Oklahoma primary eve political notebook
People keep sending me stuff. Here's a sampler, with a few thoughts of my own:
Pat McGuigan of CapitolBeatOK has a story about State Rep. George Faught's late surge in the 2nd Congressional District. The story notes the Faught campaign's strong cash position going into the home stretch and his deep grassroots precinct organization:
Terry Allen, a political consultant from Oklahoma who now works in the nation's capital, commented, "The Faught campaign has to be feeling pretty good right now. With 230 precinct captains, it is virtually unheard of in modern political races. This means they've covered the lion's share of where the GOP vote lies in the 2nd district, and that's impressive. The only other campaign to build a precinct walking organization to this degree is James Lankford's 2010 primary race for Congress in the 5th District.
"To build a legitimate walking and knocking operation to that scale is very difficult. If their precinct captains can indeed follow through on their tasks, then it puts Faught in the driver's seat for the nomination."
I heard from a reader who says he's supporting former State Rep. Wayne Pettigrew in the 2nd District race. (@TeamStipe calls him Poodlegrew in honor of the gentleman's hairstyle.) Pettigrew represented Edmond in the 5th Congressional District through 2004 and was still a registered voter there as of a year ago.
I'm amazed any conservative would support him. Pettigrew was one of six Republicans (Don Armes, Bill Case, Chris Hastings, Terry Ingmire, and Ron Peters were the other five) who broke ranks with the rest of the caucus and supported Brad Henry's lottery bill (HB1278, 2003 session), which in turn opened the door to rampant Class III Indian gaming. Had any two of those six voted with their Republican brethren that would have been sufficient, combined with the seven Democrats who voted no, to block the lottery bill from going to the voters.
CORRECTION: The House Journal record of the vote listed members only by last name and with no indication of party, which led me to think "Cox" in the lottery vote was Doug Cox, when it was in fact Kevin Cox, a Democrat from House District 97. I apologize for the error.
The following year, Pettigrew was forced into a runoff by primary challenger Marian Cooksey; rather than press ahead to the runoff, he withdrew. At the press conference, Pettigrove said of Cooksey and her supporters, "When you go to bed with those people, you get their crabs." (As reported in the July 10, 2004, Tulsa World.)
As I wrote at the time, most people would have gone for the "lie down with dogs, get up with fleas" metaphor, but evidently Mr. Pettigrew's mind runs in different circles.
Associated Press has a story about the 1st District primary race between incumbent John Sullivan and challenger Jim Bridenstine. The story does a good job of outlining the charges and countercharges between the two candidates.
Then there's this KRMG story on Sullivan's mailer attacking Bridenstine for taking accelerated depreciation on his alpacas. Without weighing in on the morality of depreciating domesticated camelids, I thought it was interesting that Bridenstine says he never made any money raising alpacas:
Moreover, he added, he and his wife never owned more than 20 of the animals, and they were more of a hobby than any kind of financial enterprise.
Indeed, he says that they never even sold the animals' fleece, but rather gave it away.
Alpaca raising is an interesting hobby, and hobby is an interesting term to use, because the federal tax code doesn't allow you to deduct the expenses of a hobby. What Bridenstine said in that article would lead me to believe (to borrow a favorite phrase from Bridenstine's campaign manager) that one of two things is true: Either Mr. Bridenstine was improperly taking a business tax deduction for a hobby or else his alpaca business was a failure.
Twitter user @burkeanone offered a fairly balanced series of 14 considerations in his evaluation of Bridenstine v. Sullivan; I collected them in a Storify article. The first item: "Maybe I missed it, but I haven't heard any references to what Mr. Bridenstine's civilian job since leaving TASM has been. ????"
Anyone else bugged by the Bridenstine mailer featuring the candidate in his Navy dress whites, making puppy-dog eyes at the camera, with the caption (paraphrased from memory), "Would you sling mud at this man?" While there's plenty of fine print disclaiming any endorsement by the Navy, the gist of the ad seems like he's hiding behind his uniform, even though the criticisms from the Sullivan campaign have nothing to do with Bridenstine's military service. It occurs to me that Bridenstine has Sullivan at a disadvantage when he says he never missed a mission, while sidestepping his poor record of voting (only 22.7% in major elections) and criticizing Sullivan's 91% voting record in Congress. We can easily find Sullivan's record as a congressman, but we can only go by Bridenstine's word on his naval record, unless he were to file a 180 form to allow release of his records.
MORE: In the Senate District 33 Republican primary, Don Little says that rival Nathan Dahm received illegal in-kind campaign contributions from corporations:
Nathan Dahm is a candidate for OK State Senate District 33. He recently held a Social for his campaign and received corporate sponsorship of door prizes and auction items for this official campaign event promoting his candidacy. The corporate sponsors were among this list of businesses which Nathan Dahm thanked for sponsoring his campaign event: Charlestons, The Hub, ABC Nails, Main Street Tavern, The Green Broom, Olive Garden, Sports Clips, Life Chiropractic, B.A. Nails, Chik-fil-A, Los Cabos, On The Corner, Genghis Grill, Daylight Doughnuts, BB Auto Integrity, Main Street Studios, Rumors Salon, Bella Vita, Lazy Days, Rex's Chicken, Broken Arrow Gun Shop, Chili's, Tom Hundley Heating & Cooling, & Applebees It is an Ethics violation to receive In Kind contributions from corporations, and all contributions must be reported on a candidate's Ethics Report.
True enough that he must disclose any contributions, including in-kind, but I would not be surprised to learn that each of these companies is an LLC, which can contribute to state candidates, rather than a corporation, which cannot. (And while national chains Chili's and Applebee's may not be LLCs, the local franchise operator may well be.)
STILL MORE: An interesting report in the Daily Oklahoman about trial lawyer PACs funding support for legislative candidates who are running in the Republican primary against incumbents supported by Coalition for Oklahoma's Future and Chamber of Commerce PACs. This looks more like mutual opportunism on the part of the candidates' consultant and the trial lawyers. The candidates got into the race over issues like ObamaCare implementation, but this alliance with the trial lawyers provides a source of funding that could rival the big business bucks behind their incumbent opponents -- or at least enough to keep them in the game.
MORE to come as I have time today.
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