Oklahoma Republican Convention


Sorry about the lack of entries for the last couple of days, as I was down at the Oklahoma Republican Convention in Midwest City. It was a fun but busy time. Friday was a day-long seminar for grassroots party leaders. County party officers from across the state were there to learn about election and campaign finance laws, motivating volunteers, and fundraising. I gave a brief talk on using computers for campaigns and for off-year party building.

I went to my first State Committee meeting late Friday afternoon, where we debated amendments to the state party's permanent rules, deciding which would go before the full convention. The most controversial rule would have abolished the requirement that chairman and vice chairman not be of the same sex. It would have applied to every level of the party: precinct, county, congressional district, and statewide. I supported the move, as it would make it easier to fill precinct offices. I was surprised at the opposition to the change from the rural counties, which dominate the state committee. Some women expressed fear that women would be squeezed out of leadership if the amendment were passed. I think you'd be more likely to see women filling both top spots, given that women dominate grassroots activity in the party.

Friday night was the convention banquet. Ralph Reed , chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, and Joe Allbaugh , recently retired head of FEMA and one of George W. Bush's closest advisers in Texas, were our two main speakers, both introduced by political consultant Marc Nuttle.

The connections in politics are amusing -- Nuttle and Allbaugh first met in 1974, when Henry Bellmon was running for re-election to the Senate. The '74 Senate race (Bellmon was opposed by Ed Edmondson) was one of the closest in Oklahoma's history , and there was a controversy involving the voting machines in Tulsa County, which lacked a "straight party" lever. Bellmon was finally seated by the Senate 90 days after the election. That year Allbaugh was Bellmon's driver, Nuttle was campaign manager. 26 years later, both wind up in Florida, working on the closest presidential election in recent history -- Allbaugh as an adviser to Bush, Nuttle as an attorney working on the legalities of the recount process.

More later.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 4, 2003 10:20 AM.

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