Sunday, March 29, 2015

OKGOP Chair Candidates answer more questions

OKGOP Chair candidates Randy Brogdon, Pam Pollard, and incumbent Dave Weston

In just under two weeks, delegates to the 2015 Oklahoma Republican Party State Convention will be electing the head of the OKGOP for the next two years. Three candidates are running, and each have filled out a survey for which has previously been posted: former state senator Randy Brogdon (survey here), OFRW President Pam Pollard (survey here), and incumbent Dave Weston (survey here).

I emailed each of the candidates two follow-up questions on Friday the 20th, requesting them to send me their responses within a week, and limited to 300 words each answer. Candidates Brogdon and Pollard sent me their answers, which are posted below. If/when chairman Weston sends his in, I will add it to this post.

1. What is, or will be, your policy on State Party involvement in active federal or state legislation? What criteria do or will you have in influencing measures awaiting legislative consideration? Examples: the Party has in the past argued against bills for non-partisan county election or for certain other measures, and the State Committee has requested action on anti-Common Core bills.

Brogdon: Any policy positions made officially on behalf of the OKGOP should not be done unilaterally by the Chairman or decided upon exclusively by the Executive Committee. Much like the anti-Common Core resolution, which I support 100%, any policy position should originate from within the State Committee meetings. There should be open discussion, debated, and then the position should be voted upon. I believe when we allow for the discussion of our ideas amongst our Republican friends, we will become a stronger and more unified party.

 According to State Party Rules the “State Committee is the supreme Republican Party authority of the state Republican Party, subject to these rules and the direction and control of the State Convention”. While on the other hand the Executive Committee “shall at all times act in an advisory capacity to the State Chairman, and shall confer with said chairman and offer such plans and suggestions as will serve and advance the best interests of the Party not inconsistent with these rules”. I believe the rules of the State Party are clear and they fully support my position on this issue. If elected as your next State Party Chairman, I will ensure that the rules of our Party are once again respected and upheld.

Pollard: I have spoken all over our great state about the need for a solid foundation of the Republican Party; a foundation that is firm enough to hold many different ideologies. This foundation is made up of our US Constitution, State Constitution, State Party Rules and our State Party Platform. While the role of State Party Chairman is not a lobbyist position, I will defend our Party when legislation has a direct threat on destroying our foundation.

One role of the Chair is to carry out the directives of the State Executive Committee or the State Committee. I will proudly carry the GOP banner in defense of issues as directed by our grassroots representation on these committees. Our current platform is made of 42 pages of planks sent from the counties or retained on the current document. While this is a collection of our beliefs, it is the voters and grassroots activists who hold our elected officials accountable, not the State Chairman. If elected, my role according to State Party Rules is to organize county parties, win elections and raise the dollars necessary to fund the work of the Party. That is where my focus will be.

2. SB233 passed the State Senate and is awaiting a hearing in the State House. SB233 would move Oklahoma's presidential primary from the first Tuesday in March (March 1st) to the fourth Tuesday in March (March 22nd). This would move Oklahoma from an early spot in the primary calendar to a late one (approx. 20 states vote after March 22nd). Do you support moving the primary further back in the calendar?

Brogdon: I do not support any such move that would place Oklahoma at the back of the primary schedule. Not only will moving our primary into no man’s land diminish Oklahoma’s role in the national debate, but I believe it will also discourage participation and disenfranchise Republican voters. Oklahoma is the reddest state in the Union and every presidential candidate should feel obligated to visit with our voters. However, when we allow attempts to move our primary date as far back as April 1st, we are essentially saying that Oklahoma should not matter to these candidates. If anything, we should be fighting for an earlier primary date, not a later one. If I were the State Chairman today, I would take all of these arguments to the State Committee and ask them to call on the entire Elections & Ethics House Committee, Chaired by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, to kill this bill.

Pollard: I serve on the State Executive Committee and spoke against moving the date of the Presidential Preference Primary (PPP). The main discussion at the meeting was Oklahoma’s ability to be a Winner-Take-All (WTA) state which by RNC rules would require us to change the date of our PPP to after March 15th. If we wish to remain a proportional state we do nothing, our current law meets RNC guidelines.

I am a firm believer that elections are about the voice of the people and with a winner-take-all system a majority of voters are often left without delegate representation. In the last PPP election Oklahomans were closely divided with no candidate receiving a majority of the votes.

2012 OK PPP results= Santorum 34% Romney 28% Gingrich 27%

If we had been a WTA state in 2012 a candidate receiving only 34% of the vote would have been awarded 100% of the delegates. This is the primary reason I support Proportional Representation in Presidential Preference Primary elections.

As State Vice-Chair in 2012 I was in charge of presidential candidates Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and the 2nd Mitt Romney visits to OK. My conversations with these candidates and their staff,was in strong support of early primaries and proportional awarding of delegates. If they did not poll in the top 10% they would not come to our state as they had little hope of any delegate votes. A proportional system allows very close election results to receive almost equal delegates. The voice of the people matter!

My thanks to the candidates for responding to these additional questions!


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