Friday, March 29, 2013

Meet the Candidates: Dave Weston, OKGOP Chair hopeful

David Weston, candidate for Oklahoma Republican Party chairman

Following Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell's announcement that he will not be seeking reelection, and Vice-Chair Pam Pollard's similar statement, delegates to the OKGOP's 2013 state convention will be electing brand new leaders for both top positions in the state GOP.

I have contacted each of the publicly announced candidates for these two offices, and have received a response from a candidate for Chairman. As I hear back from additional candidates for Chair or Vice-Chair, their responses (or non-responses) will be posted.

First up, Dave Weston.

1. Tell us a little bit about your personal side.
Oklahoma State University, B.S., Agricultural Economics. Seventeen years of marriage to wife Tyra. Three children: Tanner (14), Savana (12) and Sela (10). Resident of Lexington since 1997. Member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Purcell, OK. Dave has spent twenty plus years in the Financial Industry. For the past six years he has worked as the Manager of Operations and Marketing for an Investment Advisory Firm which manages over $150 million in customer assets.

2. What involvement have you had in the past with the Republican Party (from precinct-level to RNC)? If possible, include approximate dates.
Dave started attending the Cleveland County Men’s Luncheon in 2001 and served as Treasurer from 2002 until 2004. He participated in Steve Largent’s gubernatorial campaign in 2002. He also served as local precinct Chairman and Cleveland District Committeeman during that time. In 2004, Dave served as Victory Coordinator for Cleveland County where over 200 volunteers were recruited to distribute over 13,000 packets of literature. Over 17,000 phone calls were logged and volunteers were posted at all of the home OU football games as a part of the GOP campaign surge.

From 2005-2006, Dave served as Finance Director for the Oklahoma Republican Party, recruiting Senator Sam Brownback, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Senator John McCain to headline fundraising events. Dave also coordinated the direct mail fundraising and telemarketing efforts, and served as the Statewide Voter Vault Coordinator during this time.

In 2007-2008, Dave supported the Oklahoma Division of Huck’s Army as Grassroots Coordinator and was selected as an At-Large Alternate Delegate to the 2008 National Convention in Minneapolis.

Dave worked in 2009-2010 for Congressman James Lankford’s successful election and during 2011-2012, worked for Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s campaign. During both operations Dave was involved in establishing campaign management software; developing strategies for grassroots outreach and fundraising; managing campaign data; targeting favorable voters, and establishing voter ID and voter turnout.

3. Do you currently hold any Republican Party office?
Dave currently serves on the Cleveland County GOP Executive Committee

4. What political involvement have you had outside of the Republican Party (i.e. campaigns, elected office, political groups, etc.)? If possible, include approximate dates.
(Please see question 2)

5. There have been eight state conventions in the last decade; how many have you attended (and which)?
There have been eight conventions and two State GOP rallies and Dave has attended every one except the 2007 Convention

6. What prompted you to run for this office?
Personal conviction and the affirmation several people whom I respect.

7. What are your top priorities if elected chairman?
  • Voter registration-we must become the majority party in voter registrations
  • Rebuild the County Parties from the precinct level
  • Send our republican delegation intact back to the beltway
  • Re-elect our statewide officeholders
  • Maintain GOP super-majorities in the State House and Senate
  • Expand GOP officeholders from the State House to the Courthouse

8. What five issues should the Republican Party focus on politically?
We don't need to change our message, we need to stay true to our core founding principles and improve the delivery of our message to mobilize our base.

9. List some of the individuals who are publicly supporting your candidacy that delegates might recognize.
National Committeeman Steve Fair; State Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones; Congressman Jim Bridenstine; former Representative George Faught.

10. Here's your closing statement - cover whatever you want to talk about.
I see two challenges which threaten our future. The first is complacency. We cannot afford to replace optimism with contentment. As has been said: “The arrogance of success is to think that what we did yesterday is good enough for tomorrow.” The second is discord. We can fight each other for control while our adversary marches on, or we can come together and work to achieve common goals. As Sallust explained: “Small communities grow great through harmony, great ones fall to pieces through discord.” To keep moving forward, we must grant each other the grace of a short-term memory when we have been offended.
Thank you for participating, Dave!

You can find more information about Dave Weston at his campaign website. I will post other interviews from additional candidates when I receive them.

Current candidates for OKGOP Chair:
Dave Weston -- survey here
Amanda Teegarden -- survey here

Current candidates for OKGOP Vice-Chair:
Denise Crosswhite Hader -- survey here
Sara Jo Odom -- survey here
Richard Engle -- survey here

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pollard announces she won't run at state convention

Current Oklahoma Republican Party Vice-Chair Pam Pollard announced today that she would not be seeking re-election, or run to replace outgoing chairman Matt Pinnell.

Her official announcement:
"After months of prayers and discussions with my family and Church I have decided NOT to run for Oklahoma Republican Party State Chairman. Having served as Vice-Chair for the last 2 years I know first hand the time commitment required for this position. This truly is a 24 hour a day job and those that know me know when I take on a project I give 110% of my heart and energy to it. My family knows this as well and want me in THEIR lives more. The centerpiece on my dinner table says "God, Family and Country". Looking at that each day I realize now is the time to choose God and Family over Country and I am very, very happy with my choice.

As I look forward to the opportunities, I look back on the friendships I have made, the goals accomplished as Vice Chair and the joy of working with leaders such a Chairman Matt Pinnell. I am proud of the past and excited about the future!

Please remember me in your prayers and I look forward to seeing you at the State Convention.

Pam Pollard
Vice Chairman, Oklahoma Republican Party
At present, David Weston is the only announced candidate for Chairman, while Denise Crosswhite Hader and Sara Jo Odom are running for Vice-Chair.*  I plan to do a series of posts on each candidate between now and the state convention, so stay tuned to learn more about these individuals.

*  If you know of any other candidates, send an email to

Monday, March 25, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness Championship

Let the 'Championship' begin. It's up to you to determine the 2016 GOP nominee! Okay, not exactly, but at least the winner of this competition (although, the winner of 2012 GOP Primary Madness did become the nominee).  Polls will be open until Sunday, March 31st. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

CHAMPIONSHIP: Palin vs. Paul

2016 GOP Primary Madness, 'Final Four' results

The Final Four of our 2016 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):

After jumping to early leads, both Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee fell to their respective opponents. Over 940 votes were cast in the Santorum vs. Palin contest, easily the most-contested race of the round (698 votes were cast in the Paul vs. Huckabee matchup). If you click on the above links, you can see how each state voted in this round; pretty interesting stuff.

Voting in the Championship round begins tomorrow morning, and will continue through Sunday.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Muskogee County GOP to give more college scholarships

Muskogee County Republican Party to award 2013 scholarships

The Muskogee County Republican Party is awarding $500 College Scholarships to 2 first year college freshman from Muskogee County who meet the following criteria:
  • Have at least a 3 point grade average their senior year.
  • If 18 years of age, be a registered Republican
  • (If student is not 18, one parent must currently be a registered Republican.)
  • Must be a first year freshman Fall 2013
Students meeting the above criteria may turn in an application to an officer of the Muskogee County Republican Party, mail to P.O. Box 2278, Muskogee, OK 74402, or e-mail no later than Saturday, April 5th. 

An appointment will then be set for an interview with ‘The Muskogee Republican Scholarship Team’ prior to April 12th. 

Be prepared to explain:
  • Your future plans!
  • Special interests (hobbies, etc)!
  • Your take on the ‘current political climate’!
  • Can you name the top political offices, both state and national

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness, Final Four

Let the 'Final Four' begin! Polls will be open until Monday, March 25th. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

Final Four: Division 'A' vs. Division 'B'

Final Four: Division 'C' vs. Division 'D'

2016 GOP Primary Madness, 'Elite Eight' results

The Elite Eight of our 2016 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):

The closest matchup was in Division 'D', where Mike Huckabee received 52% to Mike Pence's 48%. This week, the Palin vs. Bachmann race got the most attention, with 412 votes cast. Rick Santorum's defeat of top-seed Marco Rubio makes him the only candidate in the Final Four who is not a No. 1 seed.

Voting in the Final Four round begins tomorrow morning, and will continue through Monday.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rand Paul wins CPAC 2013 Straw Poll

The 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), hosted by the American Conservative Union, started Thursday, and concludes today. Preliminary results from the CPAC Straw Poll were just released.

  1. Rand Paul - 25%
  2. Marco Rubio - 23%
  3. Rick Santorum - 8%
  4. Chris Christie - 7%
  5. Paul Ryan - 6%
  6. Scott Walker - 5%
  7. Benjamin Carson - 4%
  8. Ted Cruz - 4%
  9. Bobby Jindal - 3%
  10. Sarah Palin - 3%
  11. Other - 14%
  12. Undecided - 1%
More details will be released about the straw poll later.

You can vote in the Primary Madness at this link (currently in the Elite 8).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness, Elite 8

Let the 'Elite Eight' begin! Polls will be open until Tuesday, March 19th. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

Division 'A', Elite Eight

Division 'B', Elite Eight

Division 'C', Elite Eight 

Division 'D', Elite Eight

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness Sweet Sixteen results

The Sweet Sixteen of our 2016 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):

Sarah Palin squeaked out a victory over Nikki Haley, 51%-49%. Mike Pence defeating Jeb Bush 71%-29% was the only instance of a lower seed beating a higher seed. Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee received nearly identical votes (182 and 185), and both topped out the field at 75%. The Santorum vs. Jindal matchup got the most votes in this round.

Voting in the Elite 8 round begins tomorrow morning, and will continue through Monday. Click here to go vote.

Lankford in top 25 Most Frugal Congressmembers of 2012

click on graphic to view larger

Recent figures released by the U.S. House of Representatives show that Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford (R-Dist. 5) was among the most fiscally frugal Representatives in Washington in 2012. Lankford used 78.74% of his allocated office budget of $1,370,399, making him the 17th lowest spender in the House.

With the sequester, members will have to cut 8.2% from their budget - and according to Jamie Dupree, some will have a harder time doing so than others (120 Congressmembers spent over 95% of their budgets in 2012, while only 22 spent less than 80%). Each member has a different sized budget (no district is the same, and there are numerous factors that relate to specific budget amounts per district), so percentages tell more than raw numbers when comparing spending.

Oklahoma's five members ranked accordingly (out of 435):

17 of the top 25 most frugal members were Republican, while 7 were Democratic.

Other members of note:
  • 1st - Jim Jordan (R-OH): spent 63.35%, the least of all. Jordan chaired the Republican Study Committee (the conservative wing of the GOP caucus)
  • 9th - Justin Amash (R-MI): spent 75.83%. Rising libertarian/conservative star who explains every vote he casts on his Facebook page.
  • 25th - Paul Ryan (R-WI): spent 81.41%. Chairman of the House Budget Committee. 2012 GOP VP nominee.
  • 40th - Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): spent 82.90%. House Minority Leader.
  • 56th - John Boehner (R-OH): spent 84.15%. Speaker of the House.
  • 64th - Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): spent 84.91%. Majority Whip.
  • 102nd - Allen West (R-FL): spent 87.29%. Tea Party star, defeated in 2012 election.
  • 144th - Pete Sessions (R-TX): spent 89.31%. Former NRCC Chairman.
  • 166th - Steny Hoyer (D-MD): spent 90.38%. Minority Whip.
  • 197th - Eric Cantor (R-VA): spent 91.22%. House Majority Leader.
  • 219th - Barney Frank (D-MA): spent 91.85%. No longer in office.
  • 281st - Michele Bachmann (R-MN): spent 93.82%. 2012 presidential primary candidate.
  • 350th - Steve Scalise (R-LA): spent 95.84%. Replaced Jim Jordan as 2013 RSC Chairman.
  • 360th - Debbie Wasserman Schulz (D-FL): spent 96.12%. DNC Chairwoman.
  • 399th - Ron Paul (R-TX): spent 97.30%. 2008 and 2012 presidential primary candidate. Libertarian hero.
  • 403rd - Mike Pence (R-IN): spent 97.41%. Now Governor of Indiana.
  • 404th - Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): spent 97.44%. 2008 presidential primary candidate. Lost in primary 2012.
  • 430th - Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL): spent 98.98%. Set to go to prison for campaign fraud.
  • 435th - Nan Hayworth (R-NY): spent 99.91%, the most of all. Lost re-election bid.

Here is the entire list:

State Senate goes into rare executive session

Photo courtesy of @ZekeCampfield

Yesterday, for the first time in perhaps thirty years, the Oklahoma State Senate went into executive session, ushering out all visitors and press, and guarding the doors for an extremely rare private discussion among the members (allegedly on "Senate traditions and decorum").

Click here to read more from the Oklahoman.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness, Round 1 Results

2016 GOP Primary Madness, Sweet Sixteen

Let the 'Sweet Sixteen' begin! Polls will be open until Tuesday, March 12th. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

Division 'A', Sweet Sixteen

Division 'B', Sweet Sixteen

Division 'C', Sweet Sixteen

Division 'D', Sweet Sixteen

UPDATE: Click here to vote in the Elite 8 round.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

RedState: Bridenstine among "gold standard for House conservatives"

Rep. Jim Bridenstine and Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) made an effort to include the defunding of ObamaCare in the Continuing Resolution that the House passed today. Their amendment was rejected.

Oklahoma Republicans will find this article by Erick Erickson posted on today:
Sixteen Republicans voted against the rule on the continuing resolution. Sixteen.

I actually thought we would get about eight.

Sixteen is a good number.

Several of them have other ambitions. Two who surprised me were Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston of Georgia, who I suspect did not want to get beaten up on the radio tonight on the nation’s most listened to talk station, which so happens to be in Atlanta with a microphone I control during drive time.

Others are standing up too.

I will have the full list below, but RedState and other conservatives and the media should take notice of the Conservative Fight Club shaping up in the House of Representatives. There are ten members of the Conservative Fight Club. They are the nine members of the House Republican Conference who voted against the rule on the continuing resolution and voted against John Boehner for Speaker plus one guy who voted against today’s rule and was the ring leader the last time the GOP took out a Speaker.

The ten members of the Conservative Fight Club are:

Bridenstine [emphasis mine]

They are now the gold standard for conservatives in the House. They replace men like Jim Jordan and Tom Graves. Matt Salmon, who has been urging conservatives to vote down rules, is rapidly becoming a conservative leader in Congress. Though he did not vote against John Boehner, history shows he helped lead the movement to oust Newt Gingrich back in the day.

He’s finding his footing again and it is a very good thing.

The other congressmen who stood with the Fight Club are:


They should all be commended.
Noticeably absent from this list are any of Oklahoma's other House members (looking at you, Reps. Lankford, Mullin, Cole and Lucas).

Rand Paul Filibustering on Senate Floor

Right now, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is waging an old-fashioned, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington-style filibuster on the Senate floor. Paul is stalling the vote to confirm John Brennan as the new CIA Director.

Sparking Sen. Paul's move is Brennan's involvement with the administration policy relating to drone strikes on terror targets - specifically killing American citizens inside the United States. Read more here.

Watch live on C-SPAN.

Sen. Paul began his filibuster by saying he would speak "until [he] can no longer speak." The Senate filibuster record, held by Strom Thurmond, is 24 hours and 18 minutes.

Of Oklahoma interest, Rep. Jim Bridenstine is among a small core of conservative House members who have joined Sen. Paul on the Senate floor as a move of moral support (not being Senators, they cannot speak, but they do have access to the Senate floor).

Several senators continue to help Sen. Paul in his filibuster, by asking lengthy "questions" to give Rand time to rest his voice. Among them are Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Barrasso (R-WY), and Jim Moran (R-KS).

OKGOP's Pinnell won't seek reelection

Oklahoma GOP Chairman Pinnell Moving Forward to New Challenges
Party Chairman brought national spotlight, solid Republican wins to the Sooner State

Tulsa, OK -- Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell today announced that he would conclude his accomplished service as Chairman when his current term ends, April 20th. Under Pinnell's leadership, Republicans now hold all statewide elected offices, all congressional seats, and have majorities in both houses of the state Legislature- a first in state history.

"I've completed three tours of duty with the OKGOP and I’m extremely proud of our results.  The next Chairman will inherit a well-oiled machine with solid fundraising totals and a record number of Republican elected officials and voter registrations. I’ve accomplished what I set out to do and look forward to helping a new Chairman in any way I can,” said Pinnell.

“In the immediate future, I am looking forward to spending more time with my growing family while I evaluate a number of opportunities in the public and private sectors.”

Appointed in 2010 as the "Chairman of the State Chairmen" by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus, Matt has been directing the sharing of ideas and best practices among the nation’s state Republican leaders.

Additionally in 2010, Pinnell oversaw the most successful election cycle for Oklahoma Republicans in state history – sweeping all eight statewide races and expanding majorities in both the state House and Senate.

In 2012, the Oklahoma Republican Party continued to see great success under Pinnell's leadership. Oklahoma--again--won all 77 counties for Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney, and swept all 5 Congressional seats for only the second time in state history. Furthermore, Republican voter registration is at an all-time high.

Pinnell also launched innovative outreach programs while Chairman, including OKGOP U, a training program for county GOP clubs, and Emerge46, a youth outreach program tasked to grow college and young Republican organizations. Until recently, Pinnell was the youngest State Chairman in the country.

Matt will continue to reside in Tulsa with his wife Lisa and their three children.

*     *     *     *     *

Our best wishes to Matt and his family as he moves "onward and upward". He has done a tremendous job in his time as state chairman, and has left the Oklahoma Republican Party in even better shape than when he took over from another great chairman, Gary Jones.

Friday, March 01, 2013

2016 GOP Primary Madness, Round 1's 2016 GOP Primary Madness has officially begun! Ladies and gentlemen, voting is now open!

The polls will be open until Thursday, March 7th. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

Division 'A', Round 1

Division 'B', Round 1

Division 'C', Round 1

Division 'D', Round 1

UPDATE: Click here to vote in the Elite 8 round.