Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lankford, Hofmeister win and avoid runoffs

James Lankford surpassed most expectations -- and all polling data -- and cruised to total victory in today's primary election, gaining over 57% of the vote to T.W. Shannon's 34%.

Joy Hofmeister destroyed incumbent State Superintendent Janet Barresi's reelection bid, taking in 57% of the vote. Barresi actually came in third with 21.1%, behind no-name candidate Brian Kelly (21.6%).

View the full results here.

My Primary Election Predictions

With the polls closing in a few minutes, here are my predictions/guesses on how the voting will shake out.

U.S. Senate (unexpired term): Lankford 51%, Shannon 39%, Brogdon 6%, all others 4% (in this order: Crow, Weger, McCray, Craig) -- NO RUNOFF
U.S. Senate (full term): Inhofe over 75%
Governor: Fallin 65%, Ewbank 20%, Moody 15%
State Superintendent: Hofmeister 49%, Barresi 36%, Kelly 15% -- RUNOFF
Insurance Commissioner: Doak 78%, Viner 22%
Corporation Commissioner: Hiett 54%, Branan 46%

U.S. House (District 2): Mullin 63%, Robertson 37%
U.S. House (District 3): Lucas 62%, Hubbard 30%, Murray 8%
U.S. House (District 4): Cole 69%, Flatt 31%
U.S. House (District 5): Russell 25%, Douglas 22%, Turner 18%, Jolley 17%, Sparks 10%, Jett 8% -- RUNOFF

U.S. Senate (unexpired term): Jim Rogers wins, but it goes to a runoff with Connie Johnson.
State Superintendent: Freda Deskin wins, but goes to runoff with John Cox.
U.S. House (District 5): Guild wins, goes to runoff with McAffrey.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Primary Election: My Take

Due to recent family events, I have been unable to blog much in the last week or so about the primary election, coming up tomorrow (Tuesday the 24th). This post will briefly cover some of my picks -- although not as thorough as I might have done were circumstances different.

U.S. Senate (unexpired term): James Lankford
Either way, we will have a conservative Senator replacing Tom Coburn. However, while I disagree with some of Lankford's votes, I have fewer reservations with him than I do with Shannon. Brogdon is a total non-factor, and has a bad habit of exhibiting poor judgement (i.e. when he got into the governor's race on Christmas, then switched to Senate, etc).
U.S. House, District 2: Darrel Robertson
U.S. House, District 5: Steve Russell
Governor: Dax Ewbank
I have been very disappointed with Fallin as governor, and will be casting a protest vote for Ewbank.
State Superintendent: ???
I am still undecided in this race. Barresi has alienated many conservatives while in office, but at the same time others are wary of Hofmeister's connections. I'm open to be convinced.
Insurance Commissioner: John Doak
Corporation Commissioner: Todd Hiett
Muskogee County Commissioner, District 1: Ken Doke
It's a shame that Muskogee County Republicans have a primary in this race, and both Ken and Mike Stewart would be great county commissioners. However, I think Ken has the best chance at winning this heavily Democratic seat, and will bring a different, more conservative approach to the office.
Rogers County Treasurer: Jason Carini
Jason is a good friend of mine, and threw his hat into the ring when nobody else would do something about the problems at the Rogers County Treasurer's office. Here's a good synopsis on BatesLine.

Michael Bates has a good post on his take, although he and I differ on a few races. Read his here.

Final Senate Race Poll Graphic: Lankford's slow climb

With election day tomorrow, here is where things currently stand. James Lankford has shown a steady and slow increase in polling, while T.W. Shannon has held in the mid to upper 30's. Randy Brogdon continues to poll under 5%, and the other four candidates combine for about the same as Brogdon's total.

Monday, June 16, 2014

In his own words: one-on-one with James Lankford (part 2)

I recently conducted a telephone interview with U.S. Senate candidate and 5th District Congressman James Lankford. This is the second half of the interview (read the first half here):

JF: The federal tax system is a mess. What do you propose to do to fix it?
JL: I’m a FairTax person. I would much rather prefer to have the FairTax. The problem we have is only about 60 people in the House of Representatives are supporters of the FairTax. You’ve got to have 218 people to be able to do anything, to move any set of ideas in the House. We don’t have the majority. The Flat Tax people are in the same spot. They don’t have near the number to be able to form a coalition large enough to be able to move the Flat Tax. And now we’re stuck with “what can we do?”

Dealing with deductions and rates. Our rates are too high, both for businesses and for individuals, and you’ve added in all these deductions over the years to try to fix a very high rate. It’s better to just lower the rate and to take out all those special treatments, so that we can simplify the code as much as we possibly can. The code should be neutral. The best thing that we can have is an IRS that is not looking over everyone’s shoulder trying to evaluate what they can do for free speech, or what they can do with their own group. It’s simpler just to be able to say, “how can we have an IRS, that is a clear code” and individuals know how to follow it, and remove all that interpretation as much as possible from the IRS. It removes the power of the IRS. That’s why I like the FairTax system, because it renders any kind of tax collection as simply that, and not an interpretation.

JF: Some grassroots conservatives have become disenchanted with Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate. Do you think it is time for Senate Republicans to look at having, perhaps, new leadership?
JL: I think I’d be saying that every group will look at both the House and the Senate, it has to be decided every time, but there’s two aspects that go into that. Number one is, who’s actually running for leadership? A lot of people talk about leadership issues, but they don’t actually run for leadership. It’s akin to someone saying, “we ought to have a new Congressman”, or “we ought to have a new Senator in this state”, and someone says “great, then why don’t you run?”, and they say “well, I don’t want to do it, I just think we ought to have somebody else do it”. We find that commonly in House leadership and Senate leadership as well. People complain about leadership, but no one else wants to actually run and do it and stick their neck out, and actually try to accomplish it. Now should the House, and should the Senate press leadership to be as conservative as possible? Actually, we should. One of the reasons I got engaged in House leadership was to be able to press our leadership as far to the right as we can get them. And there have been moments when, in closed door meetings, I’ve been able to plead my case why a more conservative move is better, and won the argument. The only way that you can do that is to actually get engaged and do it. You can’t do it from the outside. For me, it’s a big issue. I do want to make one thing clear, though. People try to make House leadership the problem. I can assure you – Harry Reid and Barack Obama are the bigger problem. The more that Republicans beat up on other Republicans the more we take the focus off where it should be, and that is Harry Reid and Barack Obama.

JF: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment thus far in elected office?
JL: That’s a tough one, Jamison. I try to narrow it down to one thing or something to say this is the greatest accomplishment, but there’s just different directions that I’ve been able to focus on. Let me just throw a couple. I asked to be on the Budget Committee when I first went to Congress, because of the significant issue of how do we get on top of our budget. Four years in a row, of putting a budget on the floor, that actually takes steps to balance, is very significant. The move in the House is still this little bit of fear and trepidation about doing an aggressive budget to move us back toward balance. But, in the committee that I serve on, we’ve been able to push and say “We have to do this. We’ve got to get us back toward balance. We’ve got to show the American people there is a way to do this.”

I’ve been able to push very hard on the Administration in several areas of oversight. While a lot of people talk about these oversight hearings don’t accomplish anything - that’s not proven to be true. The Administration wasn’t doing permitting for the export of liquefied natural gas until I started pushing. And now they’re starting to permit the export of LNG, and this was before we dealt with the Ukraine issues, because I was pushing. The Administration snuck their rule on the social cost of carbon, and to change all the rulemaking on how we do power generation, on everything that uses electricity in America, and I was able to confront them, and they abandoned their rule change and backed off. So, oversight does work. You can push back and win on some of these issues.

I passed a bill called the Taxpayer Right to Know. That is a bill to combat our duplication in government, and one of the major issues we’ve dealt with for a long time is how do we get rid of the waste in government. That bill passed the House, Dr. Coburn has now picked it up in the Senate, and is running with it in the Senate. It is a real solution to get at our duplication in government that we have not had before. It may take a while to get that through.

The fourth thing on this list is the continual push to try to get things back to the states. We made a major change in our transportation bill, that came through two years ago, to give states more authority to make decisions on their highway dollars, and to keep that out of Washington D.C. That was a huge change that’s really made a difference on our construction in our state. I’m pushing the same thing with ObamaCare. The Healthcare Compact that I’m running in the House is starting to build some momentum, and if we can get people to wake up and look at it and say “the states can run healthcare issues far better than the federal government can”, it’s a bold idea that has never been picked up and run in the House on the federal side, and I’m picking it up and running with it. It’s just the right way to go.

JF: Why should voters elect you over your primary opponents?
JL: Well, I’m the only redhead, so, clearly that’s an advantage. I am a person that is really committed to doing my homework, studying the issues, and doing the work behind the scenes. That’s who I am. I’m really did not enter into the fray of the national battle three years ago because I wanted to do a political career. There are major issues that have to be resolved. I felt called in 2009 to run for Congress, and to do what I could to make a difference. I feel that same calling now to step into the Senate and do what I can to be able to serve God and the nation. So I’m gonna not just gripe about the fact that there are problems, and say we have gridlock, I’m gonna find a way to be able to move some of these ideas and move us toward the most conservative solutions, and to try to get some things actually done. What I’ve done in the House is what I’m going to continue to do in the Senate.

You can learn more about James Lankford and his campaign for U.S. Senate by visiting JamesLankford.com.

Once again, I'd like to thank James for doing this interview with me. I offered the same chance to T.W. Shannon, but he and his campaign refused to accept.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Darrel Roberrson endorsed by Alveda King

This press release is from Darrel Robertson, 2nd District Congressman Markwayne Mullin’s GOP challenger:

Darrel Robertson, a conservative businessman and candidate for Congress, announced the endorsement of Dr. Alveda King, a conservative pro-life activist and niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on Monday. The announcement comes amid mounting criticism of Markwayne Mullin’s vote in favor of a museum labeled by conservative groups as being pro-abortion.

“As a long-time advocate for the unborn, I am proud to support Darrel Robertson for Congress,” said King. “He is a man of faith, conviction, and passion for conservative principles, and I know that he will be a strong voice for the voiceless. With so many politicians abandoning principles in Washington, it is essential that we elect true conservatives who we can count on to stand for what is right. Darrel Robertson is that man, and we are truly blessed that he has put himself forward as a candidate to fight for our values.”

“In times like these, we cannot allow special interests and Washington insiders to tell us who to send to Congress,” added King pointing to Markwayne Mullin’s history of receiving most of his support from groups within Washington. “Politicians like Markwayne Mullin have proven that protecting their political position is more important to them than standing on principle.”

King, a former Georgia legislator, has been a strong advocate for Republican principles, a fierce protector of her uncle’s legacy from the liberal agenda, a committed voice for marriage, and an active proponent of the Right to Life.

“I am honored that Dr. King has decided to support my campaign,” added Robertson- a noted professional angler and innovative businessman who has seen increased interest in his campaign since the stunning upset of Majority Leader Eric Cantor by Dave Brat, who also used Concentric Direct, Robertson’s grass root oriented campaign consulting firm. “People are dissatisfied with Washington politicians that refuse to stand up for our Constitution and our values. I will fight every day against the Obama administration and against Establishment figures like Markwayne Mullin who care more about Washington special interest money than protecting Oklahoma values.”

A lifelong resident of Grove, OK, Darrel Robertson is surging with just over one week until the June 24 election. Regarded as more conservative than his opponent, Robertson is a staunch supporter of term limits, and he has been critical of Mullin’s unreliability on being pro-life, his support of big spending, his numerous ethics issues, and his refusal to stand by his promise to limit himself to three terms.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

In his own words: one-on-one with James Lankford (part 1)

I recently conducted a telephone interview with U.S. Senate candidate and 5th District Congressman James Lankford. Due to the length of the interview, I am breaking it up into two parts.

The following is a transcript of the phone interview, taken while Lankford was on the road in western Oklahoma:

JF: What are three things about your personal background that you think voters need to know?
JL: I would say, the first thing people need to know is that I’m happily married, dad of two beautiful daughters, and terribly normal. I didn’t come from a political background; I came from a ministry background, so my perspective is very different as I approach political issues. Being in the House of Representatives the last three years, it’s been fairly obvious the people that have been a decade or more in politics kinda think different, or they grew up in politics, and they think of the political issues as a sport, or as a direction to get to celebrity status rather than problem solving. So, for me, just the background is very different to have come from directing Falls Creek and working with thousands of people every single week, problem solving and trying to form solutions and actually help people long-term. Obviously, my perspective in ministry, and that I come from a Biblical Christian worldview, that’s who I am. That doesn’t change because I’m elected; that’s who I am at home, in office, and in my personal life.

JF: What do you think are the top three issues facing America?
JL: Budget is incredibly high. Whether these are all three co-equals or not, I couldn’t tell you. There’s a clear need to be able to get on top of our deficit. Our debt is not something you’re going to solve in a year. Anyone who tells you that it’s some simple thing that you just take out one agency or stop doing foreign aid, is trying to make an incredibly difficult solution over-simplified. Even if you removed all foreign aid, you’re not close to balancing the budget. In fact, you could remove every bit of our national defense, and still not balance the budget. It’s just not possible to do in a simple, straight-forward way. That is a major issue we have to deal with.

After that, we have to deal with the difference between federal control, and state and local control. Over the past several decades, there’s been a constant push from the states to the federal government, and the federal government is glad to have that, they’re glad to take power from people and states. We have to be able to find a way to push power back to the states. Some of the states don’t want that authority, obviously in Oklahoma we do, but those states say “we don’t want to mess with it”. They would rather have the federal government deal with it, because the federal government can add debt. So we have to solve that.

The third big issue is we have to resolve what the role of government is in our daily life. Not just states and federal government, but what is the role of government, at all. If we can’t resolve those simple principles, of how big our debt is, what is the role of the state, and what is the role of government at all in our daily lives, a lot of the other things aren’t going to matter.

JF: What is your position on term limits?
JL: I do believe in term limits. I’m a little more aggressive on this, I think, than some. I’m not meaning anything about other people in this race, I don’t know where they stand on it, but I believe we should have term limits on the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. We already have term limits on the executive branch. I think all three branches should have term limits. I think the judicial branch should be long, I think that follows the intent of the Constitution, but there’s no way you’re going to tell me the Founding Fathers assumed that someone would be 60 years on the bench or 50 years on the bench, because the life-span wasn’t as long in their time period. So I think there should be term limits on the judicial, should also be term limits on the legislative, as there are on the executive.

JF: What is your position on immigration reform?
JL: This is a very long question, so let me come at it a couple different ways. A lot of people are running from immigration reform, saying it’s too hard and too political. It’s easier just to talk about the problem and say there is a problem than it is to actually engage. It’s been one of my great frustrations in the House of Representatives, how many people are scared of this issue, and so they won’t actually engage and try to solve the problem. One of the things leaders need to do is lead. Now I have no optimism that this President, this Senate, are partners to actually get real immigration reform. They’re not. They’ll talk about it, but they don’t want to do anything. But we do have to lean in, as conservatives, that if we see a problem, you can’t just ignore a problem, you have to solve it.

I deal with several things in my worldview. Number one is, every person is created in the image of God. Every person has value, and what we do and how we speak about people should show that that person is created in the image of God and that they have value in the eyes of God. Second thing is, every person is under the law. There is no exception to that. Every person has rights and responsibilities in the country they’re from, that they’re a citizen of, and in every other country in the world they’re a guest. So, a person cannot walk into the United States and demand the rights of American citizens; they’re not an American, they’re a guest in our country. They’re not legal in our country. And so that’s pivotal in it. So for me it’s treat people with respect, but also honoring the law.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview. You can learn more about James Lankford and his campaign for U.S. Senate by visiting JamesLankford.com.

I'd like to thank James for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this interview with me. I offered the same chance to T.W. Shannon, but after numerous contacts through several different means, he and his campaign refused to get back with me. He would have been asked the same questions as I asked Lankford.

Two groups running new anti-Lankford ads, Coburn speaks out against

Two pro-Shannon groups are now running ads against James Lankford.

First, from the Senate Conservatives Fund:

Next, from Oklahomans for a Conservative Future:

Meanwhile, Senator Coburn, who has said he is staying out of endorsing in this race, came out and slammed the ads in a press release:

MEDIA ADVISORY:  Dr. Coburn Comments on U.S. Senate
 Special Election in Oklahoma

(Washington, DC) — U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) made the following statement today regarding the U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma:

“As I prepare to leave public office at the end of the current Congress and return to private life, I have the great luxury of being a spectator during this election season by not seeking office or preparing to serve in the new Congress beginning next year.  It is something I have looked forward to for a long time.  The truth is, I don’t much care for political campaigns.  They are dominated by career politicians and their operatives who have created a perverse but lucrative professional political industry.

“As I watch the special election for the U.S. Senate unfold in our state, I see this political economy in its very worst form with misleading advertisements and allegations against candidates.

“I have come to know James Lankford in his short but very productive time in Washington, and I know he is a man of absolute integrity.  We haven’t always agreed but he is one of the most honest, thoughtful and sincere men I have met in my time in Washington.  He has life experience and a perspective outside the career political bubble by which to make good decisions.  He has fought an often lonely battle against the status quo and has dedicated himself to the hard work of oversight of federal agencies.

“The current political advertisements by groups such as Senate Conservatives Fund and Oklahomans for a Conservative Future supporting T.W. Shannon have crossed an important line- they simply aren’t truthful and they mischaracterize James Lankford’s service in Congress.

“Trust is absolutely paramount in our republic.  The great tension in our country today, for Republicans and Democrats, is that voters no longer trust their elected officials to do the right thing.  That bond of trust is born during elections, and it is a powerful responsibility.

“As a voter, I believe the conduct of a campaign is a critical test of how a man or woman values this great trust.  How someone runs a campaign says a lot about how that person would govern.”

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

Shannon reworks Lankford commercial into ad criticizing Lankford's voting record

Following James Lankford's new campaign commercial, T.W. Shannon took the footage from the Lankford ad and reworked it into an ad criticizing Lankford's debt ceiling votes.

Lawton, Oklahoma (June 6, 2014) – T.W. Shannon commented today on the launch of his latest campaign ad:

“As I travel the state meeting voters, one of the main questions I am asked is, ‘what’s the difference between you and your opponent?’ To answer that, I’m releasing a new ad today that highlights a major difference between my opponent and me. As Speaker of the House here in Oklahoma, I vowed that our state would not go down the path of Washington, D.C. Instead, we reduced our debt and kept spending in line. There are real differences between Congressman Lankford and myself when it comes to our record on debt and spending.”

“My campaign is focused on issues, not negative attacks. The national debt is one of the most important issues facing our country, and we need to engage in a positive, truthful discussion of that issue by examining the record.”

Watch the ad here:

D-Day: 70 Years

70 years ago today, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, in the largest amphibious assault in history. Less than one year later, Hitler's Nazi Germany fell.

To the soldiers who put their lives on the line (and even died) for freedom and Western civilization, we thank you.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Gov. Fallin signs HB3399, Common Core Repeal bill

Governor Mary Fallin Signs HB 3399 
to Repeal and Replace Common Core Standards

New Standards will be developed in Oklahoma and Increase Academic Rigor

OKLAHOMA CITY—Governor Mary Fallin today signed HB 3399, a bill that replaces the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English and math with academic standards to be designed by the state of Oklahoma.

HB 3399 repeals the adoption of CCSS and directs the State Board of Education to create new, more rigorous standards by August 2016. For the first time in state history, the State Regents for Higher Education, the State Board of Career and Technology Education, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce will be asked to formally evaluate those standards to determine they are “college and career ready.”  While those new standards are being written, the state standards for English and math will revert to the Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) standards used from 2003 to 2010.

HB 3399 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers, 71-18 in the House and 31-10 in the Senate.

Fallin signed the bill, stating:

“We are capable of developing our own Oklahoma academic standards that will be better than Common Core. Now is the time for Oklahomans – parents, citizens, educators, employers and elected officials – to unite behind the common goal of improving our schools. That begins with doing the hard work of building new, more rigorous Oklahoma standards.

“All Oklahomans want our children to get a quality education and to live the American Dream. To ensure our children have that opportunity, Oklahoma – and every state—must raise the bar for education standards so that our children can compete worldwide.

“Common Core was created with that well-intentioned goal in mind. It was intended to develop a set of high standards in classrooms across the nation that would ensure children graduated from high school prepared for college and a career in an increasingly competitive workforce. It was originally designed as a state-lead – not federal – initiative that each state could choose to voluntarily adopt.

“Unfortunately, federal overreach has tainted Common Core.  President Obama and Washington bureaucrats have usurped Common Core in an attempt to influence state education standards. The results are predictable. What should have been a bipartisan policy is now widely regarded as the president’s plan to establish federal control of curricula, testing and teaching strategies.

“We cannot ignore the widespread concern of citizens, parents, educators and legislators who have expressed fear that adopting Common Core gives up local control of Oklahoma’s public schools. The words ‘Common Core’ in Oklahoma are now so divisive that they have become a distraction that interferes with our mission of providing the best education possible for our children. If we are going to improve our standards in the classroom, now is the time to get to work.

“For that reason I am signing HB 3399 to repeal and replace Common Core with Oklahoma designed and implemented education standards. I am committed, now more than ever, to ensuring these standards are rigorous. They must raise the bar – beyond what Common Core offers – on what we expect of our students. Above all, they must be developed with the goal of teaching children to think critically and creatively and to complete high school with the knowledge they need to succeed in college and in the workforce. I also ‘get it’ that Oklahoma standards must be exceptional, so when businesses and military families move to Oklahoma they can rest assured knowing their children will get a great education.

“The process of developing new, higher standards will not take place overnight, nor will it be easy. It will require hard work and collaboration between parents, educators, employers and lawmakers. Developing these standards is worth the effort; because our children’s education is that important to our state. Their futures, as well as Oklahoma’s future prosperity, depend on our ability to write and implement education standards that will prepare our children for success. I know Oklahoma is up to that challenge.

“My thanks go out to the educators and schools that have already worked hard to raise expectations and standards for our children. I know they will continue to build on those efforts as we move forward together as a state.”

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Shannon issues statement on Pro-Shannon group's negative ad

T.W. Shannon Issues Statement on Campaign Ads by Outside Groups

Lawton,OK (June 4, 2014) – T.W. Shannon issued the following statement today regarding political campaign ads by third-party groups:

“My desire is for third party groups to keep their advertising focused on issues, not personal attacks and innuendo. There are real differences between Congressman Lankford and myself when it comes to our record on debt and spending, and I welcome that discussion. But I believe that discussion should remain focused on our record, and free of images showing my opponent with President Obama. I have said this before, but it bears repeating in this instance: as brothers in Christ, Congressman Lankford and I are competitors, not enemies.”

“As we have seen in Senate races across the country, there likely will be many groups weighing in on both sides of this race. I hope everyone will agree that keeping the advertising focused on issues and records will best serve the people of Oklahoma as they determine who their next U.S. Senator should be.”

OKGOP hosting Senate candidate debate in Durant tonight

From the Oklahoma Republican Party:

The Oklahoma Republican Party invites you to attend a Senate candidate forum at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Seating is limited, so reserve your ticket today! See you there!

Who: Senate candidates for the open Senate seat
When: June 4, 2016, 7:00-8:30pm
Where: Hallie McKinney Building. 416 University Blvd, at the corner of 5th Avenue and University Blvd., Durant, OK.

For more information, please contact the Oklahoma Republican Party at 405-528-3501 or laureebeth@okgop.com.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

In his own words: one-on-one with Darrel Robertson (CD2)

I recently conducted a telephone interview with some of this year's Republican candidates for federal office, asking them the same set of questions (tailored for the particular office they are running for). For this post, we have Darrel Robertson, Republican candidate for the 2nd Congressional District. Robertson is the sole Republican challenger for freshman Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin.

I made numerous attempts to set up an interview with Congressman Mullin, but his campaign made no effort to get back with me. I gave Congressman Mullin ample opportunity to have the same interview, but he evidently did not want to go on record.

The following is a transcript of the phone interview:

JF: What are three things about your personal background that you think voters need to know?
DR: Well, I’m a lifelong resident of District 2 of Oklahoma, I’m a Christian, and a successful businessman.

JF: What do you think are the top three issues facing America?
DR: I think ObamaCare is an issue that’s facing America, I think the way that taxes are structured is, and our Constitution is being trampled on and we’re losing a lot of our liberties.

JF: What is your position on term limits?
DR: I think we need term limits; just exactly how many, or the length of it, I’m not sure. People just can’t be in there for forty years, they can’t be there for twenty years. Some people argue that there’s bad about having term limits, and there is, but the good outweighs the really bad. The good is a lot better than what we’re losing on the bad.

JF: What is your position on immigration reform?
DR: Well, we need to do something, but the very first thing is we have to fix that border, because we can’t pass any laws or do anything that’s going to do any good unless we keep people from coming in here illegally.

JF: The Federal tax system is a mess. How do you propose to fix it?
DR: There’s actually two ways. Myself, I kinda favor a flat tax, and maybe even a negative flat tax where we can take care of a lot of the, you know, I think we’ve got like 81 welfare programs in the federal government. I think we could do away with all of those except one, and then turn the states over to do everything else. I think that would be the best way. The other way would to just do the FairTax.

JF: Some conservatives have become disenchanted with GOP leadership in both the House and the Senate. Do you think House Republicans should consider getting new leadership?
DR: Jim Bridenstine, I really like this guy and his voting record. Trey Gowdy is the other one. There are several guys I like in there, but we don’t need who we’ve got in there. It’s kind of like term limits, it would take care of some of this stuff. The thing at this point is, our leadership, they can’t do enough thinking to get anything accomplished. We have the power in the Congress, but it’s like, be smart enough to do something that the Senate can’t shoot you down on. It’s like they’ve sat there and not done anything for four years that we’ve had control of the Congress, because we’re afraid of the Senate. Now, that’s from the outside looking in, what I see, and I think we need some leadership that can come up with some ideas.

JF: Is there any specific legislation that you plan to file when in office?
DR: Well, of course we all need to file to repeal ObamaCare. Reform the tax structure, and I think, repeal the Farm Bill. I tell you, the very best bill that a guy could put in would be to introduce a bill, like Oklahoma’s got, to make every bill stand on it’s own.

JF: Why should voters elect you over your primary opponent?
DR: I think I can promise to be a true conservative in DC. I’m a lifelong resident here in District 2, and that’s the important people I’ve got to work for. Here’s one of the things that I won’t do: I won’t vote for making the government any bigger, and my opponent has. The other thing is I think my opponent is eaten up with PAC money. I don’t have anything against PAC money, but there isn’t any PAC money that will influence my vote, and I can promise that. I may not ever get any PAC money, but that’s still my promise, that it would ever influence me. On the Farm Bill, the sugar industry I think influenced Markwayne in a big way, and influenced how he voted. They had the opportunity to shoot down this sugar bill and restructure it, but he voted for it. You can take a look at his campaign funds, and see why he did it. But, I can promise that no PAC money will ever influence how I vote.

I'd like to thank Darrel for taking the time to do this interview with me. I'm disappointed that his primary opponent didn't do the same.

Coming next in this series will be a prominent U.S. Senate candidate.

Monday, June 02, 2014