Fallin plans lobbyist meet, skips grassroots event and forums

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You know a candidate is dodging debates when the mainstream media finally takes notice. From an Associated Press story:

But one of the campaign's front-runners has been conspicuously absent from a series of recent high-profile forums sponsored by The Oklahoma Academy.

U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, the presumptive favorite in the four-candidate race for the Republican nomination for governor, has skipped each of four gubernatorial forums sponsored by the nonpartisan policy group, including one on Wednesday where her absence was noted by one of two Democrats seeking their party's nomination.

"You deserve to have the candidates come before you and answer your questions," Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson told a crowd of more than 150 students, voters and campaign workers during the forum at Lawton's Cameron University.

If Mary Fallin can't stand up to questions, if her ideas can't stand up to scrutiny in the primary, how will she manage to prevail in November over a tough Democratic opponent with a legendary political name.

Fallin skipped another event tonight, the Tulsa Tea Party Congress, sponsored by the USA Patriots. By my count, at least 400 people were in the main hall at Tulsa Technology Center's Lemley Campus, with more milling around the candidate booths in the corridor. It was a very well organized event. Although it ran more than two hours, the audience was attentive, and nearly everyone stayed until the very last speaker.

Fallin was one of the few serious statewide candidates not in attendance. U. S. Sen. Tom Coburn was first to speak, followed by U. S. Rep. John Sullivan, along with two of his primary opponents, Patrick Haworth and Fran Moghaddam. Candidates for county office and state legislature spoke -- incumbents and challengers alike. For most of the statewide races, at least two candidates were in attendance: John Wright and Todd Lamb for Lt. Gov., Ryan Leonard and Scott Pruitt for Attorney General, Owen Laughlin and Ken Miller for State Treasurer, Jason Reese and Mark Costello (represented by his daughter) for Labor Commissioner. In other races, the front-runner was in the room: Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy, Gary Jones for State Auditor, Janet Barresi for State Superintendent, John Doak for Insurance Commissioner

The only candidate for Governor to appear was Randy Brogdon, who received one of two standing ovations of the evening (Coburn received the other).

According to Cris Kurtz, one of the organizers, all candidates (of any party, although only Republicans chose to participate) were invited. A candidate had to register and pay a fee in a timely fashion in order to speak and have a booth; the fees were to cover the cost of renting the facility. I can't imagine why a Republican would stay away from this gathering of engaged, passionate voters.

Actually, I can imagine: Fallin may feel she has to avoid head-to-head comparisons between herself and Brogdon to hold on to her lead and win the primary. Brogdon comes across as knowledgeable, passionate, positive, and personable. Fallin seems distant, detached, almost robotic at times.

What's Fallin doing instead of attending a gathering of grassroots activists? She's preparing for a big meetup tomorrow morning with lobbyists, PACs, and special interest groups. According to a Brogdon campaign press release:

Promising that they "will play a vital role in moving Oklahoma forward next year," Mary Fallin has invited lobbyists, Political Action Committees, special interest groups, and their checkbooks, to an audience before her.

Fallin's lobbyist summit will take place 10:00 AM Wednesday, July 7th at the offices of the Oklahoma Dental Association. The invitation, signed by Fallin's Campaign Manager, called lobbyists and PAC's "stakeholders in the process."

Having already collected hundreds of thousands from special interests, the Fallin for Governor Campaign seems to be dropping any pretense. Openly declaring they are the campaign catering to special interests.

No indication was given as to why lobbyists and special interest groups deserve to play so vital a role in Oklahoma's future. Mary Fallin also failed to clarify whether lobbyist's status as "stakeholder" is intrinsic, a right given by God, or if it is conditional, requiring the purchase of a "stake."

The term stakeholder, as traditionally used in the English language in law and notably gambling describes: a third party who temporarily holds money or property while its owner is still being determined.

Does Representative Fallin intend for these invited special interests to hold money or property while state government and its citizens struggle over the right of possession?

Of course, in government the term "stakeholder" refers to: only those who benefit from, or seek influence over, government activities. That certainly describes a lobbyist.

Tomorrow, lobbyists from around the country will descend on Oklahoma City, sit in the presence on the presumptive Governor and find out for themselves - the price of a "stake."

If Mary Fallin is Governor it is pretty clear who will be running the state!

We've had to fight against special interests influencing Republican local officials, trying to raise our taxes and cut special deals. Thanks to his tax problems, we were able to dump Lance Cargill before he could do too much damage to the Republican brand, with accusations of a pay-to-play operation being run out of the Speaker's office.

A state government run by the lobbyists and special interests is no better with Republicans in charge than with Democrats. As a matter of fact, it's worse, because Republicans ought to know better than to sacrifice the general welfare of the people they were elected to serve in favor of the interests of a favored few.

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2 Comments

I really enjoyed getting to see several fellow Candidates in a short period of time; people like Scott Pruitt, Randy Brogdon, and Janet Barresi.

I thought that Mike and Chris Kurtz did a very good job of putting on the event and I was glad to have an opportunity to get my 2 minutes of speaking time to some of the voters.

Sneakz said:

Do we have a Republican Martha Coakley here?

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 6, 2010 10:10 PM.

At-large councilors: They're back? was the previous entry in this blog.

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