Thursday, May 28, 2015

Santorum, Pataki join GOP's expanding 2016 field

Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania and runner-up in the 2012 primary, yesterday announced his candidacy for president. Here's his announcement speech:

Also yesterday, George Pataki, a former three-term Republican governor of New York, threw his hat in the ring for the 2016 presidential race. Here's his announcement video:

They join six other announced candidates: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Carson, Walker, Cruz top SRLC straw poll

SoonerPoll conducted the straw poll held at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend, and here are the results:

  1. Ben Carson - 25.4%
  2. Scott Walker - 20.5%
  3. Ted Cruz - 16.6%
  4. Chris Christie - 5.3%
  5. Rick Perry - 5.0%
  6. Jeb Bush - 4.9%
  7. Rand Paul - 4.1%
  8. Marco Rubio - 4.1%
  9. Bobby Jindal - 4.1%
  10. Carly Fiorina - 2.7%
  11. Mike Huckabee - 2.7%
  12. Rick Santorum - 1.9%
  13. Donald Trump - 1.2%
  14. Mark Everson - 0.8%
  15. Lindsey Graham - 0.5%
  16. John Kasich - 0.2%
  17. Jim Gilmore - 0.0%
958 attendees cast ballots, with the bulk (713) coming from Oklahoma, followed by Texas (78) and Arkansas (58). 

I found some crosstabs here (pdf), which contain a lot of interesting information. Here are two of the other questions from the straw poll:

For these three issues, here are the leaders:

National Security: Walker and Carson (20.7%), Cruz (18.3%)
Economic: Walker (25.3%), Carson (15.5%), Cruz (15.2%)
Social: Carson (25.2%), Cruz (24.4%), Walker (18.1%)

Here are the leaders for each group:

Tea Party: Cruz (34.2%), Walker (22.6%), Carson (15.8%)
Libertarian: Paul (23.7%), Cruz (22.7%), Walker (18.6%)
Right-to-Life: Cruz (23.2%), Walker (19.2%), Carson (17.5%)
NRA/GOA: Cruz (22.8%), Walker (21.3%), Carson (15.3%)
FRC/CC: Walker (23.5%), Cruz (21.1%), Carson (20.6%)
Eagle Forum/CWA: Cruz (24.5%), Walker (22.7%), Carson (13.6%)
US Chamber: Walker (29.4%), Bush (17.6%), Perry (9.4%)
ATR: Walker (24.3%), Cruz (20.5%), Carson (17.6%)

Among Oklahoma voters, here are the top five:
  1. Walker - 23.3%
  2. Carson - 21.6%
  3. Cruz - 16.0%
  4. Christie - 6.2%
  5. Bush - 5.3%
Again, if you want to look through the crosstabs, here is the PDF link I found.

House passes $25M pop culture museum bond on second vote

A day after SB839 failed by a vote of 44-49, the State House reconsidered and passed a $25,000,000 bond to fund a pop culture museum in Tulsa. On the reconsideration vote, the final tally was 51 in favor, 40 against. The measure had previously passed the State Senate 28-18.

Mind you, we had a $611,000,000 shortfall this year, took a substantial amount from the Rainy Day Fund and other state funds, and made major cuts to many agencies. Add this to the other $25,000,000 bond for the Indian Cultural Center passed earlier in this session (which ended today).

In the House, five members switched from 'no' to 'yes' on the pop culture museum bond.

Five members were missed the Thursday vote, then voted for it Friday: Will Fourkiller (D), James Lockhart (D), Jerry McPeak (D), Jason Nelson (R), and Mike Shelton (D).

Four Republicans voted no on Thursday, then missed the Friday vote: John Enns, Mark McBride, Sean Roberts, and Todd Russ. Democrat Johnny Tadlock missed the vote both times.

These are the 40 members who voted no both times (the correct vote, in my view): John Bennett (R), Scott Biggs (R), David Brumbaugh (R), Chad Caldwell (R), Kevin Calvey (R), Dennis Casey (R), Josh Cockroft (R), David Derby (R), Travis Dunlap (R), Jon Echols (R), George Faught (R), Dan Fisher (R), Randy Grau (R), Elise Hall (R), Tommy Hardin (R), Dennis Johnson (R), John Paul Jordan (R), Chris Kannaday (R), Sally Kern (R), Scott Martin (R), Charles McCall (R), Mark McCullough (R), Randy McDaniel (R), Lewis Moore (R), Jason Murphey (R), Tom Newell (R), Charles Ortega (R), Leslie Osborn (R), Pat Ownbey (R), Scooter Park (R), David Perryman (D), John Pfeiffer (R), Mike Ritze (R), Dustin Roberts (R), Michael Rogers (R), Mike Sanders (R), Earl Sears (R), Chuck Strohm (R), Steve Vaughan (R), and Paul Wesselhoft

The museum will include a parking garage, which apparently is the projected means of keeping the project profitable. Seriously.

Maybe the state should solve future budget crises by building parking garages... just a thought...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Costello endorses Walker for President, urges SRLC support

(front of mailer -- click to view larger)

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello is out front early with his pick for president. Yesterday, in what I assume was a statewide mailing, Costello said "I stand with Scott Walker for President", and urged Oklahomans to attend the Southern Republican Leadership Conference this weekend and "cast your vote for Gov. Scott Walker for President in the largest regional presidential straw poll of 2015".

(back of mailer -- click to view larger)

In the mailer, Costello talked about his trip to campaign for Walker in the 2012 labor union-led recall election. There are two photos of Costello and Walker, one during the 2012 recall and another from Costello's 2014 re-election campaign. The back of the mailer details Walker's bio and accomplishments.

Walker will join the following announced or potential presidential candidates at the SRLC (which runs from Thursday through Saturday): former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Senator Ted Cruz, Mark Everson, Carly Fiorina, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, Senator Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Senator Marco Rubio, and former Senator Rick Santorum.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My thoughts on Brogdon, TC Ryan, and the OKGOP

Controversy has recently been stirred up regarding OKGOP Chairman Randy Brogdon hiring T.C. Ryan, former Tulsa County GOP State Committeeman, as his top staffer. Word got out two weeks ago that Ryan had been involved in an altercation with a girlfriend in 2012, which resulted in him receiving a misdemeanor conviction for "domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor" and for "interference with an emergency telephone call".

Nothing usually happens by accident in politics. I suspect the real target is not TC Ryan, but rather Chairman Brogdon. Perhaps the recent election for state chair has something to do with it (full disclosure: I voted for Pam Pollard).

Once the information hit the news, political figures and activists (including some who qualify as "attention-seekers") piled on to add their name to the list of those calling for one (or more) of three things: 1) Ryan's demotion, 2) Ryan's firing, 3) Brogdon's resignation. Some merely clarified that they are against domestic violence (as if it needed to be stated). Some have never been interested in helping or working with the state party before.

I'll admit - I'm a little torn about the situation. I understand what some say about giving Ryan a second chance. As a Christian, my own sins have been forgiven, and I've been given new life. As God has forgiven me, I am to forgive others. From his public statement as well as testimony from people I know, Ryan seems to have learned from this unfortunate event. I also understand the other side that says in this political climate, it is harmful for the top party staffer to have recently been convicted of domestic violence.

This has been terrible PR for the state party, on top of the financial problems left over from the past chairman. The problem is, this won't simply "go away". Brogdon has tripped a little on handling this. First he demoted Ryan (or rather, gave him a new title with essentially the same duties); now he's aggressively, even angrily, defending him. The mixed signals haven't helped.

Later this week, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference is coming to Oklahoma City. Practically every major announced or potential Republican presidential candidate will be coming to town. The last several election cycles, one of the main talking points by the Democrats has been the [absurd and trumped-up] "Republican war on women". It is not good publicity for the host party to be in the news for a staffer with a fairly recent domestic assault conviction. Given the mainstream media's leftward bias, I wouldn't be surprised if this gets dragged into the national spotlight on the SRLC.

A lot of damage has already been done. At this point, there really aren't any "good options" left. For the good of the Oklahoma Republican Party and Chairman Brogdon, I think the best option remaining is for T.C. Ryan to step down on his own.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NRA disappointed in Fallin veto of pro-gun bill

Despite public support and strong bipartisan votes in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate, Governor Mary Fallin vetoed pro-gun Senate Bill 41 yesterday.  The Governor caved to pressure from the Oklahoma City Chamber, which disseminated misinformation based on a flawed legal analysis.  The NRA is extremely disappointed that this common sense legislation was put on the back burner in favor of drummed up fears by the Chamber.

SB 41 sought to clarify that public property (open spaces such as streets and parks) remains open to law-abiding Oklahomans with a carry permit even if that public land is currently being used for another purpose by a private entity renting the space for an event.  This legislation would have provided for a necessary fix to a loophole in Oklahoma’s state firearm preemption statute.  This loophole has been exploited by misguided municipalities, resulting in a ban on law-abiding citizens carrying a firearm on open areas of public land where they have a legal right to be.  Senate Bill 41 passed the House by an 88 to 4 vote and the Senate by a 39 to 7 vote.

Current abuses pose a significant problem for lawful carry permit holders by creating an ever-changing patchwork of laws throughout the state with regard to firearms prohibitions on public land within a particular locality.  This legislation focused on reaffirming the right of a peaceful law-abiding Oklahoman to exercise his or her basic right of self-defense where they are already legally allowed to be, no matter which private entity is leasing public land at the moment.  It did not seek to expand carry into public buildings or structures.

Please contact Senate and House leadership immediately and encourage an override of the Governor’s veto and their support for restoring the provisions in SB 41 this session.  Time is running out and session is drawing to a close, so your action is needed immediately!

Please also contact Governor Mary Fallin and voice your disappointment in her veto of a pro-gun, self-defense bill that would have made Oklahomans safer.  Contact information for Governor Mary Fallin is provided below:

Office of Governor Mary Fallin:
(405) 521-2342

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Carson, Fiorina, Huckabee double GOP's 2016 field

In the last 30-odd hours, the 2016 GOP presidential primary field has doubled. Joining fellow candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio are newly-official contenders Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Mike Huckabee.

First to announce yesterday was Carly Fiorina. Fiorina is a former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and was the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate in California in 2010.

Later yesterday morning, Ben Carson held his announcement event in Detroit. Carson is a retired pediatric neurosurgeon who was well-known for his groundbreaking medical career.

This morning, Mike Huckabee joined the race. A former Baptist pastor, Huckabee served as Governor of Arkansas for ten years, and ran for President in 2008.