starting at 7:00pm. RSU-TV broadcasts on digital channel 35.1 and 35.2, Tulsa and Claremore COX cable channel 19, Cable Channel 4 in Bartlesville and satellite channel 35 across northeastern Oklahoma. In addition to being televised, the debate will also be available online, as RSU will be live-streaming it on their website.

For those who can't watch tonight, RSU-TV will be posting the entire debate on RSUPublicTV.org on February 1st.

The debate begins at 7:00pm.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Romney and Gingrich: "Who's on First?"

Contrary to what the title might seem to indicate, this post isn't about who is the front-runner in the GOP presidential race. Instead, it takes a slight break from actual political news...

Check out this video someone put together, featuring Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich "performing" Abbott and Costello's classic sketch 'Who's on first?'


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich

Former presidential candidate Herman Cain announced today via Twitter that he is endorsing Newt Gingrich for President.

The news came via a tweet Cain posted at 9:19pm EST, that read "I am officially endorsing @NewtGingrich for President of the United States!"

After dropping out of the race in early December, Cain was noncommittal on whether he would endorse a candidate or not. The Florida Republican primary, which is very important for both Gingrich and his main opponent Mitt Romney, is coming up on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Three candidates, three states: Newt takes South Carolina

Rick Santorum learned this week that he actually did squeak out a 34-vote victory in the Iowa Caucus. Mitt Romney held on to a commanding lead in New Hampshire, and won the first-in-the-nation primary.

Now, in a very apropos manner, given how turbulent this race has been, Newt Gingrich has taken a dominating lead, and will win South Carolina. As of 7:30pm (CST), with 35.8% reporting, the results are Gingrich 40.4%, Romney 26.2%, Santorum 18.1%, and Paul in last with 13.4%.

Three states. Three different victors.

The next primary will be in Florida, on January 31st.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Faught invites voters to submit questions

George Faught Invites Voters to 'Join the Conversation'
Asks voters of the 2nd District to share the issues that are most important to them

(Muskogee, OK)  George Faught, candidate for U.S. Congress in Oklahoma’s 2nd District, announced the launch of a “Join the Conversation” initiative on his website and social media.

Faught is inviting District 2 voters to have their voice heard during an upcoming Rogers State University Republican Congressional Candidate Debate held on January 31st at 7:00pm and broadcasted live on RSU Public TV.

During the second round of questions, each of the six candidates will be asking another hopeful a question. “While I could try to stump another candidate with a ‘gotcha’ question, I believe that the voters of the 2nd District deserve better. The future of our country is at stake, and we should be serious about finding real solutions to the problems,” Faught said.

“The purpose of this debate is to allow you, the voter, to get to know each of the candidates’ stand on the issues important to the 2nd District and the state of Oklahoma so that you can pick the person whom you can trust to represent your values in Washington, D.C.”

“So, I’m asking you – not the politicians or pundits – to send me your thoughts and questions that you want to see addressed at the debate.  I want to ask a question about an issue that is important to the constituents of the Second District.”

“I encourage you, the voters of the 2nd District, to click ’Join the Conversation’ on GeorgeFaught.com or my Facebook page, and fill out the form provided to submit your questions, concerns, and comments for the January 31st debate.”

In other recent news from the campaign, Faught announced his opposition to the SOPA/PIPA legislation in Congress, and is holding a 'Bluejeans and Bluegrass BBQ' fundraiser in Muskogee this evening. Click here for more details about the event.

Longtime owner and operator of a successful carpet cleaning business, Rep. Faught lives in Muskogee with his wife, Becky, and is the father of three grown children - all born and raised in Muskogee. You can learn more about George and his campaign by visiting his website, and by following him on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Blogging Milestone: 100,000 Visits

This morning, someone from Phoenix, Arizona, became 'Visitor #100,000' to MuskogeePolitico.com. In just under three and a half years, this blog has had 1,092 posts, 869 comments, and now over 100,000 hits.

I have greatly enjoyed my blogging experience, and look forward to more to come in the future. Thank you so much for reading my many 'Musings' over the past few years!

On to the next hundred thousand hits!

Jamison Faught
Blogger, MuskogeePolitico.com

I recently began accepting advertisements on my blog. If you would like information, click here.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reynolds files bill to restrict state hiring of ex-legislators

OKLAHOMA CITY (January 9, 2012) – State Rep. Mike Reynolds has filed legislation to eliminate loopholes that allow state lawmakers to accept high-paying state jobs after leaving the Oklahoma Legislature.

House Bill 2194 would make it illegal for any Oklahoma lawmaker to take a state government job that pays more than the base legislative salary. The ban would be in place for two years after a legislator steps down from his elective position.

“If lawmakers can be good public servants while earning $38,000 in the Oklahoma Legislature, they should be able to do the same thing at the same salary if they want to continue working in state government,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “Most importantly, this legislation will end the perception that some legislators have used their political connections to feather their nest with cushy government jobs after they leave elective office.”

Although there is currently a ban on lawmakers taking state jobs for two years after the end of their terms in office, that ban applies only to positions funded directly by legislative appropriations. That loophole has allowed lawmakers to accept jobs paid with federal dollars or fee revenue that is not appropriated.

“I think Oklahoma citizens have made it clear that they do not want legislators to work in state government immediately following the end of their terms in office to reduce the chance of someone selling votes for a job,” Reynolds said. “By ensuring lawmakers can only take positions paying the same as the base legislative salary, we can end the perception of corruption that troubles so many Oklahoma citizens.”

Reynolds files this bill after controversy erupted in early 2011 over three ex-legislators receiving state jobs right after leaving office.

  • State Sen. Glenn Coffee was appointed by Governor Mary Fallin to serve as Secretary of State; Coffee had left the state senate in 2010 due to term limits. 
  • State Sen. Randy Brogdon was hired by Insurance Commissioner John Doak to work in the Insurance Department; Brogdon had left the state senate in 2010 to run for governor.
  • State Rep. Mike Thompson was hired by Insurance Commissioner John Doak to work in the Insurance Department; Thompson had left the state house in 2010 to run for Congress.

In the case of the three men, each of their salaries was paid for by agency-collected fees, in order to comply with the ban on ex-legislators being paid with legislatively-appropriated dollars for two years after leaving office. 

Former State Sen. Owen Laughlin also took a position with Commissioner Doak, but unlike the others, Laughlin had been out of office for four years, making his hiring clearly above any controversy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

First votes from NH: Dixville Notch and Hart's Location

Political novelties Dixville Notch and Hart's Location, two tiny hamlets in New Hampshire, have cast their votes in the GOP primary. The communities are allowed by law to open voting right after midnight, and close when all registered voters complete voting (usually within minutes).

The GOP primary results from the two "first in the nation" locations:

  • Mitt Romney: 7
  • Ron Paul: 5
  • Jon Huntsman: 4
  • Newt Gingrich: 2
  • Rick Perry: 1

Barack Obama received ten votes in the Democratic primary.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Pinnell: isn't it our job to grow the GOP?

Moving in Mass
by Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell

"If we move in mass, be it ever so circuitously, we shall attain our object; but if we break into squads, everyone pursuing the path he thinks most direct, we become an easy conquest to those who can now barely hold us in check." --Thomas Jefferson, 1811

It's safe to say we are in the midst of a very heated GOP Presidential Primary season. We have quality candidates all vying to be the conservative alternative to Barack Obama. For the most part it's a healthy process, but we must heed the wise words of Jefferson and avoid becoming an easy conquest after the dust settles on this season.

Let's take Iowa, for example. The Iowa Caucus is now a wrap with a Romney, Santorum, Paul photo finish. There were quotes from "Party insiders" in Iowa and nationally that were concerned about Ron Paul's support among independents and Democrats in the Hawkeye state. Excuse me for asking the question that some within our Party won't like, but is it not our job to move Independents and Democrats in the Republican column?

When discussing Dr. Paul’s base or Tea Party voters for that matter, many scream "but they aren't Republicans!" Folks, if there's one thing I've learned from being the Chairman of a partisan political party it's that we are not always going to see eye to eye. Same goes for the Democrats. Nearly 60% of Independents voting in Iowa this year were first time caucus goers. Why again is that a bad thing? If we don't welcome these disenfranchised Independents and Democrats (many of whom are young) into the Republican Party then I'm terribly concerned for the future of it.

Republicans love using Reagan quotes to defend everything. Ok then, here's one for you: “Our task now is not to sell a philosophy, but to make the majority of Americans, who already share that philosophy, see that modern conservatism offers them a political home.” Let them in. Let them in in droves, then make them see that our Party offers them a home.

Some will choose to leave after awhile – that’s fine – but many won't. Many will choose to stay, and help, and grow our Party. Remember those Reagan Democrats? George Will rightly noted recently, "Those who were once called Reagan Democrats are now the GOP base." We let them in, and they stayed. On the other hand, if we choose to close ourselves off to anyone that doesn't look like us or sound like us or agree with us on every issue then it will be become extremely difficult for a Republican to ever move back into the White House.

We saw what conservatives were capable of when we moved in mass in 2010. It was precisely what was deemed necessary back in the mid 50's, when Frank Meyer, a founding editor of William F. Buckley’s National Review, laid out the possibility--and necessity--of what he called “fusionism,” a union of social conservatives and those of a more libertarian, free-market mindset.

Once the dust settles and we have a nominee, that moving in mass, that fusionism, is critical. And if we don't? America will, as Ann Coulter put it, "begin its ineluctable descent into becoming a worthless Western European country, with rotten health care, no money for defense and ever-increasing federal taxes to support the nanny state."

You want that? Stay home. Everybody else, however, that believes Obama must go, let's move in mass with the GOP nominee--be it ever so circuitously--and save this country.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous', Oklahoma Education edition

Americans For Prosperity Oklahoma recently released the following video, highlighting what they call excessive salaries among Oklahoma school superintendents.

AFP-OK State Director Stuart Jolly pointed out that 202 Oklahoma superintendents make over $100,000 per year. "22 school superintendents made more than $147,000, which is the salary of Governor Mary Fallin," Jolly said.

The video compares superintendent salaries with those of two-star Army generals, an Army colonel, the governor and lieutenant governor, and the average Oklahoma family's income (hint: even the general is out-ranked in pay by many school superintendents).

Friday, January 06, 2012

OKGOP has second best off-year fundraising year on record

OKGOP Announces Successful Fundraising Year

(Oklahoma City)- Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell today announced the completion of one of the most successful fundraising years in an off-election year in Oklahoma Republican Party history. Over the course of 2011, the OKGOP set new records for amounts raised in two of the four fundraising quarters, and ended the year with the second best off-year on record raising over $454,000, second only to the 2007 off-election year under then Chairman Gary Jones and Victory Director Matt Pinnell.

The OKGOP is bound by both Oklahoma Ethics Commission and Federal Election Commission rules which limit the amount an individual can contribute and bans corporate contributions.

"To be able to raise over $450,000 in an off-year with the strict contribution limits we have is very rewarding," said Chairman Pinnell. "This puts us ahead of schedule as we enter one of the most crucial election cycles in a generation. It's going to take money and boots on the ground to ensure that Barack Obama is a one-term President. The fact that Oklahomans have generously contributed to our Party--and continue to do so--puts us on strong financial footing. Oklahomans have said loud and clear with their financial investment that Obama must go. We look forward to working with voters and activists all across this state to make that a reality."

All eyes turn to South Carolina...

After the closer-than-a-hair finish in Iowa, sparked by the Santorum Surge, all eyes are now on South Carolina.

After squeaking out a plurality in Iowa by eight votes (which some are already calling into question), Mitt Romney goes into New Hampshire this Tuesday as the overwhelming favorite. The latest Rasmussen poll puts Romney at 42%, with Ron Paul at 18% and Rick Santorum at 13%. However, given Romney's history in the state, and the fact that he governed in next-door Massachusetts, that is not unexpected.

As Mark B. Lowe on Race42012.com posted this morning, We all know the old political adage, “Three tickets out of Iowa, two out of New Hampshire”. For a while now, a third phrase has been added to it, “One out of South Carolina”. Since 1980, the winner of the South Carolina primary has ended up being the eventual GOP presidential nominee.

The Rasmussen poll in South Carolina finds a close race between Romney at 27% and Santorum at 24%. Santorum was at 1% in the last poll taken by Rasmussen - an astounding surge! If they do not finish first or second, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry will probably end their campaigns, as there will be no momentum or reason to continue.

South Carolina votes on January 21st, and will most likely again decide the Republican presidential nominee.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Iowa Caucus - final thoughts, predictions

The day has finally arrived - the 2012 presidential primary officially kicks off today with the Iowa Caucuses this evening. Who will emerge as the winners tonight? Let's take a closer look at the candidates.

Mitt Romney should be the clear leader in Iowa. He has the money, the name recognition, the organization, the past campaign experience in the state...... yet he has struggled to break above the low 20's in polling. Iowans, like most of the rest of the country, clearly are hesitant about him. Romney's support has stayed fairly consistent throughout the year, while practically every other candidate has leapfrogged him to the lead (and subsequently plummeted while the next 'Not Romney' candidate took the lead). I think that Romney faces a very real possibility of coming in third in Iowa. Will it hurt him? I don't think it damages him too much, because next week is the New Hampshire primary, where he has a formidable 20+ point lead. Iowa is more about who will challenge Romney than how much it helps or hurts Romney.

It's no coincidence that two of the top candidates in Iowa were candidates in 2008. Ron Paul has an extensive network in this state that stems from his previous presidential run - an advantage that only Romney also enjoys among the other candidates. Polling showed Paul leading or tied with Romney until about a week ago, when his numbers slipped a few points. While I think he will be in the top three, I don't think that the undecideds will break heavily in Paul's favor, instead going to candidates like Santorum and Perry.

Santorum has been surging here in the last week and a half - fruit from spending almost his entire campaign in Iowa. Nobody has visited the state more, and it looks to finally be paying off. A week ago, he was in sixth place. Now he's in third, with an upward trajectory. More so than any other candidate, Santorum needs a top three finish in Iowa, but preferably a top two. He has practically no ground game anywhere else, so his path to the nomination depends on momentum out of Iowa. Coming in fourth kills his campaign; however, I think he has a real possibility of finishing first.

Like Paul, Perry, Bachmann, and Herman Cain, Gingrich peaked in Iowa too early. Third place looks like the best possible scenario that Gingrich can achieve at this point, but that is pretty unlikely. Gingrich's ground organization doesn't appear to be as well organized as other candidates, a key component of performing well in caucuses. He needs new life breathed into his campaign, and a poor showing in Iowa will not help his fading chances in the next states.

Perry's campaign appears to have recovered some from its earlier doldrums, and can likely jump into fourth in Iowa. A third place finish which would be very big for his campaign, but I don't think it will happen. He seems to have a good organization on the ground, and has enough money to fund operations in multiple states (unlike Santorum, Bachmann, Huntsman, and possibly Gingrich). Perry needs a good showing in Iowa in order to show viability; a fifth or sixth place would be detrimental to his campaign.

Bachmann has to perform well in Iowa. She has staked most of her campaign on the state, and at one time was the frontrunner here (a title nearly every candidate has owned at one point or another). Unfortunately for her, polling just isn't showing a new spark of life - she currently is in sixth in just about every poll out there. She needs to be fourth to really justify continuing her campaign.

Huntsman opted to not compete in Iowa, and is instead focusing solely on the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday. His hope is for Romney to do poorly in Iowa, in order to make the case to New Hampshire voters that Romney can't win, leaving Huntsman as the viable option.

How will it end up?

I'm going to take a stab and jot down some thoughts on the results.
Santorum - 23%
Romney - 21%
Paul - 20%
Perry - 15%
Gingrich - 10%
Bachmann - 9%
Huntsman - 2%
Other - <1%
Comment with your predictions, here or on Facebook, and see how close you get to the final results.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 has now drawn to a close, and as 2012 begins, I'd like to take a few moments to thank you for reading my Musings over the past few years. Writing a blog has been a very enjoyable hobby, but it wouldn't have been as good an experience without you, the readers.

As wild and interesting as 2011 was, I think 2012 will surpass it. Keep an eye here for my take on everything that occurs in the coming year!

Jamison Faught
Blogger, MuskogeePolitico.com

P.S.  2 Corinthians 5:17 is a good scripture verse to reflect on as we enter a new year: 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.'  Much like a new year illustrates a new beginning, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ results in a new beginning, a changed life. It is my prayer that if you have not experienced the salvation that comes through Christ, you will do so this year.