Oklahoma Election 2010 Category
Oklahoma 2nd District Congressman Dan Boren proved me wrong.
Rather than vote a fourth time for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House (he voted for her in 2005, 2007, and 2009), the Democrat joined 10 colleagues in voting for North Carolina Democrat Heath Shuler for speaker.
Another eight Democrats also voted for someone other than Pelosi: Two of her fellow California Democrats, Jim Costa and Dennis Cardoza, voted for each other, John Lewis (D-GA) received two votes. Minority whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Jim Cooper (D-TN) each received one vote. One Democrat (Bishop of GA) voted present, and one (DeFazio of OR) wasn't even there.
All but one Republican voted for the new speaker, John Boehner. The lone holdout: John Boehner. (Often, speaker candidates abstain from the vote, although Pelosi never has.)
1997 appears to be the last time there were a significant number of dissenters -- 9 center-left Republicans opted not to vote for a second term for Newt Gingrich.
It will be interesting to see if Boren pays any price within his caucus. While the vote for speaker is normally what the British would call a three-line whip -- dissent risks expulsion from the party caucus -- Pelosi had no chance to win. Allowing Boren to vote against Pelosi takes a way a talking point from his 2012 opponent, improving Boren's odds of re-election, so that he can vote for a far-left speaker in 2013, when his vote may matter.
When my daughter and I went door-to-door in Muskogee for Charles Thompson, Boren's 2010 opponent, Boren's previous votes for Pelosi were a real door-opener; it gave us an instant rapport with voters. Had Thompson raised enough money early enough to get that message to most 2nd District voters, Boren's political career might be over.
NewsRealBlog has a piece by David Yerushalmi titled "4 Rebuttals to Critics of Oklahoma's Anti-Sharia Law," a defense of the thinking behind the constitutional amendment adopted by an overwhelming majority of Oklahoma voters on November 2 as State Question 755.
Yerushalmi says that SQ 755 was poorly drafted (and explains why in detail), but the purposes of the amendment are legitimate, and he sets out to rebut four claims by critics: (1) that SQ 755 is a response to an irrational fear of something that poses no realistic threat to Oklahomans; (2) that the amendment was "driven only by a fear-mongering anti-Islamic narrative," a "cottage industry of Islamophobia"; (3) that outlawing sharia endangers other religious courts; (4) that "sharia" has no concrete meaning, making a ban meaningless.
Especially valuable is his explanation of the mechanisms by which sharia can become a real threat to American liberties under existing law:
Specifically, there are at least three ways for sharia to find its way into our courts and legal system in ways which would deprive Oklahomans of their federal and state constitutional liberties: comity, choice of law issues, and choice of forum/venue determinations. We will touch upon each of these in brief.
In dealing with comity, Yerushalmi explains why legislative action against sharia matters:
State courts are asked to recognize and enforce foreign judgments and private arbitral awards all of the time. This procedure for recognizing another juridical body's decision as binding is called granting comity to the foreign judgment. For our purposes, a private arbitral award is like a foreign judgment because it does not arise from a state court action.
Granting comity to a foreign judgment is mostly a matter of state law. And, almost all state and federal courts will grant comity unless the recognition of the foreign judgment would violate some important public policy of the state. This doctrine is called the Void As Against Public Policy Rule and has a long and pedigreed history....
Unfortunately, because state legislatures have not been explicit about what their public policy is relative to sharia, the courts and the parties litigating in those courts are left to their own devices to first know what sharia is, and second, to understand that granting a sharia judgment comity is ipso facto offensive to our way of life and the principles underlying our constitutional republic.
And, indeed empirically, we find published judicial opinions which accept comity for sharia-based foreign judgments and arbitral awards. And these published judicial opinions quite obviously only represent the tip of the iceberg since courts render these kinds of judgments all of the time through unpublished orders rather than published opinions.
While there are also published opinions where the courts have rejected the application for comity precisely on the grounds that sharia is offensive to Due Process and Equal Protection, the courts have ended up all over the map precisely because the state legislatures have not taken the time to carefully articulate their respective public policies on the recognition of sharia-based judgments. That the people of Oklahoma have chosen to do so, even if clumsily, is hardly grounds for criticism.
Yerushalmi has drafted a model uniform act called "American Laws for American Courts" and offers a free CLE course (an online, 40-minute, narrated PowerPoint) on the proposal and the problem it seeks to address.
The draft law appears to address the heart of the matter: We don't want the state's police power used to enforce judgments made under any system of law that does not include all the rights, privileges, and liberties guaranteed under our Federal and state constitutions. While waiting for the federal courts to address SQ 755, our Oklahoma legislators should consider passing the American Laws for American Courts act in some form as a substitute if SQ 755 is overturned or a clarification otherwise.
"Zombie," a blogger known for documenting through photographs the nauseating obscenity of festivals and protests in the Bay Area, is documenting a political and geographical form of obscenity: The gerrymander, the deliberate drawing of district lines for political advantage.
The first of two recent posts -- Gerrymandering 101 -- explains what gerrymandering is, why it's done, and the different types of gerrymanders:
This essay explains in no uncertain terms how manipulating district boundaries can lead to a complete subversion of true representative government....
You may have wondered how America overall tends to prefer conservative policies (pollsters like to say "We're a center/right country") yet we often have a liberal or at least Democratic majority in the Congress. How can this be? Gerrymandering. It's so powerful that it has at times fundamentally altered the political slant of our government.
Zombie includes some simple but effective illustrations, explains how gerrymandering can backfire (as it did in the 2010 election), and notes an additional factor promoting the practice: the racial "packing" mandated by the Federal Voting Rights Act, which has created some of the most bizarre "map monsters," as Zombie calls them.
In part 2, we're given a look at the ten most gerrymandered U. S. House districts, with evocative names like "rabbit on a skateboard" and "water skier checking email on his Blackberry" plus a bonus set of 20 districts that shouldn't even be legal, as they are not contiguous (they use bizarre over-water boundaries to satisfy -- technically -- the contiguity requirement).
Zombie challenges Republicans, with the upper hand in the upcoming decennial redistricting, to do better than the Democrats in drawing compact, reasonable districts. In a representative government, voters choose their representatives. In gerrymander-land, elected officials choose their constituents. True representation begins with fairly drawn districts.
Oklahoma's congressional districts are pretty good by comparison, probably because they were a compromise between a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature. It's tough because the Oklahoma City and Tulsa's metro areas are each too big to fit in a single district, so some of each metro area has to be joined to more rural areas adjacent. The plan also took into consideration the location of Oklahoma's four principal military installations (Fort Sill, Vance, Tinker, and Altus AFBs) -- districts 3 and 4 each cover two of them. While the lines had to be drawn so that the districts had exactly the same population (+/- 1 person), they managed to stick close to county boundaries, which makes the districts simpler to understand.
What are your nominations for the most gerrymandered Oklahoma legislative districts? Leave a comment below.
Jamison Faught, the Muskogee Politico, has painstakingly put together a series of maps illustrating the county-by-county results of the 2010 Oklahoma general election.
The maps are pretty and telling. The darkest red continues to be wheat country, the northwest quadrant of the state, plus Kay and Washington Counties, a traditionally Republican era even when the Democrats dominated state politics. The lightest red (and sometimes blue) area is Little Dixie, roughly south of a line from West Siloam Springs to Wewoka and east of a line from Wewoka to Durant. As you might guess from the nickname, this is the most traditionally Democrat area of Oklahoma. This is Carl Albert and Gene Stipe country.
But the maps highlight one notable exception to the Little Dixie bloc: McCurtain County, in the southeast corner of the state. Anyone know why that is?
McCurtain County elected a Republican for House District 1: Rusty Farley beat incumbent Democrat Dennis Bailey, a rematch of the 2008 election. Bailey was a cooperative extension service agent for over 30 years. Bailey had raised $21,149 by October 18, plus another $2,000 by the "last-minute" disclosure deadline of October 26. Farley had raised $170 by October 18 and didn't file a last-minute report. Jamison Faught points out that only 12% of voters in the district are registered Republican. How in the world did this happen?
Not only did Farley win in McCurtain County, but the county stands out in red contrast to the rest of Little Dixie in many other races. More McCurtain County voters voted straight party Republican than straight party Democrat.
Jamison's State House and State Senate maps show the gains Republicans made this year, term limit opportunities in the House in 2012, and which Senate seats are up for election in 2012.
Several of the statewide maps show some hometown pride. The only four counties won by Jari Askins were near her home base of Duncan. Kenneth Corn, Democrat candidate for Lt. Governor, managed to win his home county of LeFlore and neighboring Haskell County; meanwhile, his Senate seat went Republican. I'm going to guess that AG candidate Jim Priest has some personal connection to Pontotoc County.
For your next task, Jamison: The Oklahoma State Election Board has posted precinct-level election results for the 2010 general election. Have fun with it!
Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, a Clinton appointee to the Western District of Oklahoma and former Democrat legislator from Oklahoma City, blocked the Oklahoma State Election Board from certifying the landslide passage of SQ 755. SQ 755 forbids Oklahoma courts from looking to "the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law." The injunction is in response to a lawsuit filed by Muneer Awad, the state director of CAIR. (Awad doesn't show up as a registered voter in Oklahoma as recently as August of this year.)
Miles-LaGrange's decision makes no sense. Even if there were a constitutional issue with the new amendment, the proper remedy is to enjoin the law's enforcement. Halting certification of the vote would make sense only if there were alleged constitutional violations in the voting process.
Gabriel Malor, at Ace of Spades HQ. Malor, an attorney who is originally from Oklahoma, points out that the amendment plainly does not say what the CAIR complaint
Here's what this ruling means: the people are allowed to play at republican democracy, with their quaint little ballot initiatives. But in the end, we have philosopher kings -- in the person of unelected judges -- who will do the real deciding for us....
Whether you like the law or not; or whether you believe it necessary or not; whether you believe it passes the Lemon test or not; what is at stake here is the court's ability to tell you directly that what you've said and meant is not what you've said and meant -- and that what you've voted to establish into law is potentially unconstitutional on the basis that others who know what you meant can make the text show that it means something other than you designed it to mean.
Governor-elect Mary Fallin today announced the selection of the two co-chairs of her transition team, Devon Executive Chairman and former Oklahoma State Chamber Chairman Larry Nichols and Senator Glenn Coffee.
I was disappointed to see that both are from Oklahoma City, so talented Tulsans and other Oklahomans are likely to be overlooked for Fallin administration positions. More than that, I was disappointed not to see a Tom Coburn-style limited-government conservative as one of Fallin's picks.
Now, both are accomplished men, Coffee as a leader in the Oklahoma State Senate and Nichols in the oil and gas business, but the message I received from these appointments is that the Fallin administration is going to follow the wheeler-dealer Republican path, as I had feared.
Republican officials tend to divide into wheeler-dealers and square-dealers. Square-dealers are in earnest about reducing the size and scope of government, simplifying the tax code, and reducing red tape. What rules there are should be fair to all and equally applied. The market, not the government, should be picking winners and losers.
Wheeler-dealers pay only lip service to the professed Republican values of limited but effective government. For wheeler-dealers, big, complicated government is good, because it can be used to reward political supporters and to punish political adversaries. It's a modern version of the Jacksonian spoils system, but instead of rewarding their voters with government jobs, the victorious team rewards its campaign contributors with tax and regulatory changes to give them an advantage in the marketplace. In theory, the campaign dollars will continue to flow from these favored contributors and from those hoping for such favor, as they come to understand that you must pay to play.
Wheeler-Dealer Road leads to scandal, corruption, and ejection from office. That's the path that congressional Republicans went down in the mid 2000s (Enron, Jack Abramoff), and the path that former Oklahoma Speaker Lance Cargill and his consultant buddies started us down. The result: Congressional Republicans lost their credibility and their majority in 2006, and the free-market ideals that Republicans professed (but didn't practice) were discredited. But Oklahoma Republicans of the square-dealer variety rejected Cargill's leadership, corrected course, and continued to grow their majority, producing last Tuesday's breathtaking result.
Fortunately, the Oklahoma legislature has a number of stalwart square-dealers who will call their colleagues to account. One of them is State Rep. David Dank, who has a must-read op-ed in the Monday, November 8, 2010, Oklahoman. A few key points:
To deliver what we promised, we must take at least five clear actions.
First, our conduct must be above reproach. Oklahoma has experienced too many sordid scandals throughout its history. Voters are right to demand good character from their elected officials, and anyone who violates that trust should be shunned....
Finally, the new Republican super majority must be worthy custodians of the public's money. It's theirs, not ours, and we must be held accountable for how we spend it. Our model should be Oklahoma's outstanding Sen. Tom Coburn, and that should start with a careful examination of tax credits to assure that only those that actually create jobs are enacted or retained.
I was honored to receive a strong vote of support from my constituents in District 85 on Election Day. But I am also old enough to know that today's approval can become tomorrow's rejection for those who fail to keep their promises.
Republicans have a unique opportunity to remake our state -- but only if we honor that public trust we were handed last week.
MORE: Fallin names economic team: Bob Sullivan, David Rainbolt, Gary Sherrer.
I've got some thoughts but am too tired to articulate them in any detail right now, so here are a few bullet points:
There's lots of reasons to rejoice, particularly in Oklahoma. Every statewide office in Oklahoma is in Republican hands, and they're all good hands, to boot.
Given that the GOP already had control of both houses of the Oklahoma legislature and was in no danger of losing either, I hadn't been paying close attention, so I was floored to learn that Republicans had a gain of 8 House and 6 Senate seats. Republicans beat 5 House incumbents and won three open seats, including House 66 (Sand Springs to midtown Tulsa).
In the Senate, Josh Brecheen beat an incumbent Democrat in Little Dixie (!), 57-43, and Kim David won Senate 18 -- a seat that has belonged to the Easley family (fils et mère) for eons. Republicans won 7 of the 10 Senate seats on the ballot. There were 4 unchallenged D seats, but 10 unchallenged R seats, making the total GOP take in this election 17-7.
Partisan breakdown in the upcoming 53rd Oklahoma Legislature: 70 R - 31 D in the House, 32 R - 16 D in the Senate.
Republicans won every contested DA election. Having Republican DAs in rural Oklahoma is a very big deal. That, plus the election of Gary Jones as State Auditor, may mean that shenanigans by county and municipal governments, school boards, and various other boards and authorities will get the scrutiny they deserve. Rex Duncan, former State Rep., is now DA for District 10 (Osage, Pawnee), and Brian Kuester won his second attempt for DA in District 27 (Wagoner, Cherokee, Adair, Sequoyah). Alan Gentges, the Democrat nominee for 1st District Congress in 2008, lost his race for DA District 11 (Washington, Nowata) 27%-73%. (Here's a map of the DA districts, which for some reason don't match the judicial districts.)
All the state questions went the way I'd hoped. 744 was deservedly crushed. The NEA blew a lot of money, and we can hope it will deter them from trying anything so foolish in other states.
At the county level, Ken Yazel won re-election as County Assessor (Nancy Bolzle is now officially a perennial candidate), and we kept Wilbert Collins from returning to the County Commission; John Smaligo retained that seat. Republicans need to clean house in 2012.
Nationally, the Republican victory was not as big as I had hoped, but it was still very impressive, with the Dems now below 200 seats in the House. Our Senate success was limited in part because 2004 was a good year for the GOP, so we had fewer opportunities to pick up seats. The distrust earned by the NRSC (endorsing RINOs like Charlie Crist over good conservative candidates like Marco Rubio) left them with fewer dollars to spend on GOTV.
I was in the room Tuesday night, at about 11 pm, when Francisco Canseco gave his victory speech. Returns were slow to come in, the gap was only a few thousand votes, so it took a while before victory was assured. Although I missed being with old friends at watch parties in Tulsa, it was exciting to have had a small part (making phone calls Monday night) in defeating a Democrat and getting Nancy Pelosi fired as speaker and off that Gulfstream jet.
NRO political analyst Jim Geraghty tweeted on Wednesday:
Bizarre feeling this morning. In short, this is the most frustrating overwhelming landslide victory of all time.
Despite all the good news, I felt the same way. More about that in another post.
Corrected: Republicans have 32 seats in the State Senate, not 24 as I first wrote.
Happy Election Day! Polls open across Oklahoma at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Results should start rolling in soon after. The state election board website will update results as they are received from the county election boards. These will lag the results from media sources, as TV and radio stations send runners to precincts to read the results, which are posted on each precinct door shortly after the polls close. To be included in the state election board's numbers, a precinct's results have to be taken to the county election board to be read into the state election computer system.
The Tulsa County Election Board promises to have live Tulsa County election results on the web.
A few resources as you go to vote:
- Oklahoma State Election Board website
- Find your polling place: Looks up your voter registration info in the state election board database, tells you where to vote and which districts you're in.
- Tulsa County Election Board
- Tulsa County Precinct Locator
- County election board locations and phone numbers (PDF)
- Who I'm voting for, with links to the endorsements of others.
- The BatesLine archive on Oklahoma Election 2010
If you run into any difficulty voting or spot any irregularity, contact the your county election board (and get some cell phone video or photos if you can). The phone number for the Tulsa County Election Board is 918-596-5780.
You may see petition circulators for Save Our Tulsa outside polling places. By state law they are not allowed any nearer than 300' -- the length of a football field -- of the ballot box. If you see a circulator within this zone, notify the precinct officials and/or call the election board and the sheriff's office. For more on this issue, read the letter by attorney Greg Bledsoe of Tulsans Defending Democracy.
Posted 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Postdated to remain at the top of the blog through poll closing time.
My picks for the final congressional result:
House 276 R - 179 D (Republican net gain of 98.)
Senate 52 R - 48 D (Republican net gain of 11: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.)
Remember: You can still help be the wave. In Tulsa, you can be a sign waver or make get-out-the-vote (GOTV) phone calls. Call Jed at 580-239-2988 or Jason at 918-261-4309 to volunteer, or just stop by Tulsa County GOP HQ.
FreedomWorks would like your help making GOTV phone calls in key races across the country.
At the very least, you can personally contact 10 of your friends and encourage them to vote. It makes a difference.
Even though I'm in San Antonio on business for a bit, I still found one more thing to do to help. I went to Frederico Canseco HQ, along with about 50 other volunteers, and dialed almost 200 numbers this evening. It was fun, and it's always interesting (to me, at any rate) to learn about new campaign processes and technologies. Canseco is challenging a two-term Democrat incumbent, Ciro Rodriguez. You may remember the YouTube video of Rodriguez swatting a bunch of papers at a constituent. Canseco is favored to win.
City Council Attorney Drew Rees has had an up-close and personal view of John Eagleton since his election to the Tulsa City Council in 2006. The blatant lie in Linda Morrissey's radio ad -- the claim that Eagleton has no significant legal experience -- has motivated Rees to speak up in support of Eagleton:
I have worked with John Eagleton for over four years. I have observed him in very stressful and contentious times. In every instance, he did not fold under pressure, and did what he believed was right. I have seen John in the courtroom, where he beat some of Tulsa's best attorneys. I have seen him be a solitary vote against a proposal and end up being vindicated in the end. He has been tried by fire and sustained his integrity. He is honest, fair, unbiased, and a very good attorney. Things I look for in a judge.
This is the first time I have openly supported a City Councilor in any campaign. Ms. Morrissey's radio commercial is why. She knowingly lied about John's legal experience, (she said he has "reportedly insignificant legal experience," when she knows he has over 25 years in as a practicing attorney, including his work as an assistant D.A.).
She also ridicules his public service as a City Councilor. I know the pressures of running for office. It is a crucible which reveals who you are and how you will act under stress. If someone cannot maintain their honesty and integrity during a relatively minor judicial race, how quickly their honesty and integrity will fold under pressures from campaign donors, death penalty decisions, or the other intense pressures which every judge must face during their tenure. She has shown she cannot withstand those pressures. John did withstand those pressures and much stronger ones.
Tulsa needs John Eagleton as a judge. He will do what is right, and treat everyone fairly. That is why I am asking you to vote for John Eagleton for judge.
On Eagleton's website is a long list of community leaders who endorse him, including State Sen. Randy Brogdon, Tim Harris (the sitting District Attorney, in his individual capacity), former DA Chuck Richardson, current City Councilors Jack Henderson, Rick Westcott, Roscoe Turner, and G. T. Bynum, Sally Bell (current GOP chairman), Jerry Buchanan (former GOP chairman), Reuben Gant (Greenwood Chamber of Commerce), and many more.
While I encourage you to vote straight Republican in Oklahoma -- in every race I've looked at, the Republican is the best choice -- there are a few races where I want to underline, bold, and otherwise call attention to my endorsement, because the stakes are so high and the GOP candidate is far and away the best choice. A prime example: Gary Jones for State Auditor and Inspector.
Our previously elected auditor, Jeff McMahan, is now in prison, thanks in large part to Gary Jones's investigation, performed on his own time and on his own dime.
McMahan's appointed successor, Steve Burrage, appears to have ties to the old Stipe-Phipps-McMahan political corruption machine. From Steve Fair's blog entry about the auditor's race:
Shouldn't voters know that Burrage's bank was the one used by former State Senator Gene Stipe and Steve Phipps to funnel taxpayer dollars to their non-existent dog food plant? In the interest of full disclosure, shouldn't the paper tell voters his brother was Stipe's lawyer?
It is curious that Gov. Henry would reach into Antlers, the tiny seat of Pushmataha County in southeast Oklahoma, to pick a new auditor, when it just happened to have been home to the abstract company owned by Steve Phipps and Gene Stipe and the Rural Development Foundation that was central to the scheme. What are the odds?
Even though he's on the state's time and dime, Burrage hasn't been able to complete the Broken Arrow school district audit as scheduled. According to Jones, Burrage hasn't completed a single county audit.
I believe that we have barely scratched the surface of government corruption in Oklahoma. There are so many ways you could hide the scams and ripoffs: transferable tax credits, no-bid single-source contracts, large contracts structured into smaller ones to stay under the threshold requiring competition.
Here's a great way you could enrich yourself, if you were a county commissioner, at the taxpayer's expense: Form an LLC to handle bond management services, but be sure you aren't listed as a registered agent. As a member of the county's industrial authority, you vote to hire that LLC to handle the county's bond business. The LLC charges higher than customary rates for bond management, and you get the profits. Sure, the taxpayer gets less value for his taxes because too much is going to bond-related expenses, but you deserve it.
Now if you're a taxpayer and want to uncover such shenanigans, you need Gary Jones, CPA, as State Auditor. He has the intellectual firepower to look at a financial statement and to know where to start digging. He has the persistence to keep digging in the face of resistance. In fact, he knows that resistance means you've found the right place to dig. Gary Jones has the courage to step on toes when he needs too, even when those toes belong to fellow Republicans.
I trust Gary Jones to find waste, fraud, and abuse, so that taxpayers can keep more of their money and so that the money we send to our state capitol and our county courthouses is used truly to serve the citizens, not to line someone's pockets.
The clubby insiders are doing all they can to oust County Assessor Ken Yazel. It might be because he's the only county official who has opposed county tax increases for frivolities. It might be because he insists on assessing fair market value for everyone, even the very wealthy. It might be because he not only professes to support transparency, he lives it, making county property records, which are public records, available in a convenient way to the public.
I got a mailer Thursday from Nancy Bolzle, the unqualified Democrat running against County Assessor Ken Yazel, and I'm planning to hold onto it for a long time. It contains what may be the definitive list of Money Belt RINOs -- the kind of Republicans for whom money and connections mean more than principle. On this list you will find Republicans (in name, at least) who supported Money Belt Democrats like Susan Savage and Kathy Taylor for Mayor. Some of the list's members backed the recall effort against Republican City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock. I see several names that were involved in Tulsans for Better Government -- the first group to push for at-large councilors -- and TBG's successor, Save Our Tulsa, Dahlink. These RINOs like non-partisan elections, because the only party that matters to them is the kind that Danna Sue Walker writes about in the society column monopoly daily newspaper. They aren't the kind of Republicans that support limited government. Big government is dandy as long as it's run by themselves, their associates, and those who are beholden to them.
There are lots of homebuilders and developers on the list. It might be because of social connections, or it might be because, if you own a lot of real estate, you'd like to have some control over the person who controls your property tax level.
It's hard to find comps for a house worth, say, $25 million, so -- hypothetically speaking -- if you own such a house, you might want an assessor who will use her discretion to lowball your assessment, in gratitude for all the exciting parties she'll get to attend in your $25 million house. (The taxes for the little people will have to go up to make up the difference, but that's no skin off your nose.) You probably wouldn't want the assessor to be an old Marine major who insists on fair treatment for the great and lowly alike and who could care less about your fancy parties in your fancy house.
There was a robocall Sunday night smearing Yazel, coming from a shadowy organization called "Tulsans for Truth." The message started with "I'm not Sarah Palin but I AM a Republican." I guess we won't find out until after the election who has funded this group. I have my guesses. I won't be surprised to see a list of Vanguard corporate officials and other business partners of Mr. Kathy Taylor -- the same ones that helped Chris Trail beat Bill Martinson. These Money Belt RINOs (and DINOs) don't want smart people like Bill Martinson and Ken Yazel in government, watching how your money gets spent.
I hope you'll vote for Ken Yazel, and you'll call 10 of your friends and tell them to do the same. It's important for taxpayers to have at least one true friend at the county courthouse.
So the other two volunteers from the Tulsa area had to cancel. The expected number of local Muskogee volunteers didn't materialize. I think there were about 7 by the time all was said and done, including me and my 10-year-old daughter. Only three of us had any of the four pizzas I bought (for the 16 hungry folk that were expected), and we barely cracked the four two-liter bottles of pop. (The awesome homemade peanut butter and chocolate-chip-oatmeal cookies eased the disappointment considerably.)
But it was still a day well worth while. On the ride down, my daughter read through the sample ballot I brought her from the election board. She read through all the state questions and peppered me with questions. We talked about the judicial selection process, the rainy day fund, and sharia law. Along the route I pointed out the TV towers, and we talked about how television signals get from the networks to the local studios to the local stations towers to the cable company to the TV set (and why the Weather Channel doesn't need a tower at all). I pointed out the KTUL tower, still one of the 100 tallest freestanding structures in the world.
At HQ, while waiting for other volunteers to arrive, we heard about the frequent sign vandalism that has plagued the Thompson campaign. Boren's supporters are showing indications of feeling threatened.
(Ever notice how it's always the insurgent, grassroots candidates' signs that get stolen, while the establishment candidates' signs stay put. By the way, someone stole a John Eagleton sign and a Molly McKay sign out of my front yard Thursday night, even though they were well back from the street. A couple of days earlier, I had found that same Eagleton sign flat on the ground.)
I was happy to learn that our efforts were coordinated with the state Republican GOTV effort. We had a "slate card" -- all GOP nominees for the precinct on a door hanger -- and a push card for Charles Thompson, and we had the state party's list of voters to target.
My daughter and I were originally given a sprawling (10 sq mi) suburban precinct to cover. I opted instead for a compact precinct in town, where distances were shorter and the street layout was somewhat Cartesian. Somewhat.
We began by parking and walking two or three blocks in each direction to cover nearby homes. That became irksome to my little girl, whose legs are much shorter and slower than mine. Also, the three pieces of pizza and Pepsi were not sitting well. After a pitstop, we changed methods. I would drive and hop out of the car to deliver flyers; she would mark up the list of houses to visit, advise me of the next place to stop, and hand me the flyers. It sped us up considerably; still, it took us about 4 hours (not counting the break) to cover about 100 households. It would have been quicker if I had known the neighborhood. (I certainly know it now!)
Here's what I learned about navigating the streets of Muskogee.
- Given a house with number n, the house next door may have house number n+2, n+20, or any value in between.
- Given a house with number n, the house directly across the street may have house number n+1, n+101, or any value in between.
- In other words, two house numbers that are numerically near-neighbors may be quite distant.
- House numbers on a street are not guaranteed to increase or decrease monotonically with a given direction of travel.
And regarding the display of house numbers: Folks, do you want to die while the ambulance driver tries to figure out which house is yours? The house number ought to be prominently near the door of your house, on your curb, and on your mailbox if you have one.
Also, if you care about political candidates and really want to help them campaign effectively, you will UPDATE YOUR VOTER REGISTRATION WITH YOUR CURRENT ADDRESS. Do you want your favorite candidate's volunteers dodging chained pitbulls and risking an ankle to the so-called "steps" -- the wood rot and carpenter ant damage has only left rungs, really -- to try to deliver to you a reminder to vote at the house where you haven't lived for 10 years and which has since passed through the hands of a series of rental owners with decreasing standards for upkeep and tenants and at which no likely voter lives because everyone in the house has a rap sheet as long as your arm? Do you, bub?
I generally left literature at the door, without knocking, but if someone had the front door open or was out in the yard, I'd stop to talk. We and our cause were well received. No one greeted me rudely. Many people volunteered that they had already planned to vote for Thompson and a straight ticket. They want Pelosi and posse gone, and they understand that getting rid of Dan Boren gets us one step closer to that goal. At one home, I was speaking to the lady of the house, when the husband came out. "I just wanted to make sure you wasn't no dam Democrat."
We finished a bit before sunset, turned in our leftover materials, then headed to My Place for barbecue before driving back to Tulsa. We played "I went to the beach and took" to pass the time on the ride home. (Each person in turn adds some oddball object to the list, in alphabetical order, after perfectly reciting the list of all previous items.) Our list: "I went to the beach and took an altimeter, a barometer, a chronometer, a denominator, an elevator, a fraction, a gummy bear, helium filled balloons, iodine, jack o' lanterns, a kilometer, a lamb, a microsecond, a nail, an oscilloscope, a porch light, a quadrangle, a rectangle, a square, a tenacious triangle, an umbrella, a volleyball, a w [can't remember w], a xylophone [natch], a yak, and a zebu."
Then we played the alphabet game. Did you know it's pretty easy to find a Q in Tulsa? A phrase in a Mother Nature's Pest Control billboard -- "sleeping with spiders?" -- inspired another alphabetical game: "Abiding with Ants?" "Bathing with Beetles?" "Cooking with Cockroaches?" "Eating with Earwigs?" "Fellowshipping with Fleas?" (We couldn't think of a good D.)
At home, I played Candy Land and the Wiggles Game with the four-year old. Next time I'm taking all the special cards out of the Candy Land deck. Do you know what it's like for a sleepy four year old to be on the verge of victory and then to draw the Plumpy card? And the Wiggles Game is fun, but it may not be the best way to wind down before bed. ("Tickle someone." "Walk like a pirate." "Dance like Dorothy the Dinosaur.")
(Big son was busy getting ready for the middle school musical -- Disney's Aladdin Jr.. He plays the main bad guy. Tickets are still available for next weekend's performances -- November 5, 6, and 7. Come experience a little private school that knows how to put on a big production. Many of the middle school actors are veterans of Spotlight Children's Theater and Encore! Playhouse.)
In addition to our get-out-the-vote effort tomorrow in Muskogee (still time to sign up for that, by the way), there are a lot of opportunities to help Republican candidates get out the vote in the Tulsa area (and elsewhere in the state, too).
The Oklahoma Republican Party needs people to call voters, to walk precincts, delivering campaign material to homes, and to wave signs on street corners.
They especially need walkers. They'll give you materials, a list of houses to visit, and a map. You don't need to knock on doors -- just hang the campaign literature on the door handle. It's easy, it's fun, and tomorrow (Saturday, October 30, 2010) will be a beautiful day for it. The hope is to do as much of the walking on Saturday as possible, continuing Sunday afternoon if necessary.
On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, they need people to stand on the corner and wave signs to remind people to vote on election day.
To volunteer to walk for the GOP's GOTV effort in the Tulsa area, contact Jed Cochran. His number is 580-239-2988, or you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to help with phone calling or sign waving, you can contact Jed at the number above, and you can also contact Jason Carini with the Coburn for Senate campaign at (918) 261-4309 or email@example.com
There's also the opportunity to make calls from home -- contact Jason for details.
Phone calls will be going out between 10 am and 9 pm on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday from the Tulsa County GOP Headquarters. Call shifts will run from 10am-1pm, 1-4pm, 4-7pm, and 7-9pm. They'll have drinks, snacks, and meals for those who come out and make calls
Tulsa County GOP HQ will be staffed from 7 am to 11 pm from now through Election Day.
If you plan to help as a walker, caller, or sign waver, give Jed or Jason a call, so they can be ready for you when you come by.
Early voting for the Oklahoma 2010 general election began today, Friday, October 29, 2010, at your county election board headquarters. The Tulsa County Election Board is at 555 N. Denver Ave., just north of downtown Tulsa.
Here are the dates and times for early voting this year:
|Friday, October 29, 2010||8 am - 6 pm|
|Saturday, October 30, 2010||8 am - 1 pm|
|Monday, November 1, 2010||8 am - 6 pm|
On Election Day, Tuesday, November 2, 2010, polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.
For those of you who have asked, here is how I plan to mark my ballot. Follow the links to read an endorsement piece (mainly mine, some from other bloggers) about the candidate mentioned.
|Lt. Governor||Todd Lamb|
|State Auditor and Inspector||Gary Jones|
|Attorney General||Scott Pruitt|
|State Treasurer||Ken Miller|
|Superintendent of Public Instruction||Janet Barresi|
|Commissioner of Labor||Mark Costello|
|Insurance Commissioner||John Doak|
|U. S. Senator||Tom Coburn|
|U. S. Representative, District No. 1||John Sullivan|
|State Representative, District 78||Molly McKay|
|County Assessor||Ken Yazel|
|District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 9||John Eagleton|
|District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 13||Bill Musseman|
|District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 14||Jon Patton|
As I said in my earlier "cheat-sheet" entry, in all the races I've studied, the Republican candidate is well-qualified and the best choice. I haven't tried to list all of them, just those that I'll get to vote on.
Judicial retention: My default position is no on all of them, unless someone can make the case for voting yes. Jamison Faught has offered some reasons for voting to retain Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice James R. Winchester. (MORE: Steve Fair concurs.)
The Oklahoma Supreme Court justices and Court of Civil Appeals judges on the ballot answered a brief questionnaire for the League of Women Voters.
The State Questions and City of Tulsa propositions: No on the 4s (744, 754), yes on everything else.
|SQ 744||school funding tied to other states||No|
|SQ 746||voter ID||Yes|
|SQ 747||term limits for all statewide officials||Yes|
|SQ 748||composition of apportionment commission||Yes|
|SQ 750||consistent signature requirements for initiative petitions||Yes|
|SQ 751||official state actions in English||Yes|
|SQ 752||composition of judicial nominating commission||Yes|
|SQ 754||ban on predetermined formulas for spending||No|
|SQ 755||courts can't consider sharia, international law in decisions||Yes|
|SQ 756||ban on Obamacare coercion||Yes|
|SQ 757||rainy day fund increase||Yes|
|Tulsa Prop 1||establishing a rainy day fund||Yes|
|Tulsa Prop 2||establishing a legal date for city primary in even years||Yes|
Endorsements and voter guides elsewhere:
Oklahomans for Life voter guide: Candidate responses to questions about abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cell research.
Jamison Faught (aka the Muskogee Politico) has published a list of his endorsements, with some detail about his rationale in each case.
Mike McCarville has news from Oklahoma campaigns, campaign commercials, and press releases. Great way to get caught up on the "story so far" in this election year.
Steve Fair, a Republican grassroots leader from southwestern Oklahoma, has some great commentary on state questions, judges, Gary Jones for State Auditor (and opponent Steve Burrage's connections with the corrupt Stipe-Phipps-McMahan machine), and Democrat desperation and mudslinging.
NOTE: This is what I get for writing at 2 a.m.; I wrote no when I meant YES -- as in vote YES on SQ 755. Thanks to the observant reader who caught it.
Oklahoma State Question 755 is another fine example of a proposed constitutional amendment that Ayatollah General Drew Edmondson eviscerated on its way to the ballot, misusing his power to rewrite ballot titles, without check or balance. As with SQ 754, Edmondson left out some important points and distorted others in his rewrite of the "gist of the proposition."
(By the way, this sort of thing is why we need Scott Pruitt as our next Attorney General.)
The principle behind SQ 755 is straightforward: In determining cases, Oklahoma judges should stick to the laws approved by the people of Oklahoma and their representatives, not laws in foreign jurisdictions or laws of foreign cultures over which the people of Oklahoma have no control.
Here is the amendment that would be added to the Oklahoma Constitution, as Article 7, Section 1, Subsection C, if SQ 755 is approved by the voters:
C. The Courts provided for in subsection A of this section, when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code, federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.
The passage of SQ 755 would make a minor correction to Subsection A of Article 7, Section 1, ("State Industrial Court" replaced with the current name of "Workers Compensation Court"), and would add a new Subsection B, which gives a name to Subsection C.
Click this link for the Oklahoma SQ 755 PDF showing the legislation that contains the proposed constitutional amendment and Edmondson's rewrite of the ballot title.
Edmondson's ballot title fails even to hint at a point that is the key to the whole amendment: "The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures."
There was a U. S. Supreme Court case in 2003 -- Lawrence v. Texas -- in which the majority decision cited foreign laws and foreign court precedents in deciding to overturn laws duly approved by the elected representatives of the citizens of several states. In his dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:
In any event, an "emerging awareness" is by definition not "deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition[s]," as we have said "fundamental right" status requires. Constitutional entitlements do not spring into existence because some States choose to lessen or eliminate criminal sanctions on certain behavior. Much less do they spring into existence, as the Court seems to believe, because foreign nations decriminalize conduct.
A USA Today article from the same period noted the significance of the citing of a foreign precedent and speculated about future implications:
Never before had the Supreme Court's majority cited a foreign legal precedent in such a big case. Kennedy's opinion in Lawrence vs. Texas, which was signed by four other justices, has ignited a debate among analysts over whether it was a signal that the justices will adopt foreign courts' views of individual liberties.
In theory, that could mean the conservative court someday might be influenced by other countries' opposition to the death penalty, their emphasis on foreign prisoners' rights and even their acceptance of same-sex marriages. (Last month, a court in Canada lifted a ban on such unions.)
But it is far from clear that the U.S. high court routinely will turn to foreign law, and the practice has its critics -- notably Justice Antonin Scalia. When the court interprets the Constitution, he has written, U.S. attitudes about what is decent and right -- not foreign ones -- are what should matter....
Last year, Justice John Paul Stevens cited foreign law in a footnote when the majority banned executions of mentally retarded convicts. Stevens noted that "within the world community, the ... death penalty for crimes committed by mentally retarded offenders is overwhelmingly disapproved."
That drew a rebuke from Scalia, who said, "The views of other nations, however enlightened the justices of this court may think them to be, cannot be imposed upon Americans through the Constitution." Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Clarence Thomas joined Scalia in his dissent.
In the Texas case, Scalia -- joined once again by Rehnquist and Thomas -- wrote that "the court's discussion of these foreign views (ignoring, of course, the many countries that have retained criminal prohibitions on sodomy) is ... meaningless dicta. Dangerous dicta, however, since this court should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans." (Justice Sandra Day O'Connor voted with the Kennedy majority in the case but wrote a separate opinion.)
The last phrase in the Scalia quote is actually from Justice Clarence Thomas, in a footnote in his concurring decision denying certiorari in Foster v. Florida (emphasis added, citations removed for readability):
Justice Breyer notes that the Supreme Court of Canada has expressed concern over delays in the administration of the death penalty in the United States.... I daresay that court would be even more alarmed were there, as Blackstone commended, only a 48-hour delay between sentence and execution.... In any event, Justice Breyer has only added another foreign court to his list while still failing to ground support for his theory in any decision by an American court.... While Congress, as a legislature, may wish to consider the actions of other nations on any issue it likes, this Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans.
Any American judge or justice that uses foreign law as a basis for a decision ought to be impeached. Americans didn't get to vote for the legislators in France or Sweden or Russia. We didn't get to vote for the officials who chose the justices on the European Court.
Now, to address specifically the question of sharia or Islamic law: Already, courts in Britain and Canada are giving full legal force to decisions made by sharia tribunals. How does this happen? How does this medieval system of law gain a foothold in nations whose legal traditions are rooted in Magna Carta?
For your reference:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's backgrounder on how the Ontario Arbitration Act has been used to set up Muslim courts of law, under which matters of divorce, child custody, and inheritance would be decided, in a binding way, according to Islamic law, rather than the laws of the state. The backgrounder explains why many women, especially those who left Islamic countries to live freely in Canada, fear this development:
The proposal ran into opposition from women's groups, legal organizations and the Muslim Canadian Congress, which all warned that the 1,400-year-old Shariah law does not view women as equal to men.
In her report, [former Ontario Attorney General Marion] Boyd noted that some "participants in the Review fear that the use of arbitration is the beginning of a process whose end goal is a separate political identity for Muslims in Canada, that has not been the experience of other groups who use arbitration."
In May 2005, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously supported a motion to block the use of Shariah law in Quebec courts. ...
The arbitration process as set out in the Arbitration Act is voluntary. Most of the concerns about the creation of "Shariah" tribunals have focused on the fear that Muslim women may feel they are being forced into taking part in a process of binding arbitration according to Muslim family law instead of resolving their disputes through the court system.
And in Britain, in 2008, the Daily Telegraph reported that Sharia courts had been in operation for some time:
Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said that sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals under a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.
The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case....
Mr Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.
The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.
In the six cases of domestic violence, Mr Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.
In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.
Melanie Phillips' Spectator column on the topic is a lengthy rebuttal of the willingness of Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to yield to the establishment of sharia in Britain:
Either way, his proposal would also mean that Britain would simply abandon its female Muslim citizens whose parlous position in respect of forced marriages, honour killings and all the other horrors that follow from their second-class religious status would be institutionalised by giving sharia law official recognition. Dr Williams says such women should still retain the right of appeal to the English courts if their human rights were breached under sharia. What absurdity is this? It is the cultural assumptions which flow from sharia which lead to the oppression of Muslim women. How is the right of appeal to human rights law going to help women who are beaten and killed by men who do it in the name of religion? In order to protect our female Muslim citizens, we need to remove from them the yoke of sharia law, not institutionalise it with the seal of official approval....
The rules of our society have always been entirely clear: one law for all. The only challenge to that has come from those Muslims who want to destroy that foundational precept and along with it British culture and western society. And now the head of the Anglican church has joined them in wanting to tear up the rules governing the position of minorities which have been perfectly clear ever since the Enlightenment. These rules hold that religious minorities can practise their faith and religious precepts but under the over-arching umbrella of the law of the land. That means where there is a conflict between minority precepts and the law, the minority gives way. While minorities should be given the freedom to practise their religion, they must not seek to impose their own laws and customs on the majority. That is how overlapping identities can be accommodated; it is how a majority culture can acknowledge the value of other cultures without destroying itself and a nation's identity; it is the very essence of a tolerant, decent, liberal pluralist society.
Every minority until now has lived perfectly happily under that formulation. What we are now facing is a push by certain British Muslims, backed up by Islamist violence and intimidation, to change the rules of the national cultural game. There is only one proper response to that: to say that not one inch of leeway will be given to sharia law, that British society will not dilute the legal principles which govern all its citizens, and that Muslims must observe the same rules that govern every other minority in this country.
And that is what Oklahomans must say on November 2: Not one inch of leeway to sharia law or to the judicial imposition of any law that has not been duly established under our Constitution and statutes by our elected representatives. Vote YES on SQ 755.
MORE: A good overview of the sharia controversies in Canada and Britain, by Eileen F. Toplansky at American Thinker
Perspective on SQ 755 from ztruth, an Oklahoma blogger who writes about Islamism in America.
I originally had this challenge buried in the bottom of this article, but I want to be sure you see it:
Are any of you volunteering your time for a candidate between now and Tuesday? You can join me in Muskogee on Saturday campaigning for Charles Thompson, volunteer for a Tulsa-area legislative candidate, volunteer (405-528-3501) to phone or distribute literature for the Oklahoma statewide GOP get-out-the-vote effort, or call voters in key districts around the country.
Just do something, and let us know about it in the comments.
One of the delights of this election season has been watching Ace, of Ace of Spades HQ, develop an appreciation for the nuts-and-bolts of political campaigns as he has become personally involved in knocking doors and phoning voters on behalf of candidates.
It's easy to be the cynic on the sidelines, to pronounce anathemas on both parties and all politicians. It's easy, if you don't know what you're talking about, to talk about the Republican Party as if it were one big monolithic machine, rather than a complex system of interactions between party activists, national, state, and county officials, precinct chairmen, elected officials, volunteers, donors, and ordinary voters. It's easy to pooh-pooh corny, old-fashioned get-out-the-vote methods like knocking on doors, phoning voters, and putting out yard signs. (It's also a highly conveeeeeeenient excuse for not getting off your behind and making a difference.)
The average American voter, focused on family, faith, job, home, friends, and hobbies, prefers not to give much thought to politics and government and usually won't until one of those things is threatened. Ideally, a limited government would keep to its constitutionally-assigned tasks and otherwise leave us alone, so we wouldn't need to keep a constant, watchful eye on City Hall, the County Courthouse, the State Capitol, and Washington.
To a political junkie, of the sort that reads this site and Ace's site, it seems strange that a voter wouldn't already know by now who he's voting for or whether he's voting at all. This is not Planet Vulcan, and it may seem highly illogical, but corny campaign techniques effectively connect with the way most voters make their decisions.
(By the way, pollster Chris Wilson and his colleague Bryon Allen of Wilson Research Services has a list of five rules-of-thumb that late-deciding voters use at the precinct. And the two wrote a piece last year on how a given voter may use different heuristics -- cognitive shortcuts to simplify decision-making in the absence of perfect knowledge -- for picking a candidate, depending on the circumstances like the number of candidates or whether it's a primary or a general election. Must reading for candidates and consultants.)
But when you hit the streets and talk to voters one-on-one, as Ace has done, you begin to understand, and Ace does a fine job of explaining why the corny stuff matters. Yard signs, for example:
On signs -- even if you just call the office to pick up a sign and put it in your yard, it's important.
Remember, people don't like voting for a name they don't know. When they see the same name up a bunch of times, they become familiar with it. Particularly if their neighbors are endorsing that man. It gives them information -- not much information, but enough. It tells them that even though they haven't done their homework and decided which candidates are worth supporting, people they know have done that homework, and those people have decided that people like Bielat, Hudak, Perry and Golnik are serious guys worth voting for.
"Serious guys worth voting for" is a crucial message. It doesn't matter how bad the incumbent is, if a voter doesn't know that there is an opponent or that he's credible, the voter may stay home or even vote for the loathsome incumbent, who is at least an experienced and credible loathsome incumbent. It's why a loathsome incumbent will spend so much airtime and ink discrediting his challenger; it keeps people from turning out to vote him out.
So, do you have signs in your yard for your favorite candidates? Call your local party HQ and pick some up, or request a sign on the candidate's website. It matters. I'd hate to think a highly qualified candidate like Janet Barresi -- started two successful public charter schools -- would lose the State Superindent's race just because voters didn't know her name.
Referring to his experience campaigning for Sean Bielat in MA-4 (he's challenging Barney Frank), Ace writes:
The minute these people hear that they have a credible candidate, a Marine and engineer, who builds robots to protect our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, they'll go for him. It's just a question of letting people know. And getting out the vote.
We've got a credible guy running right here in eastern Oklahoma -- an Army veteran, a veterinarian, running against the Pelosi-enabling heir of our own little political dynasty. But people won't vote for Charles Thompson unless they get to know him.
Which is why I'm sponsoring and participating in a get-out-the-vote effort this Saturday in Muskogee, and I'm asking you to join me.
A couple of days ago, Ace linked to a Jim Geraghty piece on four election-night scenarios: the "fading GOP wave" (House stays D, only 3 or 4 Senate seats), the "okay wave" (we take the House, pick up 6 to 8 Senate seats), the "happy times wave" (enough to take both House and Senate), and the "superwave" (60 to 90 House seats or beyond, 3 or 4-seat majority in Senate).
Explaining why door-knocking and phone-calling works, Ace pointed out that as enthused as we (the political junkies) are, an indifferent vote counts as much as an enthusiastic vote, but...
There is one way that one person's high enthusiasm translates into more votes: If he can activate, convince, persuade, or cajole a non-voter or non-enthusiastic potential voter to cast his vote his way.
That's the way that high enthusiasm translates into higher vote tallies -- when the enthusiastic share their enthusiasm with the unenthusiastic, and get the unenthusiastic to cast votes, too.
Those votes count just the same as ours, of course. But now we've got more.
I don't know why anyone would say this, but someone objected that GOTV efforts don't matter. [B.S.] That is excuse-making on stilts. GOTV is the entire name of the game. That's how we won in 2004 -- the Democrat who noted that Republican voters just kept pouring into suburban Ohio polling places. "It was like Night of the Living Dead," he said, as the 2004 turn-out effort brought so many unlikely voters to the polls....
This is how it's won. By turning out the vote. By identifying unlikely voters who are likely to vote Republican, if they just get off their asses and go down to the polling place and are confronted with the choice they've been not bothering to think about.
And that's what GOTV is about. It's about lending our enthusiasm to the unenthuiastic, to let them know our candidate's name so that the name isn't completely new and alien to them when they see it on the ballot, but rather familiar and reassuring. Giving them a little bit of bio of the candidate, so they have a quick bullet-point read on him (again, so he seems familiar), and his policy positions.
An indifferent voter will usually not vote for an unknown. It's our job to make the unknowns known to them....
That's what it's all about, especially in midterms. If our marginal voters, our loose-identifying conservatives turn out, and theirs do not, we win. If a lot of our marginal voters turn out, and theirs do not, we win big....
This is what worries me. That we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a truly historic Change but we're going to squander the opportunity for failure of translating our thoughts into actual actions, and thereby, actual votes.
The Democratic base is in fact finally thinking about the election. The fact that they are only thinking about it now doesn't make their votes count less. We've been fired up since summer of 2009 but our votes will count precisely the same.
We need more votes. That simple: We need more votes. We have to turn out everyone who leans Republican to the polls.
If you believe that America is at a crisis point, that we need a return to limited government and fiscal sanity, if you really mean it, then your belief needs to turn into action. You have a chance to make a difference.
Join me in Muskogee on Saturday for Charles Thompson. Volunteer for a Tulsa-area legislative candidate. Call Oklahoma GOP headquarters at 405-528-3501 to volunteer for the massive statewide GOTV effort. Help FreedomWorks make phone calls to voters in key districts around the country.
And if you do volunteer, encourage others to do the same by leaving a comment and letting us know about it.
I may have been wrong about 754. I made the mistake of believing the ballot title, which appears to be Ayatollah Drew Edmondson's valedictory middle finger to Oklahoma conservative voters.
The retiring attorney general, a Democrat, is notable for having three political consultants involved with the popular Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) initiative publicly shackled, notable for supporting New Jersey's bid to force the Boy Scouts to have homosexual scoutmasters, notable for enriching a number of law firms by means of the tobacco industry lawsuit (15% contingency fees plus costs and expenses), notable for fighting efforts to open state legal contracts to public disclosure and competitive bidding, notable for refusing to join other states in the suit against Obamacare, and ranked the third-worst attorney general in the nation by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
As his final gesture of contempt toward the state that foolishly elected him four times, Edmondson has taken it upon himself to editorialize in the ballot titles of several state questions, injecting his personal opinion into what should be a simple factual summary of the legislation and constitutional amendments that are being put before the voters.
SQ 754 is one of the constitutional amendments that Edmondson chose to twist. (The PDF linked contains the original legislation and the correspondence with the Attorney General's office over the ballot language.) Here is the actual language that will be added to Article 5 of the Oklahoma Constitution if SQ 754 is approved:
Section 55A. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Oklahoma Constitution to the contrary, whether such provision is in effect prior to, simultaneously with or after the provisions of this section shall become adopted, the Legislature shall not be required to make expenditures for any function of government using a predetermined formula of any kind or by reference to the expenditure levels of any other state government or any other entity. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to authorize the Legislature to make appropriations In excess of the limits allowed by Section 23 of Article X or any other provision of the Constitution.
The same legislation that proposed the amendment also proposed the language that would appear on the ballot (note that the "gist" is 123 words, 20 words longer than the actual amendment):
This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It would add a new Section 55A to Article 5. It relates to the state budget. It relates to the ability of the Legislature to spend money each year. It would allow the Legislature to make decisions about the state budget. The Legislature would be able to decide how much money to spend each year. The Legislature would not be required to spend a certain amount of money for any one government service or function. If this amendment is adopted, the Oklahoma Constitution could not require the Legislature to do this. If this amendment is adopted, the Oklahoma Constitution could not require the Legislature to make spending decisions based on how much money any other state spent.
Edmondson objected that it wasn't at an 8th grade reading comprehension level and "does not adequately explain the effect of the proposition." So he rewrote it, using his authority under 34 O.S. 9(c):
This measure adds a new section to the Oklahoma Constitution. It adds Section 55A to Article 5. The Legislature designates amounts of money to be used for certain functions. These designations are called appropriations. The measure deals with the appropriation process.
The measure limits how the Constitution could control that process. Under the measure the Constitution could not require the Legislature to fund state functions based on:
1. Predetermined constitutional formulas,
2. How much other states spend on a function,
3. How much any entity spends on a function.
Under the measure these limits on the Constitution's power to control appropriations would apply even if:
1. A later constitutional amendment changed the Constitution, or
2. A constitutional amendment to the contrary was passed at the same time as this measure.
Thus, under the measure, once adopted, the measure could not be effectively amended. Nor could it be repealed.
We're now up to 148 words. The amendment refers to expenditures. Edmondson uses the word "appropriations." The amendment is limited to whether the Constitution requiring the legislature to make expenditures -- in other words, to spend at least a required amount. Edmondson's title speaks more broadly about "the Constitution's power to control appropriations." Nowhere does the amendment prohibit its own repeal or amendment, but Edmondson falsely claims that it does.
I still am inclined to vote against SQ 754. If we don't want the legislature's hands tied when allocating scarce resources among state agencies, we should vote against propositions like SQ 744 that would tie their hands. And I'm not fond of overcomplicating our already over-complicated Constitution, especially with language that limits the effect of other constitutional provisions. Better to repeal a provision if you want it to go away.
Nevertheless, all Oklahoma voters should be offended that Drew Edmondson used the ballot as a soapbox for his opinions, not for a fair and clear description of the proposition.
A press release from the Tulsa County Bar Association about tonight's judicial candidate forum:
The Tulsa County Bar Association is hosting a forum for the public to meet and hear from the candidates running for Tulsa County District Judge.
The forum will take place on
Tuesday October 26, 2010 at 5:30 p.m.
at the Tulsa County Bar Association Center
1446 S. Boston Avenue.
The candidates scheduled to appear are:
John Eagleton Judge Linda Morrissey Judge Carl Funderburk Judge William J. Musseman, Jr. Judge Kurt Glassco Jon Patton
Each candidate will make an opening statement followed by a question and answer session.
The Public is invited and encouraged to attend this unique opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates for Tulsa County District Judge.
Coffee, tea and cookies will be served. Free Parking is available.
For additional information, call Chad McLain.
1437 S Boulder Ave, Ste 1010
Tulsa, OK 74119-3616
Fax: 918 - 359-6605
In the previous entry, I mentioned that there are congressional districts that could be competitive for conservative Republicans, districts which have voted for Republicans in the past, where the GOP challenger is a credible community leader. But they will only be competitive if volunteers show up to get the message to the voters.
One of those districts is right here in Oklahoma: The 2nd District, which covers the eastern third of the state. Although the 2nd District includes the Yellow-Dog Democrat territory known as Little Dixie, this is the district that sent Tom Coburn to Congress in 1994. The Cook Partisan Voting index is R+14.
The incumbent in Oklahoma's 2nd District is Dan Boren. Boren's record on taxation and the budget is abysmal, getting failing and near-failing grades from FreedomWorks, National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, Citizens against Government Waste, Americans for Tax Reform, and Americans for Prosperity. Whatever good he has done with centrist votes on social issues, he has undone by voting three times for Nancy Pelosi to be speaker, giving her leftist allies control of the legislative agenda. Boren voted with Nancy Pelosi to adjourn the House without extending the Bush tax cuts, set to expire at the end of the year.
The Republican nominee, Charles Thompson, is a Gulf War Army veteran and a veterinarian. He serves as a school board member in Hulbert Public Schools. He believes in limited government. He won't support bailouts, tax hikes, cap-n-trade, or massive spending binges, nor will he vote for House leadership that does.
RealClearPolitics rates OK 2 as "Likely Democrat" -- in play, but just barely. Boren is a powerful political name in Oklahoma, and young Dan works hard to hide his association with San Fran Nan and her team of far-lefties who run the House.
I believe that if 2nd District voters get to know Charles Thompson andcome to understand that Dan Boren is an enabler for loathsome liberal legislation, they'll turn Boren out of office. Friendly face-to-face conversation is the most effective way to make that happen.
That's why I've chosen Thompson's campaign for the Be the Wave event that I'm sponsoring this coming Saturday. This is the closest opportunity to Tulsa to affect the margin of Republican victory in Congress. We'll gather at noon for a briefing and a bite to eat, pair off and hit the streets for a few hours, then reconvene to swap stories over a dutch-treat dinner.
We can not only help to rid Congress of another Democrat (and terminate an ambitious Democrat's plans for political advancement), we can also turn out conservative voters to support the whole slate of conservative candidates, like Scott Pruitt for Attorney General, Gary Jones for State Auditor, and Janet Barresi for State Superintendent.
If you think Thompson is too much of a dark-horse to be worth your time, by all means find another candidate to help. If you've got an unlimited long distance plan, you can make calls for any candidate in the country.
You can sign up with FreedomWorks PAC to help with their phone-banking effort on behalf of free-market conservative candidates.
RedState's Erick Erickson has a list of 99 candidates who could use your help, and he's highlighted 25 that he'd especially like to see elected.
Three of those districts are close to home: two potential GOP takeovers in central and northeastern Arkansas (Rick Crawford in AR-1 and Tim Griffin in AR-2), and a toss-up seat in southwest Missouri's 4th District, where Vicky Hartzler is working to retire Ike Skelton.
You might want to help Patrick Murray, who grew up in Oklahoma, is an alum of OSU, and recently retired as a colonel in the U. S. Army to try to unseat Jim Moran in Virginia's 8th congressional district. Moran is a nasty piece of work who recently stated that Murray's 24 years of active military duty didn't count as public service, screamed at his parish priest after mass, was accused of abuse by his ex-wife, and doesn't believe in capitalism or property rights.
It's not the battle for Congress, but right here in the Tulsa area, good Republican legislative candidates like Molly McKay, Kim David, and Jadine Nollan have a chance to capture open seats currently held by Democrats or beat a liberal Democrat incumbent. Statewide candidates need your support, too. We should be able to win every statewide office this year, but only if conservative voters turn out.
We've got some conservative candidates for district judge here in Tulsa County that could use your help: John Eagleton, Bill Musseman, and Jon Patton. All three are registered to vote as Republicans; their opponents are not. The bench at the Tulsa County Courthouse ought to reflect Tulsa County values.
I challenge every conservative BatesLine reader to take at least two hours between now and election day to volunteer for a campaign. I'd love to have you join me this weekend, but I'd be pleased to know that you're volunteering for any candidate.
Which candidate will you help during this last week of the campaign? Post a comment and let us know.
That big, beautiful electoral wave we see building may be a mere ripple by the time it reaches shore on November 2. Some of my blogpals are worried, and rightly so.
Here's the thing: Republicans are undoubtedly going to win next Tuesday. We will pick up house seats and some Senate seats.
You control how many seats we will win.
Getting people to turn out has never been easy. The ground game is the hardest part of any campaign, which is why the party has just opted to not focus on it this go round. The failure of the party to push GOTV efforts is embarrassing. Ace laments the lack of motivation here. Melissa Clouthier blames the GOP. They're both right....
This election cycle is as much about beating the Republicans as it is about beating the Democrats. For the first time in a long time, we will have a freshman class full of Representatives and Senators that were elected only because the people wanted them there - not because they inherited a seat or were able to buy their way in. The party turned their back on many of them. There is a whole block of elected officials that owe their jobs to the people....
There is no better time to step away from your computer and put up some signs or make some phone calls than right now. November 2nd is it, people. We don't get a redo. What we do over the next eight days will impact our entire country for the next two years and beyond. This is the only shot we have at halting and reversing Obama's agenda. Right now. This week.
Ace now expects November 2 to be little more than a "pretty good night" for Republicans.
And the reason? A lot of people are sitting on their [posteriors] waiting for things to change instead of fulfilling their patriotic duties as American citizens and making the change happen.
Based on this analysis I am giving up on my big predictions and scaling back to something like 44 seats or so. We will lose all the close races (we always do), and people like Ruth McClung and Sean Bielat will lose. Only the lock seats will come through for us.
You know what the Democrats call a loss of 44 seats after they've socialized health care and blown up the budget to Greek levels? Acceptable losses. They'll take that, all day and twice on Sundays. Because they've now set the country on an inexorable path to socialism. They're playing the long game, while we're... well we're not playing any game at all.
A gain of 44 would be nice, but it wouldn't be the sound thrashing that sends the surviving Democrats scurrying in fear to make alternative career plans for 2013. A gain of 44 would not deliver the message that Americans repudiate the radical Obama-Reid-Pelosi agenda. It would be treated by the media as a failure to meet expectations.
I was very disappointed in the reaction from Ace's commenters: Effectively they told him to chill out, that the polls all looked great, that Republicans are motivated to vote, that knocking doors is beneath their dignity, and it doesn't do any good anyway.
The only poll that matters is held on November 2. The only people who will vote in that poll are the ones who remember to show up. Those of us who care about the future of the country need to motivate and remind the conservatives who only occasionally vote to show up.
In 2004, about 1.5 million Oklahoma voters showed up to elect Tom Coburn to the Senate and to give George W. Bush the majority in every single county. A massive turnout effort, organized under the leadership of then state GOP chairman Gary Jones, had volunteers contacting hundreds of thousands of conservative voters in the days leading up to the election.
Less than a million voters turned out in 2006. Gov. Brad Henry got about 100,000 votes more than John F. Kerry did in 2004, but his Republican challenger, Congressman Ernest Istook, got less than a third of the vote that George W. Bush received.
One-to-one, face-to-face contact is by far the most effective means of voter persuasion. A 2002 study by a couple of Yale political science professors found "that during a local election, each face-to-face contact with a voter increased his/her chance of voting by seven percent. Furthermore, their results suggest that every 12 face-to-face contacts garner one additional vote, even if that voter had never heard of the candidate beforehand."
It would certainly be more convenient for the candidates if robocalls, sign waving, and literature drops (the political equivalent of ring-and-run) were the most effective methods. Door-to-door campaigning is time-consuming, and it requires a lot of advance work by the campaign staff to prepare lists, maps, and literature and to recruit volunteers to do the work.
But, as Ace has discovered, retail politics is also a lot of fun. It's a chance to socialize with people who share your passion for politics, and you come back from a day knocking doors with stories of interesting encounters.
There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with government. Voters would like an alternative to the party in power, but they have to know there is a realistic hope of change for the better. There are Democratic House seats that should be competitive -- the district has voted for Republican candidates for other offices, the Republican challenger is a credible, articulate community leader -- but they won't be competitive because the challenger doesn't have the money or manpower to introduce himself to the voters.
Your effort can make the difference. Be the wave. I challenge each of you to volunteer at least two hours between now and election day for a conservative candidate. More on how to do that in the next post.
In my previous entry, I wrote about several cases in which District Judge Linda Morrissey had been reversed on appeal for abuse of discretion and errors in law. In just four hours of searching, despite internet connection problems for about half of that period and no easy way to find reversals for a given judge, I found eight such cases, by no means an exhaustive list of Morrissey's reversals.
As I expected, the entry received a lawyerly comment (posted from an IP address associated with the Tulsa law firm of Rosenstein, Fist, and Ringold) pooh-poohing the significance of these errors.
All trial judges err. Unlike some professions, a judge's error is not always indicative of incompetence. Many matters of law are unsettled, and in such cases, a reversal indicates only that the appellate court disagrees, not that the district court should have known better.
I don't buy it, and neither should the voters. In only one of the cases I looked at was there anything unsettled in the law, and in that case Morrissey went entirely in the wrong direction, looking to Michigan law and precedent rather than Oklahoma precedent, and in so doing, she went against the express wish of the decedent to give his IRA to his children. In all the other cases, Morrissey went against clear law and facts. In the civil case where Morrissey abused her discretion, it appears that she was blatantly unfair to one of the parties in the lawsuit. In the two criminal cases, Morrissey set up and followed her own sentencing policy, contrary to law. From the facts of the cases presented in the appeals court rulings, it appears that Morrissey's rulings were also contrary to common sense.
I suppose for a lawyer, a reversible error by a judge may mean more billable hours, but for the normal people involved in the case, fixing the error in appeals court means more expense, more anxiety, more waiting for justice.
Sometimes the party fouled by a judge's negligence, arrogance, or ignorance doesn't have the means to pursue an appeal. The injustice stands.
A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Scott Weisberg, who had spent some time in the Tulsa County courtroom of District Judge Linda Morrissey, in a case involving a severe head injury to his daughter, and he wanted to let the public know about his experience.
What follows is Weisberg's characterization of the case and how Morrissey handled it. In an ideal world, I'd have time to review the case in depth and draw my own conclusions. I've decided to publish Scott Weisberg's perspective on the case because he is willing to attach his name to it.
To summarize Weisberg's grievance against Linda Morrissey: A trust was set up as a result of the settlement over his daughter's injury to provide for her long-term care. His ex-wife (the girl's mother) presented receipts for reimbursement from the trust. Morrissey appointed Deborrah Ludi Leitch as guardian ad litem, ostensibly to look after the daughter's interests and to determine whether reimbursement was appropriate. On Ludi Leitch's recommendation, Morrissey denied reimbursement. According to Weisberg, the money paid to Ludi Leitch out of the trust for her services was almost as much as the amount of the disputed receipts. In Weisberg's opinion, Morrissey could have evaluated the receipts herself, leaving more money in the trust for his daughter's future care.
What follows in the block quote below (after the jump if you're on the home page) are quotes from Weisberg; anything in brackets has been added by me for the sake of clarity.
To err is human. Mistakes will be made. Nobody's perfect.
But when a district judge errs, it's a costly mistake. The wronged party, who has already paid for attorneys in a case, must pay even more for the cost of an appeal. There are additional court costs. If the case goes to the State Supreme Court, Tulsa County residents bear the additional burden and cost of travel to Oklahoma City. Then there's the stress of waiting months or years for the final resolution of the case. If the district judge is reversed, the case will likely be remanded -- sent back to the original judge to fix the mistake and reconsider the decision. More delays, more lawyers' fees, more anxiety.
A search through the Oklahoma Bar Journal reveals District Judge Linda Morrissey, running for re-election, has committed a long list of errors that have been reversed by Oklahoma's higher courts. In at least one case, the appeals court goes so far as to say that Linda Morrissey abused her discretion.
Here are just a few of Linda Morrissey's reversals (all emphasis mine). The summaries and paraphrasing are my own; please click the links to review the original information on which my summaries are based.
Court of Civil Appeals DF - 106739: In a foreclosure case, the defendant's attorney pulls a surprise during preliminary proceedings in Linda Morrissey's chambers: He contested, for the first time, the authenticity of the note and mortgage. The bank requested a continuance, because it wasn't prepared to respond to this previously undisclosed accusation. Linda Morrissey said no. The bank offered to present a copy. Judge Morrissey said no; the bank had to have the original note. The bank said it had the original note, where it normally keeps such documents, just not in the courtroom. Morrissey awarded the defendants -- the people who didn't pay their mortgage -- $55,172.51 in court costs and attorney's fees.
The Court of Civil Appeals unanimously ruled that Linda Morrissey "abused [her] discretion" in the case. Linda Morrissey's abuse of discretion took 17 months to correct.
(Details on the case from the April 24, 2010, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 81, No. 12, p. 1106.)
In two criminal cases, State of Oklahoma vs. James Ricky Ezell III and State of Oklahoma vs. Robert Mark Stephens, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey's "'policy' of running sentences consecutively" constituted "an abuse of discretion as it incumbent upon a trial court to consider all sentencing options available."
2007 OK CIV APP 120: This involved a couple who left a sum of money to their two children, a son and a daughter, in the form of a trust. The son, who was trustee, borrowed $200,000 from the trust for himself and a business partner, with no documentation of the loans, and he concealed his share of the debt.
The son sought to get himself named personal representative of his parents' estates; and his sister, a beneficiary of the trust, objected that he was unfit "due to serious and substantial conflicts of interest, breaches of trust and self-dealing involving the sole asset of the estates," namely the $200,000 loan. He had also delegated check-writing privileges to his wife, who paid "her sister-in-law a large sum of money...." All of this was in the district court record, according to the decision of the Court of Civil Appeals.
Morrissey even denied the daughter "the opportunity to present rebuttal evidence and closing arguments."
Linda Morrissey appointed the son as personal representative, over the daughter's objection, despite "express[ing]... concern about Appellee's obligation to the Trust and his delegation of trust administration duties to his wife." The appeals court ruled: "This was error" on Morrissey's part. The evidence "clearly demonstrated [the son's] lack of integrity as that term is defined" in 58 O.S. 102. The appeals court reversed Morrissey's decision.
In this case, it took nine months to fix Linda Morrissey's mistake, from the date of her erroneous decision to the appeals court's reversal.
2008 OK CIV APP 73: A mother put a child up for adoption and relinquished her parental rights in writing. The father objected to the termination of his parental rights and although his attorney had announced at a hearing that he would agree to give up his rights if he would be allowed visitation, the father withdrew his consent to such an arrangement and never signed a permanent relinquishment. Judge Linda Morrissey went ahead and issued an order terminating the father's parental rights despite the lack of a permanent relinquishment. The appeals court unanimously ruled that Morrissey "erred as a matter of law" in issuing a termination order without the father's signed permanent relinquishment. Morrissey's error took about a year to fix.
2006 OK CIV APP 90: A man designated the adult children from his first marriage as beneficiaries of his IRA. Upon his death, his surviving spouse from a later marriage sought an injunction to keep the money from going to the children, and Linda Morrissey granted the injunction, basing her decision on Michigan law. The Court of Civil Appeals concluded that Morrissey's "grant of the preliminary injunction was erroneous as a matter of law and is VACATED." Fixing Linda Morrissey's mistake took 17 months, from the date of the erroneous injunction to the appeals court's decision.
Court of Civil Appeals DF - 106937: The Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey "erred when [she] entered judgment in favor of Plaintiff after finding that Defendants' defense of lack of contract was not encompassed within the court's pre-trial conference order listing claims and defenses of the parties."
It took 17 months to correct Linda Morrissey's error.
(Details on the case from the August 21, 2010, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 81, No. 22, p. 1832.)
Court of Civil Appeals IN - 100409: The Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Linda Morrissey erroneously granted summary judgment when there were contested issues of material fact to be resolved regarding a revocable trust and will. This Morrissey mistake took 13 months to fix.
(Details on the case from the February 19, 2005, issue of the Oklahoma Bar Journal, Vol. 76, No. 7, p. 567.)
While I'm supporting Republicans across the board, there are a few cases where the GOP candidate has done such a faithful job in serving the taxpayers and/or represents a significant improvement over his Democratic opponent, that I want to underline and emphasize my endorsement a hundred times over. One such public servant is Ken Yazel. I am proud to endorse Ken Yazel, a true friend to the taxpayer, for re-election as County Assessor.
Yazel has at times been the lone voice at the County Courthouse raising concern about wasteful spending and deceptive budget numbers. He has been one of the few elected officials to speak publicly against tax hike initiatives like the River Tax.
Yazel has also defended taxpayer interests by insisting on fair property assessments for everyone, even the very wealthy. If someone builds a $25 million house, they ought to pay property taxes on the full amount; otherwise, property taxes go up for the rest of us to make up the difference. Because Ken Yazel stands up for all taxpayers, the very wealthy have made him a target. We need to stand up for him.
Ken Yazel has also been a great friend to public access to public records. Public means online, and Ken Yazel added to the county assessor website the ability to search the Tulsa County assessor property database online. You no longer have to go to the library to find out who owns a piece of property or how much it's worth. You no longer have to ask the County Commissioners permission and pay a monthly fee to access this public information. My story on where the named members of Save Our Tulsa live and the median value of their homes would not have been possible without this valuable research tool. Oklahoma County has had this sort of tool for many years, while most Tulsa County officials resisted. Yazel's leadership on this issue alone is enough to earn my heartiest endorsement.
Yazel's opponent, Nancy Bolzle, would be dismissed as a perennial, unsuccessful candidate if it weren't for her connection to the Money Belt social network. She's a lobbyist, and the "endorsements" page on her website consists of six lobbying clients -- four of them from other parts of the state -- commending her lobbying skills. She couldn't find anyone to say she'd be a good county assessor. She has no management experience to bring to a job that requires oversight of 90 employees. She has no background in property valuation. It appears that she is running strictly for the purpose of ending Ken Yazel's courageous, faithful service on behalf of the taxpayer.
Her "news" page has two columns, one column devoted to articles about herself, one column for Ken Yazel. Nancy Bolzle's list consists mainly of stories from Danna Sue Walker's society column in the daily paper that tells of parties she's attended. The Ken Yazel list shows him tackling substantial issues, defending the taxpayer's interest.
Bolzle's husband is a developer; it would seem to be a built-in conflict of interest for her to be in a position to set property values for ad valorem tax purposes. Her husband is defendant in a $7.2 million foreclosure action filed by Arvest Bank regarding a development in Glenpool.
This is an easy choice: We need Ken Yazel's experience, his fairness, and his commitment to the best interest of the taxpayer working for us at the County Assessor's office.
The Yazel campaign could use your help in the final 10 days of the election. Contact Ken Yazel through his website to volunteer.
MORE: Back during the primary, Ken Yazel provided a fact-filled response to mudslinging from his primary challenger.
There's an impressive crop of Republican candidates running as challengers or for open State House and State Senate seats in the Tulsa area. Each one is an accomplished individual with a great deal of life experience to bring to the Legislature. They'd also represent Oklahoma's conservative social and fiscal values at the State Capitol. Kim David (SD 18), Jadine Nollan (HD 66), and Glen Mulready (HD 68) are all running in open seats. Randall Reese (HD 72) is challenging incumbent Seneca Scott; Molly McKay (HD 78) is challenging one of the legislature's most liberal members, Jeannie McDaniel. McDaniel. McDaniel is also notable for her work at City Hall and at the State Capitol to undermine local historic preservation protections and local control of zoning.
Senate District 18: Kim David owns and operates a property management company in Wagoner. (Her opponent also lives in Wagoner.) David is married with two kids serving in the military -- a son in the Marines and a daughter in the Air Force. Here's the Tulsa Beacon profile of Kim David. SD 18 is a "Mary-mander" -- stretching from 11th and Memorial to Grand Lake, shaped to allow Mary Easley to move up from her old State House district to the Senate district once held by her son Kevin Easley. Mary Easley is at last term-limited.
House District 66: Jadine Nollan, the Republican nominee, is already an established leader in the community: president of the Sand Springs school board, executive director of the Sand Springs Community Services Council, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce. She's a graduate of Charles Page (Sand Springs) High School and OSU. Her Democrat opponent, Eli Potts, seems like an eager young man, but with little life experience (he's 21) and as a member of the minority party, he's not likely to make much of an impact for the district.
House District 68: Glen Mulready has been in the insurance business for 26 years, three years with his own business. He has served as legislative chairman (a volunteer post) for the Oklahoma State Association of Health Underwriters, so he's already had some first-hand experience dealing with the legislative process. The Tulsa Beacon profiled Glen Mulready back in May. His wife's family owns and operates Shepherd's Fold Ranch, a Christian summer camp and retreat center north of Skiatook.
House District 72: Randall Reese is the first Republican to challenge for this seat since 1996 if not earlier. He was the Republican nominee for City Council District 3 in 1996 and 1998, and ran in the free-for-all special election for that post in November 1998. An August 25, 2010, feature story in Urban Tulsa Weekly on the HD 72 race mentions that Reese, 53, is retiring after nearly three decades as active duty and reserve military. He's got an impressive background and comes across well in reporter Mike Easterling's story.
Reese said he's lived in the district most of his life and has seen it decline from a middle-class area that once was home to a number of companies offering good blue-collar jobs to a place where many residents now struggle to make ends meet.
"I'd like to see it come back," he said. "One day, it will."
Reese served as a linguist in the military, speaking German and Russian, and said he's been comfortable living in a diverse community since he spent three years residing in a Hispanic enclave in East Los Angeles after high school. He said he understands the road to progress is paved with cooperation.
"I don't fight with anybody," he said.
"But I would like to work with people. I believe in working together. I don't believe in fighting with anybody. Politicians always say they'll fight for this or they'll fight for that. Well, I've been in the military, and I know what fighting is. With all this fighting, it's no wonder we're so polarized between Democrats and Republicans."
Reese, who is pursuing his degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix, said he learned from almost three decades in the military that the only way to get most things done is through the team approach.
House District 78: Molly McKay is a patent attorney; her everyday work is with creative and innovative entrepreneurs. McKay has had her own practice since 1994. She earned her law degree in a night program. Before going into law, McKay worked in industry as an analytical chemist. She has served as president of the University of Tulsa Alumni Association and the Florence Park South Neighborhood Association. Here's the Tulsa Beacon's profile of Molly McKay.
I always have grand plans for election years: An entry on each race, setting out at length my reasons for one candidate over another, for voting for or against a ballot proposition. In years past, I've had much more time than I have this year for writing. So here we are two weeks from the election, and I've received a few polite inquiries from readers who have absentee ballots in hand and are unsure about a few of the dozens of votes they have to cast.
While I still hope to crank out some specific stories on specific races, here's the short version, the who and what, not the why.
Federal, state, and county races: Vote for the Republican. I don't always endorse the Republican nominee, but for all the races I've looked at this year, the Republican is by far the better candidate.
Judicial races (Tulsa/Pawnee Counties): Vote for the Republican challenger -- John Eagleton, Bill Musseman, Jon Patton. All three are listed first on the ballot. (If you live in a different judicial district and would like me to look up the candidates' voter registration, post a comment or shoot me an email.)
Judicial retention (Appeals Courts, Supreme Court): Vote no, and let our new conservative Republican governor fill the vacancies. (I always vote no without a compelling reason to vote yes.)
State questions: No on the fours -- 744, 754. Yes on everything else. (By the way, I think the author of the ballot language indulged in a bit of editorializing on some of the questions.)
744 (school funding tied to other states): No.
746 (voter ID): Yes.
747 (term limits for all statewide officials): Yes.
748 (composition of apportionment commission): Yes.
750 (consistent signature requirements for initiative petitions): Yes.
751 (official state actions in English): Yes.
752 (composition of judicial nominating commission): Yes.
unamendable amendment on appropriation formulas ban on predetermined formulas for spending): No.
755 (courts can't consider sharia, international law in decisions): Yes.
756 (ban on Obamacare coercion): Yes.
757 (rainy day fund increase): Yes.
City of Tulsa propositions: Yes on both.
1 (city rainy day fund): Yes.
2 (fix schedule problem created by 3-year staggered council terms): Repeal would be better -- back to 2 year terms and fall, odd-year elections -- but this fix is better than the expense of funding a separate city election infrastructure.
It's highly entertaining to watch the approach of what appears to be the biggest political wave in a generation. It's fun to watch once-safe incumbents blow a gasket, demonstrate general cluelessness, or show their complete insensitivity to the problems and concerns that face their constituents. A political junkie could easily while away the day scouring the blogs for the latest news from more than 100 competitive House and Senate races.
But a political wave isn't a force of nature like a hurricane or a tsunami, a power too great to be affected by human actions. In fact, a political wave is just an aggregate of individual voter responses to the actions of candidates, parties, media, volunteers, and other voters. To push the meteorological analogies a little further: Not every tornado watch turns into a tornado warning. Conditions may be favorable for tornadoes to form, but other factors have to be at work to cause a tornado to appear. In the case of a political wave, the factors that will make the difference between a fizzle and a flood are in our hands.
There are many congressional districts this year where a smart, accomplished Republican is challenging an arrogant incumbent Democrat who is out of sync with his district. Despite a massive generic ballot advantage, Republicans will not win each of those seats. A challenger needs funds and manpower in order to introduce himself to the voters, to establish himself as a credible candidate, and to connect his opponent to the mess in Washington. That means that you and I need to get involved. We need to invest our time and treasure in making the wave happen.
Ace, head ewok at Ace of Spades HQ, wasn't content with merely chronicling the 2010 Demplosion, so he has challenged his fellow bloggers to get out from behind the keyboard and to organize and lead get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts across the country. He understands that it's the ground game that makes it possible for an insurgent challenger to beat an incumbent. He's hoping that the social aspect.
To help organize the effort, FreedomWorks has created BeTheWave2010.com. Register (it's free) and you can look over the map for Be the Wave events across the country. Find one close to you, sign up, help a great candidate, and have fun getting to know your fellow activists.
As busy as I am with family, work, and blogging, it would be easy to justify staying behind the keyboard, but from years of volunteering, I know how much person-to-person contact matters. So I've set a date and a time -- Saturday, October 30, 12 noon to 6 pm -- for a BatesLine Be the Wave event. The place is still TBD, but it will be somewhere within a short drive of Tulsa. We'll gather at noon for a bite to eat, we'll get our marching orders and materials and hit the streets. At the end of the day, we'll report back in, then find someplace nearby to swap stories over a dutch-treat dinner.
I've set up an event on Eventbrite. If you're interested and available on October 30, please sign up, so I can get a sense of the level of interest. You'll get updates as details are firmed up.
(Are you already volunteering for a candidate? Tell us all about it in the comments below.)
(Photoshop kindly provided by ExurbanJon of Exurban League, who had created similar images for Arizona's so-called Blue Dog Democrats, who are, in reality, "Pelosi's Poodles.")
The most important vote a congressman casts is the vote for Speaker. That vote determines who will control committee chairmanships, who will control the staff who write legislation, who will control the legislation that reaches the floor. Whatever marginal good Dan Boren has done with votes on individual bills, he has undone a hundred times over by his votes in 2007 and 2009 to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the House and to keep her roster of radical leftists in charge of congressional committees. (UPDATE: Boren also voted for Pelosi in 2005.)
Boren says he's for gun rights and claims to be pro-life, but his vote for speaker keeps gun-grabber, radical pro-abortion John Conyers in control of the Judiciary Committee. Dan Boren has voted to keep Barney Frank, who deserves a great share of the blame in the housing bubble and collapse, in charge of the Financial Services committee. Dan Boren says he's for energy independence and against cap and trade, but he votes to keep radical Henry Waxman, who supports cap-and-tax and opposes expanding energy exploration in the US, in control of energy and climate legislation.
Although Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional District has a long history as a Democrat Party stronghold, the overwhelming majority of its residents are conservative. Every county in the district voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004 and for John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008.
2nd District voters need to understand that Dan Boren is betraying their values by caucusing with the Democrats in Washington and voting to give left-wing leadership control of the House of Representatives.
There's a great alternative on the 2nd District ballot this year: Republican nominee Charles Thompson, a veterinarian and Army veteran from Hulbert. Not only does Thompson support 2nd Amendment rights, domestic energy exploration, and fiscal sanity, if elected he'll vote for congressional leadership that shares those views.
Thompson is not well-funded, and the pundits don't give him much of a chance to win. But if there was ever an election year when a grassroots candidate in tune with a district's values can beat the money and famous name of an out-of-step incumbent, it's this year. To make it happen, Charles Thompson needs your volunteer time and campaign contributions, so that District 2 voters will get the message that a vote for Dan Boren is a vote for San Fran Nan and her leftist pals to continue to control Congress.
This will come as no surprise to anyone: I endorse John M. Eagleton for District Judge, in the election for Judicial District 14, Office No. 9. John Eagleton has the character, temperament, experience, and commitment to the law to serve us well as a District Judge.
Am I biased? John is a good friend of mine, but if he's elected I gain nothing personally, and I would lose the services of my attorney and an ally on the City Council. But I would benefit along with all the citizens of Pawnee and Tulsa Counties (Judicial District 14) to have John Eagleton on the bench.
John and I have known each other since the 2002 city elections, his first run for City Council and my second. He's done legal work for me, and I've done computer work for him. I've helped out with several of his legendary barbecues. I've had the opportunity to see his response to both happy and trying circumstances. John Eagleton is loyal, generous, principled, good-humored, insightful, and hard-working: Those are the character qualities that stand out in my mind.
Eagleton's extensive courtroom experience sets him apart from many attorneys who have sought a judgeship. For the last twenty years, he has handled hundreds of cases, specializing in criminal defense, family law, and general civil litigation, trying cases not only in the Tulsa County Courthouse, but across northeastern Oklahoma. Before hanging out his own shingle, Eagleton served three years as an Assistant District Attorney, giving him experience as a prosecutor to add to his many years as a defense attorney.
Eagleton's work as a City Councilor is well-known. He has served as City Council chairman, vice chairman, and over numerous council committee meetings, maintaining order in often contentious and emotionally charged circumstances.
Eagleton is arguably the most fiscally conservative member of the council, often standing alone for fiscal restraint. Back in 2006 when the city coffers were flush and no one gave a thought to the financial difficulties that were just around a corner, Eagleton proposed limiting spending growth to the growth in population and inflation.
Eagleton opposed plans like the City Hall move, which has proven to be more expensive and financially risky than its supporters promised, and the stadium assessment, a tax on downtown property owners that may yet be overturned by the courts. He was one of only three Tulsa city councilors to oppose the Tulsa County river sales tax, a stand that took courage given the tax's influential supporters and the massive amount of campaign money backing the proposal.
After years of persistent advocacy, Eagleton succeeded in bringing about the implementation of an electronic ticketing system, designed to help our police officers make better use of their time when issuing a citation. The system reduces errors in the traffic citation process, and it gets officers back on the street patrolling as quickly as possible, helping to prevent the property damage and injuries caused by reckless and unlawful driving.
In 2007, Stephen Williamson, CEO of EMSA, Tulsa's ambulance service commended Eagleton: "EMSA's statistics suggest that your work [Eagleton's 2006 proposal to boost traffic enforcement] has led to a significant reduction in the number of crash-related injuries suffered by Tulsans. Quite possibly, your efforts have saved lives."
In the interest of fair treatment for all business owners who seek city contracts and better value for Tulsa taxpayers, Eagleton pushed for funding for the City of Tulsa Disparity Study. No one is well-served if a qualified contractor is barred in some way from competing to do work for the city.
I have not always agreed with John's actions as a councilor, but when we have disagreed, I have always felt sure that his decisions were grounded in principle, not political expediency or personal advantage.
John Eagleton is also a social conservative, solidly pro-life. A committed Christian, Eagleton and his family attend First Presbyterian Church. He is a graduate of the O. W. Coburn School of Law at Oral Roberts University. He became an Eagle Scout in 1972, and he continues to be active in Boy Scouts of America Troop One. He is also an active member of the Tulsa Downtown Kiwanis Club.
Eagleton has been married for nearly 18 years to Alison Eagleton, a captain in the U. S. Navy Reserve and a Nurse Corps officer. Capt. Eagleton was mobilized for participation in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom in response to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In 2009, she was appointed by the Navy Surgeon General to be the reserve perioperative nursing speciality leader. The Councilor and the Captain have two sons, Alex and Mark, who attend Tulsa Public Schools.
In addition to Alison's service in the Navy Reserve, the family supports the military through John Eagleton donation of his time -- more than $20,000 worth of free legal services -- to American sailors and marines being deployed in the Global War on Terror.
Prior to beginning his race for judge, Eagleton was active in local Republican politics, attending county, state, and district conventions, donating his time and money to smoke barbecue for Republican fundraisers, and filing five times as a Republican for City Council. His opponent, a registered independent, is married to a former Democratic county party chairman and two-time Democratic candidate for public office.
Some readers have objected to my mention of the political affiliation of judicial candidates, protesting that the office is non-partisan. Certainly the administration of justice should not be distorted by associational loyalties, whether political, familial, civic, religious, or social.
But there is an ideological battle in this country over the interpretation and application of the law. The conservative approach takes the law at face value, takes the language of constitution and statute as it would have been understood by those who approved it. A conservative judge respects the acts of the legislature -- even when he disagrees with them -- and does not exceed his bounds by legislating from the bench. The only reason to overturn a legislative act is when it contradicts the higher law of our Federal and state constitutions.
There is also a radical approach to law, judicial activism, in which a judge may take it upon herself to set aside the clear meaning of the law and constitution and the intent of those who ratified it if the judge believes the law fails to serve the cause of social progress (as understood by the judge).
Over the last three decades or so, supporters of the radical approach have tended to sort themselves into the Democratic Party, while supporters of the conservative approach have tended to sort themselves into the Republican Party. So it's reasonable to treat party affiliation as a strong indicator of someone's judicial philosophy, in the absence of evidence to the contrary. (Call it a rebuttable presumption.)
Do you want more strict constructionists like Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Antonin Scalia on the U. S. Supreme Court? Do you want Federal and state appellate judges who believe in judicial restraint? Are you sick of high court judges who think of themselves as philosopher-kings anointed to propel society in a "progressive" direction over the noisy objections of the majority conservative rabble?
De-radicalizing the judiciary begins at the district court level, even though district judges rarely deal directly with the constitutionality of legislation. District judges are the pool from which state appellate judges and Supreme Court justices are chosen, the pool from which Federal judges are appointed. Deprive a radical of a seat at the county courthouse, and you've cut off her ability to advance to higher courts where there is greater scope for judicial activism. Elect a strict constructionist as district judge, and you've increased the "bench strength" of conservative jurisprudence in America.
John Eagleton's conservative, strict constructionist inclinations are clear. On his website, there is a quote from The Law by Frederic Bastiat: "It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of law into an instrument of plunder." His belief in individual liberty and limited government has been evident throughout his years of service as a Republican elected official and his advocacy of fiscal restraint at City Hall.
Eagleton's opponent, Linda Morrissey, is the incumbent in this election. Although Morrissey herself is registered to vote as an independent, her husband, John Nicks, is a former Tulsa County Democratic Party chairman and was a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma Attorney General in 1994 and Tulsa County Commission in 2002. The two younger voters listed at that address, her sons, are also registered Democrats.
In 1992, Morrissey and her husband were listed, along with another judge on this year's ballot, Kurt Glassco, by the political director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, as expected guests at Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural gala, an honor typically given to the most fervent supporters of the man who would later become famous for "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Her choice not to share the surname of her husband and children may also be regarded as an ideological marker that sets her apart from the traditional views of most of her constituents.
But beyond Morrissey's political and philosophical outlook, a number of Tulsa County residents simply don't consider her a fair or competent judge. Members of courthouseforum.com gave Morrissey an aggregate grade of C, and she has received more votes than
any all but one other Tulsa County judge for "Worst Judge of 2010." (CORRECTION: Morrissey is actually in second place in the race for worst.)
Morrissey's rulings have been the subject of a number of significant reversals on appeal, most recently in June 2010; the Court of Civil Appeals ruled that Morrissey's award of $10,000 in attorney fees was not authorized by state law.
At a time when Americans are expecting greater government transparency, Morrissey seems to be moving in the other direction. Earlier this year, Morrissey ordered docket information on two cases -- one involving medical negligence, one involving condemnation -- removed from the Oklahoma State Courts Network website, a move that may well serve as precedent for other judges to block the basic details of cases from public view.
There are more stories to be told, more reversed cases to be reviewed over the next four weeks.
I believe that Linda Morrissey should be turned out of office by Tulsa and Pawnee County voters. I believe that John Eagleton would make an excellent district judge, and I urge you to give him your support and your vote on November 2.
MORE: I've just created a Facebook page for John Eagleton for District Judge -- show your support by clicking that Like button (see above). If you want to show your support in a more traditional way, John Eagleton yard signs are now available.
Tulsa County is printing up 23 different ballots for the November 2, 2010, general election -- each of them 10" x 19" -- and you can see samples of each on the Tulsa County Election Board website, arranged by precinct. Use the Tulsa County Precinct Locator if you need help finding your precinct number.
Each ballot will be two-sided -- candidates for federal, statewide, legislative, county, and judicial offices on one side, and the 11 Oklahoma state questions on the back side.
I'm happy to see that in all the races on the ballot -- including the district judge elections -- the Republican candidate is listed first.
In addition to the state bedsheet ballot, Tulsa voters will have a separate ballot with two charter amendments: Prop. 1 establishes a "rainy day" fund that will be filled when revenues are pouring in, so that we'll be able to manage city expenses when revenues dry up. Prop. 2 fixes (sort of) a problem created with last year's charter amendment that created three-year staggered council terms with a September primary that conflicted with the even-year state election calendar. The amendment moves the primary in even-numbered years back to August. The better solution would have been to repeal the ill-considered amendment and go back to a two-year schedule, but short of doing that, we need at least to get Tulsa back in sync with the state election calendar to avoid having to develop a separate city election infrastructure. I plan to vote for both.
Attention fellow political geeks and number-crunchers: The Oklahoma State Election Board has posted the complete results of the July 27, 2010 Oklahoma primary election, including results broken out by county (PDF) and by precinct (zipped PDF). The precinct results are available in a human-readable report and in a text file that can be imported to a database. (There's a description of the text file record layout, too.) Thanks to the great staff at the Oklahoma State Election Board for making this data readily available to the public.
The results cover all Federal (U. S. Senate and House), statewide, legislative, and judicial races (district judge, associate district judge, district attorney). (Results for county, municipal, and school elections are handled by the appropriate county election board. Tulsa County has posted summary results for 2010 and 2009 elections. (Here's a direct link to the Tulsa County July 27, 2010, primary results (PDF).)
If you prefer your data in visual form, Jamison Faught, the Muskogee Politico, has been posting a series of maps of the Oklahoma 2010 primary results by county.
A couple of interesting items on our recently concluded Oklahoma governor's primary and the upcoming general election battle -- Dem. Lt. Governor Jari Askins vs. Congresswoman and former Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin.
Political opinion researcher Chris Wilson has some thoughts on why the polls were so far off, predicting a comfortable win for Attorney General Drew Edmondson over Askins and a solid first place finish for Kevin Calvey over James Lankford in the 5th Congressional District Republican primary to replace Fallin.
We are reminded, more than a little, of the discussion in the wake of another major polling failure--the failure of many outlets to correctly model the New Hampshire Democratic primary of 2008.
AAPOR, the professional organization of the polling community, conducted a major investigation of the New Hampshire polling and released a multi-hundred page report of findings.
We think that many of those findings apply in a substantial way to the failure of the public polling in Oklahoma to correctly analyze the outcome of this week's primaries. But the biggest one is this, primary elections require very well-crafted likely voter models to find the population of actual primary voters and sample from them.
Although the polls' predicted outcome in the Republican governor's race was correct, they were way off on the margin. Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates's Sooner Survey, taken July 18-20, said that Fallin had a 50-22 lead over Brogdon, beating Brogdon 40-25 even in the Tulsa area. (Brogdon won every county in the Tulsa metro area.) The Tulsa World - SoonerPoll.com poll, taken July 16-21, had Fallin over Brogdon 56-18. The actual result was 55-39.
It's worth noting that at least some of the data in each poll was over a week old by the time election day rolled around. That's bound to make the results look worse than they are, especially for SoonerPoll.com -- the Tulsa World waited until July 25 to publish the results, four days after the poll was concluded. The information about the polling date was there in the story, of course, but readers are apt to assume that a poll released two days before the primary should match the result pretty closely.
It would have been nice to have more polls for comparison. For some odd reason, Rasmussen Reports did two polls comparing each Republican contender with each Democrat in a general election matchup, but never bothered to poll the primaries. I wish Survey USA or WRS had run a poll -- both outfits are good about releasing crosstabs, something that neither SoonerPoll.com or Sooner Survey made available. Given that Oklahoma is an early presidential primary state in 2012, I'd have thought national polling outfits would have wanted to show off their skills at reading Oklahoma Republican voters for prospective clients.
Looking ahead to November, Steve Fair, the 4th Congressional District Republican Party Chairman, saw Mary Fallin and Jari Askins at their first post-primary joint appearance, the Oklahoma Grocers, Wholesale Marketers and Petroleum Marketers convention. He warns, "Askins will not be a pushover!" and draws some comparisons to 2002.
As I entered the hall, I saw Lt. Governor Jari Askins, (D-Duncan). She hugged me and I congratulated her on her upset victory last night. Jari Askins is one of the most gracious people in politics- no matter what your party affiliation is. That demeanor has served her well in Stephens County and across the state. It will get her some 'swing' votes in the upcoming general election. She softens her liberal views with a sweet dispensation. She ain't Nancy Pelosi!...
After the press conference, Fallin shook hands with a half dozen people and left. Askins hung around for three hours, getting pictures made with exhibitors in the MIO [Made In Oklahoma] booth and other booths and several retailers....
Fallin should have stayed at the show and met the 'regular folks.' That gets votes, it's fundamental and it's also the right thing to do. Askins interacts with people well! Several "R"s in the MIO booth remarked how much they liked Askins. VIRTUALLY EVERY PERSON IN THE MIO BOOTH HAD THEIR PICTURE MADE WITH HER! She will get consideration from people that Fallin should have locked up. Many Stephens County Republicans will vote for Askins in November, not because of her politics, but because of her gracious nature. Fallin should soften her image, not hurry through campaign stops and discuss more than issues with those she meets on the campaign trail....
[In 2002, I invited [Republican gubernatorial nominee Steve] Largent to come to the show and meet the grocers, exhibitors and manufacturers at the show. Largent came, addressed the crowd and left just like Fallin. He didn't engage anyone and unless I took him around to each booth and introduced him, he just stood around. I remarked to a friend that had Frank Keating been in that room, EVERYONE WOULD HAVE KNOWN HIM. Keating is engaging- he has great interpersonal skills. Fallin is not Largent, but on the first day after her nomination, she made a strategic error reminiscent of Largent's gaffe.
Fair's blog entry is also worth reading for his perspective on the decline of independent grocers in Oklahoma and how government policies "unlevel" the playing field in favor of major chains and big box realtors.
MORE of interest from the same authors:
Chris Wilson: How to Kill Twitter: Charge for It. Wilson notes that the USC/Annenberg report from which this insight came is itself inaccessible unless you pay $500, which means the report is unlikely to have the circulation or influence it would have if available for free on an advertiser-supported website.
Steve Fair, who also serves as Stephens County Republican Party chairman, explains how the county party works, where it gets its funding, and why it needs your support.
Finally, the Oklahoma Republican Party is asking Republicans to donate $20.10 for 2010. Every dollar donated stays in Oklahoma to help Oklahoma candidates.
I'm asking; I don't have an answer, as I wasn't following the 5th Congressional District race. I invite my Oklahoma City readers to share their observations.
In James Lankford you have a political novice who puts together a conservative grassroots campaign to finish ahead of several more heavily financed candidates. Meanwhile, Randy Brogdon, an eight-year state senator and former city councilor, falls short in his quest for the GOP nomination for governor.
Undoubtedly it helped Lankford for two name candidates to be in the race, splitting the vote -- Brogdon had a higher percentage than Lankford -- but he still had to put together over a third of the primary vote, something insurgent congressional candidates in the 1st and 4th districts failed to do. Had a conservative Oklahoma City-area elected official (e.g. Leonard Sullivan, Mike Reynolds) also run for governor, enough votes might have been peeled away from Mary Fallin to force a runoff. As it was, a contentious congressional primary seems to have driven turnout in Fallin's district, entirely to her advantage.
More analysis as I have time, but three more thoughts for now:
* The folks who spent their time and treasure on also-ran congressional candidates in the 1st and 4th Districts would have been wiser to put that effort toward Brogdon's campaign.
* Oklahoma City Republicans don't seem to like voting for Tulsans. In 2006, two viable candidates for governor from Tulsa (Bob Sullivan, Jim Williamson) split a minority of the vote, while Ernest Istook sailed to victory without a runoff. During the late campaign, there was a proprietary vibe from many central Oklahoma conservative commentators: Fallin was their girl, and nothing was going to budge them from their support for her.
* The bloggers who are stomping and whining that Brogdon needs to get aboard the Fallin bandwagon RIGHT THIS MINUTE need to back off. Do you enjoy being pressured publicly? Does public pressure make you more likely to give in, or more likely to dig in your heels? And if he issues an endorsement now after getting peppered with demands from prominent conservative bloggers, are his supporters likely to view it as sincere or perfunctory?
I sense more triumphalism in those demands than genuine concern for party unity. Edmondson's early endorsement of Askins was necessary to rule out a recount or a challenge of the results. The Republican results were clear. These Fallin supporters seem to be paying more attention to Brogdon now than they did before the primary. If he wasn't important enough to be worthy of a debate before the primary, why is his endorsement so important now?
If Randy Brogdon is to provide a credible endorsement that energizes his supporters on Fallin's behalf, he will have to do it on his own terms and in his own time. Give the man some respect and some space.
I made it to three different watch parties last night, starting at Randy Brogdon's, then Judge James Caputo's, then finished the evening at Congressman John Sullivan's, watching the final numbers come in on the incredibly close Democratic nomination for Governor.
I got home late, had family business to attend to, and today there's a heavy load of work-related activity, so I won't have much analysis until later in the week, I suspect. Turnout looked to be quite low in my precinct when I voted at around 1 p.m., but evidently it picked up, as numbers in our part of the state were substantially heavier than four years ago.
While I'm disappointed in Randy Brogdon's defeat, it's important -- for the sake of next year's redistricting if nothing else -- for Republicans to unite behind Mary Fallin. It will be an interesting race; a battle between two former Lieutenant Governors. The Democrat nominee made government regulation of salaries the theme of one of her ads. I am told that Jari Askins is very personable and works very hard at campaigning. She may well be a tougher opponent for Fallin than Edmondson would have been.
I am very happy to see Ayatollah Drew Edmondson's political career come to a halt.
That's all for now. I'm working on a piece about how I'd run a statewide primary race, based on observations in this election. Meanwhile, feel free to chime in in the comments.
Happy Election Day! Polls open across Oklahoma at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Results should start rolling in soon after. The state election board website will update results as they are received from the county election boards. These will lag the results from media sources, as TV and radio stations send runners to precincts to read the results, which are posted on each precinct door shortly after the polls close. To be included in the state election board's numbers, a precinct's results have to be taken to the county election board to be read into the state election computer system.
The Tulsa County Election Board promises to have live Tulsa County election results on the web.
A few resources as you go to vote:
- Oklahoma State Election Board website
- Find your polling place: Looks up your voter registration info in the state election board database, tells you where to vote and which districts you're in.
- Tulsa County Election Board
- Tulsa County Precinct Locator
- County election board locations and phone numbers (PDF)
- My guide to statewide and Tulsa County races, with links to candidate websites and Twitter feeds.
- My choices for the Republican primary, with links to the endorsements of others.
- The BatesLine archive on Oklahoma Election 2010
If you run into any difficulty voting or spot any irregularity, contact the your county election board. The phone number for the Tulsa County Election Board is 918-596-5780.
Posted 1:00 a.m. Tuesday, July 27, 2010. Postdated to remain at the top of the blog through poll closing time.
A couple of longtime conservative activists in Tulsa have endorsed Randy Brogdon for Governor and John Wright for Lt. Governor. I received their endorsement via their email list; they gave me permission to reproduce it but not to use their names because it might create the impression of an endorsement by a non-profit with which they are associated. I thought the points they made were worth passing along, even without their names.
1. Randy Brogdon is a born-again Christian who readily shares his testimony. His testimony is a video on his website http://www.randybrogdon.com . He and his wife have worshipped at Woodlake Assembly of God Church for 40 years where he and his wife have taught Sunday School classes and Randy has served on the church board.
2. Brogdon has spent the last 30 years building and managing successful businesses.
3. Brogdon was elected Mayor of Owasso and was elected state Senator where he has served for 8 years. As a state Senator, he has supported limited government, lower taxes, free market solutions to economic problems, and the U.S. Constitution. His tax reform plan includes eliminating the income tax on individuals and businesses, adopting an end-user consumption tax on sales and services, and exempting groceries and prescription drugs from state tax.
4. He has a pro-life, pro-family voting record and supports the right to keep and bear arms. He is endorsed by Gun Owners of America for his leadership in protecting our Second Amendment rights. He is the first state Senator in 20 years to receive a 100% mark on the Oklahoma Conservative Vote Index.
5. He is opposed to ObamaCare and is the author of the state question on the November 2010 ballot allowing Oklahomans to opt out of the federal socialized health care plan.
6. He has been married to his high school sweetheart, Donna, for 37 years. They have 2 grown sons and a daughter-in-law. Donna openly shares her Christian testimony, as well as a story about Randy cutting his own salary several times so he would not have to lay off any of the employees of his business.
7. We personally know both of the major Republican candidates running for Governor. In our opinion, Randy Brogdon is one of the most qualified candidates to run for Governor in many years. He loves the Lord, his country, his family, and the people of Oklahoma. Unlike many in political office, he has a backbone of steel, and he expresses the courage of his convictions passionately and articulately. He does not bow to the will of special interest groups.
1. John Wright was elected in 1998 to the state House of Representatives. During his 12 years of service in the state House, he has been voted into leadership by his colleagues 4 times. His Cumulative Average is 91% on the Oklahoma Conservative Vote Index.
2. Before he was in the state legislature, he had a successful career in marketing and sales, where he won awards for his achievements.
3. He and his wife Debbie are long-time members of Victory Christian Center, where they have taught Sunday School and Victory Bible Institute classes. In 1991 John went to St. Petersburg, Russia, as a volunteer on a Victory short-term missions trip. He saw first-hand the devastation in Russia brought about by socialism and communism. He has stated many times that the Russia mission motivated him to run for office in order to preserve our liberties.
4. As Lieutenant Governor, John's goals are to develop state infrastructure, encourage tourism, encourage people to pursue higher education, and encourage the traditional, marriage-based family. His website is http://www.movingoklahomaforward.com.
Republican Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel has published on his website a detailed response to an attack mailer from his primary opponent, former County Assessor Cheryl Clay. Yazel says that Clay's statements are lies, and he rebuts each point at length.
Some of the points made by Yazel in his rebuttal:
- "There are 7 other county offices that have higher salaries [than the Assessor's Office], and that doesn't include the 'one-time longevity payments' (a.k.a. tax-funded Christmas Bonuses), which amounted to about $785,000 for 909 County employees. None of these were paid to employees within the Assessor's Office. "
- The number of Assessor's Office employees is 16% less than when he took office, but managing a workload that has grown by 12%. 83 of his 84 employees are Certified Appraisers.
- The Assessor's Office has an attorney on staff that specializes in Ad Valorem tax disputes, as allowed by law. Cheryl Clay also had an attorney on staff, as did Jack Gordon, her handpicked successor.
- An outside law firm was used seven years ago, before an attorney was added to the Assessor's Office staff, to defend and win a multi-million dollar valuation case, the "first time in almost a decade a case had been won for the taxpayers."
- The Assessor's Office software system is the same system in use in Oklahoma County [and the Oklahoma County Assessor, Leonard Sullivan, has an awesome website -- MDB], is fully backed up and compatible with county systems. "The only problem for county data was created by the County Clerk when her office ceased to place parcel numbers on recorded documents, contrary to state law. (This has been an ongoing issue in excess of 18 months now, and is finally being fixed at a heavy expense to the County Clerk's budget.)"
- "[Yazel] has persuaded the Budget Board, by vote of 8-0, to pass much needed budget reforms. Most recently, the Board passed an action to place Assessor data on the Internet for all to use without paying the previous required monthly fee to the county.
I'm very pleased to read that last point. Oklahoma County has been well ahead of Tulsa County in making public data truly accessible to the public. Ken Yazel understands that "public = online."
You can read the full rebuttal after the jump. I'm proud to endorse Ken Yazel for reelection as Tulsa County Assessor.
The News on 6 examined congressional candidate Nathan Dahm's rebuttal of Congressman John Sullivan's debunking of false claims about his voting record. The News on 6 story specifically labeled Dahm's claims "misleading" regarding Sullivan's 2008 stimulus vote and his immigration record:
Challenger Nathan Dahm responded with what he calls, "The Actual Truth," where he links to a 2008 Sullivan vote for a stimulus bill, sponsored by Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Speaker of the House.
A News On 6 investigation showed the Dahm claim is misleading.
Sullivan voted in 2008 for the George W. Bush Stimulus, which was really $600 income tax breaks for taxpayers....
Dahm's website says Sullivan talks about reform not enforcement. It links to an article that quotes Sullivan talking about the DREAM Act, which would allow young illegal immigrants to earn conditional citizenship by completing college or two years of military service.
Again, this is misleading.
The article Dahm's referring to was published in June on the Hispano de Tulsa website.
A translation of the article quotes Sullivan as saying he hasn't "forgotten" about the DREAM Act, not that he supports it.
And on Sullivan's website it plainly states that the Congressman opposes backdoor amnesty attempts like the DREAM Act.
Yes, it's a little more than 24 hours before the polls open, but there are still things you can do to help your favorite candidates in Tuesday's Oklahoma primary. For example, if you're a Tulsa area supporter of the Randy Brogdon, you can call Billie at 638-9977 to volunteer for such final-day tasks as taking information to voters, providing rides to the polls, and waving signs at intersections.
You can usually contact your favorite candidates through their websites; I've provided links to the Republican statewide and local candidates in my 2010 primary voters' guide.
Commissioner Fred Perry has made some good decisions in his first four years. He is moving toward more openness and he has helped make progress at Expo Square.
From Dan Hicks via email and in the Beacon's letters section, in support of challenger Drew Rees:
I always enjoy the election season, as we see those creative little yard signs pop up like mushrooms throughout the city. This year we have a new winner. The orange and yellow DREW REES sign is without question the best political yard sign I have ever seen. The sign is good, but the candidate is even better. I had the opportunity to sit down with Drew Rees, and found him to be extremely bright and knowledgeable about issues involving Tulsa County. He is honest and sincere, and he passed the conservative test. What's that? Well, that means he is pro-life, he voted against the River Tax, and he intends get the County out of the sales tax business. Drew also shared with me how he came to know the Lord as a student at OSU. I am enthusiastically supporting Drew Rees as the conservative choice for Tulsa County Commissioner.
The Tulsa Beacon published two letters each in support of Perry and Rees in last week's edition. I have yet to see any endorsement of Michael Masters, the third candidate in the race, which will either be decided on Tuesday, if a candidate gets more than 50% in the Republican primary, or else in the August 24 runoff.
STILL MORE: District 3 resident Steven Roemerman makes a tough call:
Wow, so Fred Perry DID NOT score points with me with his handling of a recent open records request by Ruth Hartje. (Google it)
Also I really, really do not like how Perry has attacked Tulsa Council's attorney Drew Rees (his opponent), for his counsel to the council regarding the recent open meeting act controversy. (again...Google it) I may not be voting for Drew Rees, but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I've always been extremely impressed with Drew's professionalism and dedication to the law. I've been watching him give good advice to the council for may years now; Rees would never give advice to the council that he thought was illegal. I believe that these attacks are unfair and unfounded. On this basis alone I just almost want to vote for Drew Rees.
However, Drew Rees is using Jim Burdge to run his campaign, and if that wasn't enough he is being endorsed by Randy "You're Toast" Sullivan.This is not good! And then if that weren't enough, I was not impressed with how he answered some of the questions from the OK Safe Voter's guide questions. I felt that he was parsing on some of his answers. And really, I like him where he is. He is doing great work for the City!
Click to read Steven's conclusion and the rest of his voting guide.
Congressman John Sullivan, facing his first significant primary challenge since his first election in 2001, sent out the following email Saturday rebutting false claims about his voting record:
Dear Friends and fellow Republicans:
I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to address a couple of issues that have come up in the last minutes of this campaign.
My opponents have sent mail to many of you, making false and baseless attacks on my record of consistent, conservative leadership in Congress.
I wanted to go through a few of the things they've said and tell you the truth.
They say that I "support Planned Parenthood."
Truth is: I have a 100% voting record with National Right to Life. No one is more pro-life and dedicated to the pro-life movement than I am. In fact, I support the Pence Amendment which strips all federal funding from Planned Parenthood.
They say I "voted for the stimulus."
Truth is: I never voted for the stimulus or any stimulus dollars for any federal project. In fact, I have a 91% voting record with the Club for Growth and received the Defender of Economic Freedom Award this year. NO REPUBLICAN IN CONGRESS VOTED FOR THE STIMULUS. PERIOD.
They say I "vote in lock-step with Nancy Pelosi."
Truth is: I have a 100% legislative score with the American Conservative Union. I was honored to earn the Defender of Liberty Award with the A.C.U. this year. That is the highest score in the Oklahoma delegation serving in Washington. I don't support Nancy Pelosi's agenda, I never have, I never will.
They criticize me for checking into the Betty Ford Center last year.
Truth is: I won't apologize for my treatment at Betty Ford. It was the best decision I could make. I appreciate the thousands of you who have reached out in support of me and my family.
They say I "support a national police force" and that I "authored a bill to create a health care bureaucracy."
Truth is: I support small government. I introduced a ground-breaking bill this year to limit the size of the federal government. I don't support nationalization of police forces and I will stand in the way of any efforts to create such systems.
I also voted against the sweeping health care legislation passed by the Democrat controlled House this year. That bill grows the federal government and I believe it goes against the Constitution in its scope and reach.
And lastly, and possibly most ridiculously, they say I "support amnesty for illegal immigrants."
Truth is: You will never find a candidate with a stronger anti-illegal immigration stance than me. I have an A+ rating with NumbersUSA, the foremost advocate on immigration reform in the US. I have worked tirelessly with Tulsa Sheriff Stanley Glanz to establish the 287(g) program which cross-deputizes deputies to rid our communities of the most dangerous criminals on the streets today. This is the most ridiculous and baseless of their lies.
I've never seen the kind of despicable lies told by my opponents as I have seen in this election cycle.
It's disappointing to see members of my own party resort to the politics of personal destruction.
In this campaign, I have never publicly stated a negative word about my opponents. I'm running on my record, they are running on their rhetoric.
The proof will be seen on Tuesday.
For more information on my consistent, conservative voting record please visit my website at www.johnsullivanforcongress.com/about/buzz/
Just yesterday I received an email with the subject "JOHN SULLIVAN WANTS TO GIVE OUR CHILDREN AND OUR PROPERTY TO THE GOV.", falsely claiming that he voted for two bills to expand the size and scope of federal government control and power -- the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146) and the G.I.V.E. Act (H. R. 1338). In fact, he and all the Republicans in the Oklahoma delegation voted AGAINST both bills, which nevertheless passed and were signed into law. (Dan Boren voted against H.R. 146 but for H. R. 1338.)
Here are links to the details:
Major Congressional Actions on Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146)
House roll call on Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146)
Senate roll call on Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146)
All Oklahoma congressmen and senators also voted against the Senate version of the bill, S. 22, which died in the House.
Major Congressional Actions on Serve America Act (aka the G.I.V.E. Act) (H.R. 1338)
House roll call on Serve America Act (aka the G.I.V.E. Act) (H.R. 1338)
Senate roll call on Serve America Act (aka the G.I.V.E. Act) (H.R. 1338)
As I told my correspondent, "Whoever is feeding you this information is either very sloppy with their research or very dishonest."
So now, Sullivan's accusers are saying that because he voted for an earlier version of H.R. 1388, he wants to turn our children into brownshirts. Here's the earlier version of the bill that Sullivan and other Oklahoma Republicans voted to approve. It was a lengthy amendment to existing legislation involving existing service programs like VISTA and Americorps. Here is the version that Sullivan and all other Oklahoma Republicans voted against. A quick comparison of the tables of contents of the two versions reveals sections added and deleted between the version that originally passed the House and the final version that went to the president.
Likewise, the original version of H.R. 146 that passed the House (with the support of the entire Oklahoma House delegation) was called the "Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Preservation Act," a six-page bill authorizing Dept. of Interior grants to protect battlefields. The version that came back from the Senate was the 446-page Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, and the entire Oklahoma delegation voted against it.
Sullivan did vote for the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, but this stimulus involved giving money back to the taxpayers, not spending on pork projects. While making the Bush tax cuts permanent would have been the better path, that wasn't going to happen with the Democrats in the majority. A tax rebate was better relief than nothing at all.
Sullivan voted for the October 2008 TARP bailout, along with 90 other House Republicans. Frank Lucas was the only Oklahoma congressman to vote no, and our two Senators split -- Coburn voted yes and Inhofe voted no. I was disappointed with that vote, it was the wrong decision, and Sullivan, Cole, Fallin, and Coburn should have known better than to be panicked into voting for it. In December 2009, Sullivan called for the Secretary of the Treasury to end TARP and return the funds (including those paid back) to the Treasury for debt reduction, rather than spend surplus funds on a jobs program as the Democrats wanted.
When TARP was enacted, the public debt limit was increased to $11.3 trillion. Since January, the national debt has increased more than $1.4 trillion, and Congress is now set to consider a debt limit increase of up to $13.2 trillion, the fourth debt limit increase since July 2008. Not spending the remaining TARP funds, $246 billion according to the last SIGTARP quarterly report, will reduce the already staggering amount our nation is borrowing.
SIGTARP also reported repayments of $72.9 billion, $9.5 billion from dividends and interest and $2.9 billion in proceeds from sale of warrants. All of these TARP receipts and future receipts must be devoted to debt reduction rather than spent on further government interventions or other programs. While estimates vary on the final cost to the taxpayers from TARP, all estimates are that the taxpayers will lose billions of dollars and that there will be no profit from TARP. Ensuring every dime of income goes to debt reduction reduces the taxpayers' ultimate loss.
The first TARP program, the Capital Purchase Program, offered taxpayers the greatest opportunity to recover their investment. Additional programs added to TARP, such as assistance to the automakers and AIG, carry much less assurance for the taxpayers, and the mortgage modification program will result in no recoupment for the taxpayers. The longer the remaining unspent TARP funds and revenue remain on the table, the more money that will be spent and not recovered. The emergency has ended, and TARP must end as well.
No time to write today, but here's a worthwhile piece of writing about GOP gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin by Richard Engle:
I commented to a candidate for State Senate [at a candidate forum] that his non-committal and non-specific answer to one of the questions on our survey was "Fallin-esque." The assembled roared in laughter as they all immediately recognized the resemblance to the Congresswoman's standard line when questioned on matters of public policy.
I didn't intend to coin a new term, it was just so typical of what we hear from her. My experiences with Mary Fallin go back to when she was new to the State House and speaking to the Central Oklahoma Young Republicans (moderated by its Chair of the time - Kevin Calvey) where she spoke in glowing terms of favoring "good things" and being opposed to "bad things." Even then we couldn't get a decisive answer from her. I specifically remember one Young Republican asking her about Senator Don Nickles plan to allow for Medical Savings Accounts. This was during the Clinton Health Care drive. Mary had no difficulty predicting that her audience expected her to oppose the plans of the President and she did so with no reservations. Her reply regarding Senator Nickles' idea was as lacking in resolve as just about everything I have heard from her in the years to come. She told us that she was "looking into it."...
She says what she can predict will please her audience even if it contradicts what is said to another audience. At one point she spoke to a group of how the Obama stimulus created no jobs, then days later spoke glowingly of how the Obama stimulus created jobs in Oklahoma....
U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin, who is seeking the Republican nomination for Oklahoma governor, said she would not support further cuts to the state's income tax rate until Oklahoma's economy has rebounded from dwindling revenue collections and a national recession."...
"At some point in time, hopefully when we grow our economy and we are back on track, then we can look at lowering our taxes so we can be more competitive with states like Texas and other states that have lower or no income taxes," Fallin said.
The response from GOP rival Randy Brogdon: "How does Rep. Fallin plan to improve the economy with tax cuts, if she won't cut taxes until the economy improves?"
The same press release from the Brogdon campaign notes the vagueness of the "plan" announced in Fallin's recent TV commercials:
While her goals are laudable, not enough specifics are offered to be taken seriously.
- Create More Jobs - We thought Rep. Fallin had learned that small businesses create jobs, not government. Perhaps that is her plan, create government jobs.
- Bring Business to Oklahoma - The plan here is for Rep. Fallin to draw business here with her strength of personality?
- Reduce taxes on families and small businesses - If this is the catalyst for creating jobs and attracting business, those goals will have to wait. Because Rep. Fallin has made it clear she wont cut taxes until the economy improves.
The Fallin plan seems to bear some resemblance to the underpants gnomes' plan for economic development:
- Collect underpants
By contrast, Randy Brogdon has a specific plan for reform on both the revenue and expense side:
Brogdon's Spending Reform:
- Limit annual spending increases to percent change in inflation and population, so government doesn't grow faster than the economy.
- Double reserve funds, and restrict access to these funds so they can only be used in times of budget shortfall.
- Revenue collected in excess of the limit can only be spent on one time capital improvements. This will help repair roads and bridges without bloating the budget baseline.
Brogdon's Tax Reform
- Phase out the Income Tax on businesses and individuals.
- Adopt an end-user Consumption Tax on sales and services.
- Exempt groceries and prescription drugs from any state tax.
- Eliminate Tax Credits, which favor some businesses at the expense of others.
Brogdon says he wants to address spending first, and proposes a stricter spending limit. Both candidates say they want to create a business friendly environment, Brogdon says he can accomplish that by switching from the income tax to an end user consumption tax (sales tax) and ending tax credits as a economic development crutch. Fallin is not so specific.
Early voting for the Oklahoma 2010 primary begins today, Friday, July 23, 2010, at your county election board headquarters. The Tulsa County Election Board is at 555 N. Denver Ave., just north of downtown Tulsa.
Here are the dates and times for early voting this year:
|Friday, July 23, 2010||8 am - 6 pm|
|Saturday, July 24, 2010||8 am - 1 pm|
|Monday, July 26, 2010||8 am - 6 pm|
On Election Day, Tuesday, July 27, 2010, polls will be open from 7 am to 7 pm.
Every registered voter in the state has a reason to go to the polls. Not only are there Republican and Democrat primaries for statewide offices, but all voters, including independents can vote for District Judge.
I had hoped to give you a detailed rundown of the pros and cons of the candidates in each race and the rationale behind my choice, but I have run out of time. (Spending most of Wednesday in the hospital and most of Thursday recovering from spending most of Wednesday in the hospital did not help.) But for those of you who have asked, here is how I plan to mark my ballot next Tuesday:
|Lt. Governor||John A. Wright|
|State Auditor and Inspector||Gary Jones|
|Attorney General||Scott Pruitt|
|State Treasurer||Owen Laughlin|
|Superintendent of Public Instruction||Janet Barresi|
|Commissioner of Labor||Mark Costello|
|Insurance Commissioner||John Doak|
|Corporation Commissioner||Dana Murphy|
|U. S. Senator||Tom Coburn|
|U. S. Representative, District No. 1||John Sullivan|
|County Assessor||Ken Yazel|
|County Treasurer||Dennis Semler|
|District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 3||James M. Caputo|
|District Judge, District No. 14 - Office No. 13||Bill Musseman|
Some of these were close calls, and my choice for one candidate doesn't necessarily mean that the opposing candidate is a bad choice.
Here's my 2010 primary voters' guide, with links to candidate websites and Twitter accounts.
Jamison Faught (aka the Muskogee Politico) has published a list of his endorsements, with some detail about his rationale in each case. I don't agree with all his choices, but it's worth reading.
The Tulsa Beacon endorsements are here. In the Beacon's editorial category, you'll find specifics on specific races.
The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) made their primary endorsements back in April. OCPAC's Charlie Meadows has just posted his personal picks, which includes most of the contested Republican legislative primaries.
Steven Roemerman has posted his choices in the Republican primary, including the hotly contested Tulsa County District 3 Commission race.
My wife just got polled by CHS, leading off with heard of/favorable/unfavorable questions for the two candidates for Attorney General, followed by preference questions on several of the statewide races (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, State Superintendent, and Corporation Commissioner), followed by heard of/favorable/unfavorable questions about Janet Barresi and Todd Lamb. Before I handed my wife the phone, I asked who had commissioned the poll and if the results would be published and the answers that came back were ambiguous, which leads me to believe that this is an internal campaign poll for several candidates who are clients of the same consulting firm.
District Attorney Tim Harris and former assistant DA Joy Pittman Mohorovicic have endorsed Special Judge Bill Musseman for District Judge, District 14, Office 13, the open seat being vacated by Judge Deborah Shallcross.
Here is the endorsement letter sent out by Harris:
I don't often make personal recommendations in political elections, but I feel compelled to tell you about a colleague and outstanding former assistant district attorney who is running for District Judge in the primary election on July 27.
For more than a decade, it has been my privilege to work with Bill Musseman as a prosecutor in the Tulsa County District Attorney's Office.
Beginning in 2005, Bill served as Chief of Homicide and Major Crimes Prosecution and has tried more than 80 felony jury trials, 30 murder trials and ten death penalty trials.
He had tremendous success as a prosecutor and served with integrity, professionalism and compassion for victims of crime. In December of 2009, he was selected to serve as a Special Judge. It was a loss for my office, but Bill Musseman will continue serve the public with honor and distinction as a Judge.
I know Bill's experience and legal knowledge will make him a fine District Judge who will serve our community well. Too often, voters are hard-pressed to find adequate information to make informed decisions in important judicial races.
We need men and women of integrity like Bill Musseman on the bench! Please join me in supporting Bill Musseman for District Judge.
Here is the endorsement letter sent out by Mohorovicic, who also served a term as chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party:
I wanted to send you an email to tell you about my friend, Judge William Musseman. I worked with Judge Musseman at the District Attorney's office for over two years. He was my direct supervisor for over one year. He was a great boss and a great mentor. He is an honorable man and an extremely good attorney. He was the hardest working assistant district attorney at that office. He was chief of major crimes and handled most of the difficult cases that came though the DA's office. The most important thing that I ever observed about him was his fairness. He has a lovely family and is a strong Christian.
Last year, Judge Musseman was appointed to a special judge position in Tulsa County and has quickly become admired for his ability to know, understand and rule correctly on Oklahoma Law.
I wanted to send this email mainly because I know that before I worked at the courthouse, I had no idea who to vote for in judicial races. I can honestly tell each of you that Judge Musseman is one of, if not the best, judge in Tulsa County and I am proud to vote for him.
Please feel free to visit his website at www.billmusseman.com for more information.
Thank you so much for your time.
Former Chairman of the Republican Party of Tulsa County
We don't get much information about judicial candidates, so personal endorsements from people I trust about a candidate's work ethic, integrity, and values are especially helpful.
One more piece of information: Musseman is registered to vote as a Republican.
The other day the following post by a Facebook friend who is a former Democrat legislator:
So, we have a repuke who opened 2 private schools running for superintendant of public education. Anyone see something odd about that?
Repuke? Oh, nice, as Onslow says.
The attempted slam (which failed for inaccuracy) was aimed at Janet Barresi, a Republican running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Barresi helped to open two charter schools, which are not private, but public, funded with public funds and under the sponsorship of a public agency, usually the local public school district.
When I pointed this out, the response was that charter schools "can be set up in such a way so that it denies equal opportunity."
How so? At Harding Charter Prep School (one of the schools that Janet Barresi helped to start) 77% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, and nearly half of the student body is African-American (24%), Hispanic (11%), or Native American (6%). The numbers are about the same at Independence Charter Middle School (the other school Barresi helped found, and the first charter school in Oklahoma). And over 90% of the graduating class is headed to college. It looks to me like Janet Barresi has been helping to create opportunity for Oklahoma City students. We should want more of that, shouldn't we?
According to Newsweek, which ranked Harding Charter Prep 69th among the top high schools for 2010: "There are no requirements as to which students can attend; it is a public school. There are no tuition fees. No entry test is required, nor interview or audition."
"When we founded Harding, the naysayers claimed low-income students could not handle the rigor of a college preparatory curriculum," said Barresi, a Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. "After seven years of operation, it's clear the critics were wrong and the Newsweek ranking is further proof of that fact. I believe we can now take the lessons learned at Harding and apply them to all Oklahoma schools to benefit every child in the state. My mission is to make every local public school so successful that it is parents' first and best choice for their children."...
"Harding's success is not based on cherry picking students, but is the result of successful teaching strategies that can be employed anywhere," Barresi said. "When you set high expectations, children will rise to the challenge - my experience with Harding proves it. I am very proud of Harding's students, but I believe all Oklahoma children are capable of similar achievement. My goal as state superintendent will be to raise the performance of all Oklahoma schools."
(I think it's wonderful that the charter school uses a historic school building and the school's historic name, connecting present-day students with a legacy that spans over 80 years.)
I'm excited about having Janet Barresi's vision, drive, and experience at work to improve education for all Oklahoma children. I hope you'll join me in voting for her for State Superintendent in Tuesday's Republican primary and again in the November general election.
The Tulsa Area Republican Assembly (TARA) is one of several local GOP clubs. They operate independently of the local party organization and hold monthly meetings that often feature elected officials or candidates as speakers. TARA is affiliated with the Oklahoma Republican Assembly (OKRA) and the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA), a group that calls itself the "GOP Wing of the Republican Party."
Tonight at their monthly meeting, TARA members voted to endorse Tulsa County Assessor Ken Yazel for reelection and David Brumbaugh, who is running for House District 76 in Broken Arrow, an open seat currently held by John Wright. No other endorsements were made, even though there are primaries in two county commission races, the county treasurer's race, State House Districts 66, 68, and 74 and State Senate District 34. Under NFRA rules, two-thirds of the members must vote in favor of an endorsement, and local chapters may only endorse in local races, deferring to the state organization in statewide races.
(I am told that OKRA is somewhat in disarray after the death of former State Rep. Tim Pope, who had been the group's president. In years past OKRA has held an endorsing convention prior to the primaries, but that won't happen this year.)
Following the meeting, I had a cordial chat with State Rep. Ken Miller, candidate for State Treasurer, about whom I wrote yesterday. More about that later.
Although Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin refuses to do a televised debate with her opponents, there are video and audio clips of joint appearances and candidate forums at which she, Randy Brogdon, and the other two GOP candidates discussed issues. Here's a clip from a Comanche County Republican meeting. The question from the audience was, "Will you be tough enough to deal with what we've got to deal with in Washington?"
In this context, Brogdon brought up Fallin's vote for the bailout (Troubled Assets Relief Program), and Fallin defended her vote in favor: "Until you've been there and you've been in the situation and you understand the details and the facts...." She went on to describe the dire warnings of financial system collapse from Fed chairman Ben Bernanke and Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulsen that persuaded her to vote for TARP. But then Fallin expressed shock and dismay at the outcome:
Now, did they do what they said they were going to do with the money that was used for TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Fund? No! And we were all disgusted about that.
But Fallin gave no indication in her response that in the future she'll be more skeptical when business leaders come to her, hat in hand, asking her to use our tax dollars to pay for their poor judgment.
We did the best we could with the information that we had at the time, but we can't help what they did and didn't keep their words after the face.
In his rebuttal, Brogdon brought the issue back to the original question: "Are you going to be tough?" He noted that spoke in opposition to the bailout vote at the time, and he would not have voted for it because it was unconstitutional. Fallin can be heard butting in to say, "That's the easy way out." The audience expressed its disapproval.
It takes toughness to stand firm on the principles of constitutionally limited government and free markets when lobbyists and campaign contributors are either telling you that the sky is falling and the only cure is to give them tax dollars. Fallin may be tough enough, as she claims to be, to resist left-wing lobbyists, but it appears she is not tough enough to resist self-serving panic-mongering from corporate interests who want welfare to cushion them from the consequences of their bad decisions.
I can forgive a vote for TARP, but it would be easier to forgive with an acknowledgment that it was a bad decision, with a promise to exercise greater skepticism, and with a renewed commitment to let the Constitution control her decisions.
MORE: In Part 1, Fallin gave a roundabout (and somewhat patronizing) answer to a question about potential conflicts of interest involving her lobbyist daughter. In response to a question about keeping jobs from leaving Oklahoma for Texas, Brogdon says, "It's time for politicians to stop faking you out that politicians can create jobs." Brogdon called for challenging the status quo and an end to the use of targeted tax credits to stimulate economic development, which he called "corporate welfare... legal plunder... immoral." Subsidies, he said, are bankrupting our nation and our state. Instead, reform should work generally to reduce the costs government imposes on job creation.
In two statewide primary races, the leading Republican contenders were both members of the Oklahoma Legislature in 2008. The top candidates for the GOP nominations for Lieutenant Governor and State Treasurer were on opposite sides of the 2008 expansion of the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Act to include professional sports franchises, part of the effort to "lure" the Oklahoma City residents who owned the Seattle SuperSonics to bring the team to Oklahoma City.
(In case you're wondering, State Sen. Randy Brogdon also voted against the NBA giveaway. Anyone remember whether Congresswoman Mary Fallin backed Maps for Millionaires or SB 1819?)
According to a February 2009 press release from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the Professional Basketball Club LLC, owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder, qualify for a maximum benefit of over $100 million dollars over 10 years. That's money that the Thunder owners would otherwise be paying into the state treasury.
The idea behind the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Act, passed in the 1990s, is to offset some of the costs that businesses face when adding new employees and to make Oklahoma more attractive for companies to relocate or expand. Certain types of jobs and businesses are targeted -- mainly jobs involving skilled labor or high technology and companies which bring new dollars into the state by selling their products and services out of state. (Here's the Oklahoma Department of Commerce guidebook on the program.)
Expanding this act to subsidize an NBA team completely subverts the original purpose of the act, and I was disgusted that so many Republicans -- particularly Tulsa Republicans -- voted in favor of the expansion (SB 1819, 2008 legislative session). I wrote at the time:
The idea [behind the Quality Jobs Act] is that these companies are bringing dollars and good jobs into the state, and the resulting increase in payroll and consumer spending will bring in more than enough new revenue to the state treasury to compensate for the payroll rebates.
An NBA team doesn't fit those criteria, no matter how much it may boost our state's self-esteem. Instead of bringing new revenue in from out of state, a pro basketball team will merely reapportion the way Oklahoma City residents spend their disposable income.
Study after study shows that a major league sports team doesn't grow the local economic pie; it simply competes with other entertainment and leisure businesses for a share of the same pie. The Sonics owners made that very case in a Seattle courtroom, as part of their effort to break the lease on Seattle's Key Arena, arguing that the team had a negligible impact on the local economy.
It gets worse:
A couple of special provisions were added to the Quality Jobs Act to make it an even sweeter deal for the Sonics and a much worse deal for taxpayers. While the tax rebate usually only applies to salaries that are taxable in Oklahoma, the Sonics will still get the rebate "regardless of whether Oklahoma income tax is or will be due on such wages." So we'll be paying the subsidy on a player's salary, even if he maintains residency and gets paid in Washington state, which has no state income tax.
And while Quality Jobs rebates are limited to 10 years for all other industries, sports teams get rebates for 15 years. All this for 41 home games a year....
[A press] release [from Speaker Chris Benge] reveals we're paying a high price for [national] exposure: In return for the $60 million subsidy, "[i]t is estimated that local and state tax revenue to the state over a 15 year period will be $11.2 million." That's a revenue loss of $48.8 million.
I've known John Wright for many years and know him to be a consistent, across-the-board conservative and an honorable man, so I was already inclined to support him for Lt. Governor. His vote against SB 1819 confirms my judgment that he will make decisions in the best interest of all Oklahoma taxpayers. He won't be swept away by emotional appeals or lobbyist pressure.
I was undecided in the State Treasurer's race, not knowing either candidate personally. Both claim to be fiscal hawks.
Owen Laughlin voted against SB 1819 and for fiscal sanity. In the current campaign, he offers a plan to improve the state's budget by $100 million a year, without raising taxes.
Ken Miller says he "has never supported a tax increase," but by voting to give money to the Thunder, he certainly made life harder for the vast majority of Oklahomans who will never see any fiscal or cultural benefit from an NBA team. Miller says on his campaign website, "The best thing the state government can do to encourage economic growth is to simply stay out of the way of private citizens," but his vote for SB 1819 undercuts his claim to that creed. Thunder co-owner Clay Bennett's endorsement is prominently featured on Miller's site.
While Miller and Lamb would both represent an improvement over the current Democratic occupants of the offices they seek, they failed a crucial test on an issue that will only grow in importance during these tight financial times -- how should government be involved in encouraging private business expansion.
None of the supporters of SB 1819 are likely to pay come election day -- the benefits are concentrated and the costs are diffuse -- but I will be keeping this vote in mind should any of them seek higher office. How someone voted on SB 1819 is an indication of that legislator's susceptibility to lobbyist pressure and view of the proper role of government in economic development.
BACKGROUND: This BatesLine entry includes an excerpt from a study showing that having a pro sports franchise tends to decrease a community's per capita income. Why does this happen?
First, consumer spending on sports may simply substitute for spending on other types of entertainment--and on other goods and services generally--so there is very little new income or employment generated. Sports fans that attend a game may reduce their visits to the movies or to restaurants to free up finances for game tickets and concessions. Patrons of local restaurants and bars who come to watch the games on television also are likely to cut back on their other entertainment spending.
Second, compared to the alternative goods and services that sports fans may purchase, spending related to stadium attendance has a relatively small multiplier effect. This is because spending at the stadium translates into salaries for wealthy athletes, many of whom live outside the city where they play. High-income individuals generally spend a smaller fraction of their income than low- and middle-income people--and much of the spending professional athletes do occurs in a different community than where they earned it. So the money paid to players does not circulate as widely or abundantly as it would were it paid to people with less wealth and more attachment to the city.
MORE: Earlier this year, State Rep. Ben Sharrer (D-Pryor Creek) explained his vote against the NBA giveaway:
Two years ago I represented your interests by fighting against extending the [Quality Jobs] Act to professional basketball franchises. I just didn't think it seemed right that your tax dollars should be sent to wealthy businesspeople for a team in Oklahoma City when most my constituents would never see a game from courtside or a luxury box, much less a seat in the nosebleed section....
You don't get credit as being an owner, but I've heard your tax dollars will pay the Thunder owners nearly $6 million this year. Gee, that amount of money would have saved nutrition programs for senior citizens across our state this year.
I'm dealing with blog guilt. I look at my blog and feel guilty for not updating it. Then I start to write a blog post and feel guilty about all the non-blog things I should be doing instead.
I was at a candidate's volunteer event today and someone was surprised to learn that I don't blog for a living. He had assumed that, because of all the content I produce, I must be doing this full-time. (It doesn't seem to me that I produce all that much content these days.) I assured him that that was not the case. I have a full-time, mentally-demanding, private-sector job that pays the bills and doesn't leave me with much energy when I finally have time to sit down and write. The time I spend on this I really ought to be spending (1) asleep, (2) playing with my kids, (3) doing housework, or (4) doing yard work.
I am not a trust-fund baby. No foundation is paying me a stipend so I can research, think, and write full-time. The only income this blog brings in comes from readers hitting the tip jar or people buying ads. It's enough to cover the hosting and domain costs and some research expenses. I'm grateful for and encouraged by the five people who contributed in response to my appeal, but it's clear that I'm not going to be able to feed, clothe, house, and educate a family of five by blogging about local issues. I suppose I should be thankful there wasn't a bigger response; if there had been, I'd feel guilty for not blogging more.
All that said, I don't have anything new for you from my metaphorical pen, but I can offer you some interesting links elsewhere about the 2010 Oklahoma election:
Steven Roemerman lives in Tulsa County Commission District 3, and he's received mailings from two of the three Republican candidates for that seat, incumbent Commissioner Fred Perry and Tulsa City Council attorney Drew Rees, with an interesting contrast in endorsements. Roemerman writes of Rees's piece, "I've never had a piece of campaign lit so thoroughly convince me not to vote for someone before, while at the same time making me hungry for the sweet sweet combination of chocolate and peanut-butter." Click through, read the mailers, and see if you can spot the missed opportunities. Sad when a consultant's connections and preferences are allowed to override his candidate's best interests.
Mike Ford has the scoop on David Hanigar, "Republican" candidate for State Auditor. Hanigar only recently changed his party registration and was a significant donor to several Democratic state officials, including disgraced and convicted former State Auditor Jeff McMahan.
Jamison Faught has been scrolling out his endorsements for statewide candidates in the upcoming Republican primary.
Oklahomans for Life has posted their July 2010 newsletter which contains the responses to their candidate survey.
Mike McCarville has dueling commercials and dueling press releases from the campaigns, including the latest dust-up between Scott Pruitt and Ryan Leonard, Republican candidates for Attorney General.
And finally, Irritated Tulsan offers a "urinalysis" of the dispute between Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr and the Tulsa City Council.
The Randy Brogdon for Governor campaign is calling on supporters to volunteer their time on Saturday morning, July 10, 2010, to get his message out to voters in Tulsa-area neighborhoods. There are only 17 days left until the July 27 primary election.
Where: Meet at 4444 E. 66th, Suite 100E, Tulsa OK
When: Saturday, July 10, 2010, 7:30 am to 1:00 pm
Stop in any time during the above hours to pick up the materials and information you need. Donuts, coffee, and yard signs will be available from opening until they run out. (Early bird gets the donut.)
There's the information; here's some motivation:
One of the sad realities of political fundraising is that biggest checks are almost always given out of direct financial self-interest. If an elected official has the power to make decisions that will either add or subtract millions from your company's bottom line, a $5,000 check is a worthwhile investment. If a candidate for that post has indicated a willingness to give you a special seat at the table in exchange (it is strongly implied) for campaign funds, writing that check is a no-brainer.
A CEO is not going to be as excited about writing a big check for a candidate who expressly promises to reduce government's power to shape the economy and who rules out making special deals that benefit a favored few at the expense of the general taxpayer. It's a classic case of concentrated benefit, diffuse cost: Those who will receive the concentrated benefit will invest resources to secure it; those who will bear a diffuse share of the cost won't be as strongly motivated to invest resources to oppose it.
In this year's election, that dynamic favors the kind of candidate who holds a special summit for "stakeholders" -- lobbyists and special interest groups -- and it works against a candidate like Randy Brogdon, who has a history of opposing special deals for special interests.
Now, there are more ordinary people who bear a share of the costs of these concentrated benefits than there are those who enjoy them. We can out-give them and out-work them. We can out-vote them, too, but most taxpayers are blissfully unaware of what's being done to them in the name of "economic development" and "public-private partnerships." Most voters don't understand this fundamental difference in philosophy between the two leading contenders for the Republican nomination for Governor.
There's another dynamic that has to be overcome: The bystander effect. When help is needed, the more people available who might help, the less likely it is that any of them (or enough of them) will:
[A] major obstacle to intervention is known as diffusion of responsibility. This occurs when observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individual feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything.
With the demands of work, home, and family, and the understandable desire to relax and enjoy the summer, it's easy to hope that other people will carry the burden of helping your favorite candidate win the election.
But it's not going to happen. That hope assumes that the campaign is near the point of having enough volunteers and enough money to get their message to the voters. A statewide, grassroots campaign is ALWAYS going to need more volunteers and more money.
If you want to see Randy Brogdon on the ballot in November, you need to give your money and your time now. No one else is going to make up for what you can give.
Randy Brogdon has been a resolute, uncompromising friend of Oklahoma's taxpayers. He's the primary sponsor and advocate for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. (We'd be so much better off during this tough economy if TABOR had passed, and we had restrained state spending during the good times.) He was one of the few politicians willing to take a stand in opposition to the 2007 Tulsa County sales tax increase for river projects.
Randy Brogdon has been standing up for our interests at the State Capitol. If you appreciate his work, if you want to him to be Oklahoma's Governor, now is the time to stand up for him.
First of all, many thanks to Gene Kaefer and Will Buthod, who responded to my question (Voters' guide? What's it worth to you?) with an affirmative response. Thanks to their generous gifts, I was able to sign up as a premium member of Rasmussen Reports. Their gifts were enough to pay for three months access; one more, and I'll be able to keep the membership through Election Day. A premium membership gives me access to the "crosstabs" of Rasmussen's recently released poll of Oklahoma voters, which show how subgroups of the sample of likely voters responded to each question. There are some interesting details in there that don't show up in the publicly-released "top line" numbers; I hope to have some analysis posted for you in the next couple of days.
Before I begin getting into my thoughts on each race, here's a rundown of the races that every Oklahoma Republican will see on the July 27, 2010, ballot, with the name of each candidate, hometown, age, website, and Twitter account. (The Tulsa County Election Board has sample ballots in PDF format; use the table to find the ballot for your party registration and precinct number.) The order below is the order in which the candidates appear on ballot style 52, which covers much of Tulsa County:
|Roger L. Jackson||Oklahoma City||59||jacksonforokgov.com||@jacksonforokgov|
|Bernie Adler||Oklahoma City||78||bernieadlerforltgov.net|
|John A. Wright||Broken Arrow||55||movingoklahomaforward.com||@johnwright2010|
|Paul F. Nosak||Tulsa||39|
|Ryan Leonard||Oklahoma City||38||ryanleonard2010.com||@Ryanleonard2010|
|Scott Pruitt||Broken Arrow||42||scottpruitt.com||@ScottPruittOK|
|Brian S. Kelly||Edmond||46|
|Jason Reese||Oklahoma City||31||reeseforlabor.com||@ReeseforLabor|
|John P. Crawford||Oklahoma City||78||johncrawford.us|
|Tod Yeager||Del City||54||todyeager.com|
|U. S. Senator||Town||Age||Website|
|Evelyn L. Rogers||Tulsa||57||evelyn-rogers.org|
|Lewis Kelly Spring||Hugo||62||springforussenate.com|
|U. S. Rep. Dist. 1||Town||Age||Website|
|John Sullivan||Tulsa||45||johnsullivanforcongress.com||@Team Sullivan|
|Patrick K. Haworth||Tulsa||41||haworthforcongress.com||@PatrickHaworth|
|Tulsa County Assessor||Town||Age||Website|
|Tulsa County Treasurer||Town||Age||Website|
|Tulsa County Commission Dist. 1||Town||Age||Website|
|Tulsa County Commission, Dist. 3||Town||Age||Website|
|Fred Perry||Broken Arrow||70||reelectfredperry.com|
|Judge, District 14, Office 3||Town||Age||Website|
|Mark A. Zannotti||Tulsa||48|
|James M. Caputo||Owasso||51|
UPDATE: Earlier this month, Clancy Smith was appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. While her name will appear on the ballot, she is no longer a candidate for re-election to the District Court.
|Judge, District 14, Office 13||Town||Age||Website|
|Bill Musseman||Broken Arrow||38|
|C. W. Daimon Jacobs||Tulsa||63|
UPDATED 2010/07/23 with Tulsa County races.
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.
As is usual about three weeks before an election, I've received several requests for a voters' guide. Already voters who plan to be out of town are getting ready to cast an absentee ballot, and there are a lot of competitive races and unfamiliar names on the Republican primary ballot. Even before I had a blog, it was common for friends to ask my opinion in the run-up to election day.
I'm happy to be of service, and I'm honored by the trust BatesLine readers place in my judgment. But it takes time to do the research (although I'd be doing some of it anyway, for my own use in voting) and to turn that research into writing. My family and my employer have dibs on my time, and it seems my free time is quickly eaten up with yard work and laundry, and I'm behind on both. There's money invested, too, in hosting and domain fees, and there's often some expense in doing research.
So before I invest that time in gathering and presenting this information to you, let me ask you, dear reader. What's it worth to you?
If the information you get here on BatesLine, particularly during election season, is valuable to you, there are some tangible ways to show your support:
The first way is to hit the PayPal tip jar over on the right sidebar. You can use your PayPal account or a major credit card to make a contribution to BatesLine. I don't have any totebags to send you in return, but I'll publish your name and donation amount on a list of contributors which will be prominently linked through election season (unless you ask me to withhold either name or amount).
The second way is to buy an ad on BatesLine. BatesLine readership is always at its highest in the run-up to an election, so it's a great time for a candidate (or any business that wants the attention of politically active Oklahomans) to run an ad. Even if you're not a candidate, you could still run an ad in support of your favorite candidate. (You're responsible for reporting it as an in-kind donation to the campaign.) Ads start as low as $30 a week for a text-only spot, $50 a week for a small ad with text and an image. There are discounts for multiple weeks.
Finally, if you need a good webhosting company, click the ad for bluehost. I get a small commission for new clients who sign up via my link. I've used bluehost for years, and I highly recommend their service.
It's tempting to pull a Gene Scott here and threaten to withhold my opinions until you people GIT ONNA PHONES and demonstrate the value of the teaching.
But I won't. I'll be forming my own opinions one way or the other, and you can be sure I'll share them with you between now and the primary. If you're smart, you, your company, or your candidate will be taking the opportunity to gain visibility with the thousands of Oklahoma voters who'll be dropping by.
(NOTE: I reserve the right to reject ads or contributions. Reasons for rejection may be arbitrary or capricious but more likely will be so I can avoid posting something on my blog that advocates for a cause or a candidate that's anathema to me.)
UPDATE: Rally for Randy Brogdon in Tulsa tonight, Monday, June 28, 2010, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m. at 4343 S. Memorial, Suite I. (Follow the Brogdon signs behind Big Red Sports at 44th & Memorial.) Meet Sen. and Mrs. Brogdon, pick up yard signs and bumper stickers are available, buy t-shirts, and pick up materials to walk your precinct for Randy Brogdon. For more information, call the Brogdon campaign at 888-800-7365.
On Saturday, the Oklahoma Republican State Committee met to choose a replacement for Gary Jones, who stepped down as party chairman to run for State Auditor and Inspector. Matt Pinnell was elected chairman by acclamation. As I wrote shortly after he announced his run for the post, he brings a great deal of nuts-and-bolts campaign experience to the job, just the sort of thing the Oklahoma GOP needs down the homestretch in this important state election year.
The State Committee is the governing body of the party in between state conventions. It's made up of the chairman and vice chairman of each county party, an elected committeeman and committeewoman from each county party, plus all Republican elected officials at the state and federal level (legislators, U. S. congressmen and senators, corporation commissioners, etc.). I served as Tulsa County's state committeeman from 2003 to 2007.
It's worth noting that party rules result in near-equal representation of men and women on the state committee. The chairman and vice-chairman of each county party must be of opposite sexes. It was my experience that women had a higher turnout percentage for these meetings than men. I mention that to dispel any mental picture that the state committee is an old-boys club meeting in a smoke-filled room. If anything, state committee meetings are more like a garden club get-together, only probably not as contentious.
The county party officials make up the bulk of the state committee. These officials are elected by the grassroots Republicans who attend precinct meetings and county conventions. They tend to be folks who have been involved in party activities for many years and have had first-hand dealings with the Republican candidates for statewide office. They know that the right candidate at the top of the ticket is crucial to motivate Republican voters to go to the polls and vote for downticket candidates for legislature and county office. So the insight represented by the results of Saturday's straw poll are worth your attention.
Each of the Republican candidates for governor had a turn addressing the committee on Saturday. 222 votes were cast in a straw poll of the committee. The results (reported by Mike McCarville):
Randy Brogdon: 119
Mary Fallin: 93
Robert Hubbard: 7
Roger Jackson: 3
So despite celebrity endorsements of Fallin, despite polls showing Fallin with a substantial lead, the men and women leading the party at the local level, the people who know these candidates better than just about anyone else, think State Sen. Randy Brogdon is the best choice to carry the Republican banner in November.
CORRECTION: 2010/06/14: Judge Linda Morrissey is registered to vote as an Independent, not a Democrat as I previously reported. I regret the error. Her husband, John Nicks, is a former Tulsa County Democratic Party chairman and was a Democratic candidate for Oklahoma Attorney General in 1994 and Tulsa County Commission District 2 in 2002. The two younger voters registered at the same address are also Democrats. A 1992 Tulsa World story reported that Morrissey was among a group of "[m]ore than 100 Oklahomans... expected to attend various inaugural galas, balls and ceremonies Jan. 20 in Washington, D.C." in honor of Bill Clinton, according to Rosemary Addy, cited by the story as political director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
This is an update of an entry from four years ago. The structure and offices are the same, but some of the names are different for 2010.
It took me a while to puzzle all this out, and I thought others might be interested as well.
Oklahoma has 26 District Courts. Tulsa County and Pawnee County constitute Judicial District No. 14. State law says that District 14 has 14 district judge offices. (Why are Tulsa County and Pawnee County coupled together? Why not Pawnee with, say, Osage, and Tulsa on its own, as Oklahoma County is?)
One judge must reside in and be nominated from Pawnee County, eight must reside in and be nominated from Tulsa County. If there are more than two candidates for any of those nine offices, there is a non-partisan nominating primary in the appropriate county, and the top two vote-getters are on the general election ballot. (Even if one gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two still advance.)
In the general election, all voters in Pawnee and Tulsa Counties vote on those nine seats.
The remaining five district judges are selected by electoral division in Tulsa County. In order to comply with the Voting Rights Act, Tulsa County is divided into five electoral divisions, one of which (Electoral Division 3) has a "minority-majority" population. (The minority-majority district is much smaller than the other four, as it must be in order to guarantee that the electorate is majority African-American.) For each of these five offices, if there are three or more candidates, there is a non-partisan nominating primary. If one candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, he is elected; otherwise, the top two advance to the general election. For each of these five offices, the candidates must reside in the corresponding electoral division, and only voters in that electoral division will vote for that office in the primary and general election. (Oklahoma County, Judicial District No. 7, is the only other county with judges elected by division.)
Despite the three different paths one can take to be elected, a Judge in Judicial District No. 14 can be assigned to try any case within the two counties.
Each county in the state also elects an Associate District Judge, nominated and elected countywide. After two elections in a row in which the incumbent Tulsa County Associate District Judge was ousted, this time around incumbent Dana Kuehn has been reelected without opposition. Former Tulsa County Associate District Judge Caroline Wall has opted to run for the open seat being vacated by Deborah Shallcross. Pawnee County Associate District Judge Matthew Henry was again re-elected without opposition. (He was probably helped by all that free publicity from his Bible commentary.)
In addition to the elected judges, the District has a certain number of Special Judges, who are appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the District Judges. Three of the candidates for District Judge Office 13 (the open seat) currently serve as Special Judges.
All this I was able to puzzle out from prior knowledge and browsing through the relevant sections of the Oklahoma Statutes. What I still couldn't quite figure out is which of the 14 offices corresponded with the five electoral divisions, and which one was nominated from Pawnee County. Although electoral division 4 votes for office 4, I was pretty sure the pattern did not apply to the other offices. After a few phone calls, someone from the Tulsa County Election Board found the relevant info in the League of Women Voters handbook. So here it is, for your reference and mine, with the party registration of each judge noted in parentheses. (Yes, I know Oklahoma judicial races are non-partisan and judicial candidates are supposed to refrain from mentioning party affiliation, but I'm not subject to that restriction, and party registration is a matter of public record. Party affiliation may be some indication of a candidate's judicial philosophy.)
|Office||Incumbent||Nominated by||Primary 2010||Elected by||General 2010|
|1||Kellough (D)||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.|
|2||Harris (D)||Tulsa Co. ED 3||Tulsa Co. ED 3|
|3||Smith (D)||Tulsa Co.||Yes||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.||Yes|
|4||Cantrell (I)||Tulsa Co. ED 4||Tulsa Co. ED 4|
|5||Sellers||Pawnee Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.|
|6||Chappelle (R)2||Tulsa Co. ED 2||Tulsa Co. ED 2|
|7||Gillert (D)||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.|
|8||Thornbrugh (R)||Tulsa Co. ED 5||Tulsa Co. ED 5|
|9||Morrissey (I)||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.||Yes|
|10||Fitzgerald (D)||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.|
|11||Nightingale (D)||Tulsa Co. ED 1||Tulsa Co. ED 1|
|12||Fransein (R)||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.|
|13||Shallcross (D)1||Tulsa Co.||Yes||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.||Yes|
|14||Glassco (D)2||Tulsa Co.||Tulsa and Pawnee Cos.||Yes|
Offices elected by Tulsa County Electoral Divisions in red.
Offices nominated by Pawnee County in blue.
1 Not seeking re-election.
2 Appointed by Gov. Henry to fill unexpired terms of McAllister and Gassett, respectively.
Although all 14 offices are up for election this year, only four offices are contested, and only two of those will be on the primary ballot.
Three incumbent judges have drawn opponents: Smith, Morrissey, and Glassco. Tulsa City Councilor John Eagleton, a registered Republican, is challenging, Linda Morrissey, a registered independent (CORRECTED: see above). Judge Clancy Smith (Democrat) will face Mark Zannotti (independent) and James Caputo (Republican). Caputo was a candidate in 2006 for Office 4. Kurt Glassco, Democrat nominee for Congress in 1988 and 1990, was appointed to replace Judge Michael Gassett. He'll be opposed in his first attempt at re-election by Jon Patton (Republican).
The only open seat, Office 13, currently held by Deborah Shallcross (D), has drawn special judges Carl Funderburk (D), Bill Musseman (R), Theresa Dreiling (I), former Associate District Judge Caroline Wall (R), and private practice attorney C W Daimon Jacobs (D).
None of the five offices elected by electoral division are being contested this year. Should you want to know which electoral division you live in, use the precinct locator at the Tulsa County Election Board website or consult this Tulsa County judicial electoral division map. Click here for the full collection of Tulsa County district and precinct maps.
Last week, Oklahoma Republican state party chairman Gary Jones resigned his post last week to jump into the race for State Auditor and Inspector. Jones had run twice before, in 2002 and 2006, coming close each time to defeating Democrat Jeff McMahan. No viable Republican candidate emerged to challenge McMahan's appointed replacement, Democrat Steve Burrage, so once again Jones, a CPA and former Comanche County Commissioner, stepped into the 2010 race. Whatever Burrage's accomplishments since taking over from his felonious predecessor, Jones gets the lion's share of the credit for bringing the corrupt activities of McMahan and his cronies to light. There can hardly be a better qualification for State Auditor.
With Jones out, the Oklahoma Republican State Committee will meet later this month to elect a replacement. The only announced candidate so far is Matt Pinnell.
Pinnell would bring a great deal of nuts-and-bolts campaign experience to the job, exactly what the party organization needs going into this crucial statewide election. Pinnell served as Director of Operations for the Oklahoma Republican Party under two state chairmen, Tom Daxon and Gary Jones, working with county chairs across the state and helping to.raise unprecedented levels of contributions.
In 2008, Pinnell served as director for Oklahoma Victory, the state party effort to get out the vote for Republicans up and down the ticket. The result: The highest victory percentage in the nation for John McCain and Sarah Palin -- 65.4% -- and a sweep of every county in the state, plus a big win for U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and a Republican majority in the Oklahoma Senate for the first time ever. Previously, Pinnell had served as a campaign aide to Steve Largent, Scott Pruitt, and Tom Coburn. More recently, Pinnell served as executive director of American Majority-Oklahoma, training thousands of potential candidates and activists in the basics of effective political action.
In these roles, Matt Pinnell has dealt with Republican officials, local party officials, candidates, consultants, and grassroots activists across the state. Because he has experience in all the diverse domains of party operations, and because he knows all the players in state Republican politics, he won't let campaign consultants drive the state party machinery. (If you want to know what happens when consultants are allowed to run the show, see South Carolina. Or closer to home, see the mess involving former Speaker Lance Cargill and the Oklahoma State House Committee.)
I've had the pleasure of working with Matt on a number of Republican Party efforts, and although I've stepped down from any official party responsibilities and won't have a vote, I'm happy to urge State Committee members to cast their vote for Matt Pinnell for Oklahoma Republican Party chairman.
Today at 5 pm (barring any challenges or withdrawals), we will know the line-up for the Oklahoma 2010 elections. So far a lot of incumbents are getting a free pass.
You can view the filings as they happen on the Oklahoma State Election Board website. New this year: You can also download the filing info as an Excel spreadsheet or XML, which means I'm not going to have to write a Perl script to parse the list this year. (Looking forward to past election results in Excel, one of these days.)
The Tulsa County filings aren't updated in real-time, but a PDF with the complete list will be posted shortly after filing closes.
A few quick notes:
U. S. Senate: Tom Coburn has not drawn any major opposition, but has two Republican opponents (including perennial Evelyn Rogers, carrying in the footsteps of her mother, Tennie Rogers), two Democrat opponents, and one independent rival. Coburn won't have a hard race, but he will be at the top of the ballot in November, which should be good for downticket Republicans.
U. S. House: CD 5, being vacated by Mary Fallin, has drawn nine candidates so far, five of them from the likely victorious GOP. Dan Boren, Oklahoma's lone Democrat (some would want me to put that in quotes) has an Obamacare fan challenging from the left (homeschooling nemesis Jim Wilson, a state senator from Tahlequah), and four Republican opponents.
Frank Lucas (Tulsa's other congressman -- he represents Osage County along with the northwestern third of Oklahoma), has drawn no opposition. John Sullivan in CD 1 and Tom Cole in CD 4 have Ron Paul supporters as primary opponents.
Statewide: The expected candidates have filed for governor: Brogdon, Fallin, Askins, and Edmondson. There are competitive races shaping up for Lt. Governor, State Superintendent, Attorney General, Labor Commissioner, and State Treasurer. No one has filed against Dana Murphy, seeking her first full term as Corporation Commissioner. Two Republicans have filed for Insurance Commissioner; incumbent Kim Holland has announced plans to run for re-election but has yet to file. Steve Burrage, appointed to replace Jeff McMahan, felon, as State Auditor, has yet to draw an opponent. (Gary Jones, who came very close to winning in 2002 and 2006 and is currently serving as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, is not expected to file.)
Judicial: Incumbents in District 14 (Tulsa and Pawnee Counties) have drawn a free pass so far. Two men already serving as special judges, Republican Bill Musseman and Democrat Carl Funderburk, and Republican former associate judge Caroline Wall (defeated for reelection to that post in 2006, having beaten the previous appointed incumbent in 2002) have filed for Office 13, being vacated by Democrat Deborah Shallcross.
State House: No one has filed in House 66, and Democrat incumbent Lucky Lamons has announced he will not run for re-election. Jay Ramey, the 2008 Republican nominee and an advocate for marijuana legalization, plans to file. Liz Hunt, who began campaigning for the Senate 33 seat last summer in anticipation of Tom Adelson's departure (had he been elected mayor or received a Federal appointment), lives in House 66.
House 68, being vacated by Speaker Chris Benge, has drawn a full field of candidates.
Most Tulsa incumbents are unopposed. Democrat Jeannie McDaniel has a Republican opponent, Molly McKay, for House 78. Republican Dan Sullivan has drawn a Democratic rival for House 71. Kevin Matthews will once again challenge incumbent Jabar Shumate in the Democratic primary for House 73; no Republican has filed. Someone named Joe Kelley (not the radio host) is challenging Owasso Rep. David Derby in House 74.
State Senate: Senate 34, being vacated by Randy Brogdon, has two Republican hopefuls, Rick Brinkley and Tim Coager. Senate 18, mainly in Wagoner and Mayes County, but Mary-mandered into Tulsa County to help the Easley family hold onto Kevin Easley's seat, has one candidate in each party; Mary Easley has hit her term limit. Bill Brown, making his first re-election bid for Senate 36, is so far unopposed.
Tulsa County: DA Tim Harris looks to get a free ride this year after a brutal primary campaign four years ago. County Assessor Ken Yazel has drawn two opponents, former assessor Cheryl Clay, a Republican, and Nancy Bolzle, a Democrat who has run unsuccessfully for state senate in the past. Clay was a supporter of Jack Gordon, her former deputy, whom Yazel defeated in 2002. District 1 Commissioner John Smaligo faces a rematch with former commissioner Wilbert Collins. District 3's Fred Perry has drawn two primary opponents, Tulsa City Council attorney Drew Rees and Michael Masters. County Treasurer Dennis Semler has his first competitive reelection since his first run in 1994 against Ruth Hartje in the Republican primary.
If you're thinking about filing for office this week but aren't sure you know what to do once you've filed, fear not. American Majority is hosting four candidate and activist training sessions in the Tulsa metro area this week to coincide with the conclusion of the filing period for state and county offices in Oklahoma. Here's a list of the sessions, with dates, times, locations, and registration fees; click the links to learn more:
- Thursday, June 10, 2010, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, activist training, Claremore, $15 (includes refreshments).
- Saturday, June 12, 2010, 8:30 am - noon, candidate training, Tulsa, $30.
- Monday, June 14, 2010, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Patriots 2.0 training, Bixby, free (refreshments available for purchase).
- Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm, Patriots 2.0 training, Muskogee, $10 (includes refreshments).
Discounts are available for advance registration. Space is limited.
The Patriots 2.0 class is a hands-on session in the use of social media in political activism.
Some of the event topics that will be covered include:
- Holding Your Elected Officials Accountable through New Media and Social Networking.
- The Power of Blogs and Wikis.
- Social Networking with a Cause: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Other Social Networking Tools.
- Building Coalitions Online
Writing at Townhall.com, columnist Paul Jacob says that Oklahoma's race for governor could be the most important in the nation in 2010. The reason for that, he writes, is one of the candidates for the Republican nomination, State Sen. Randy Brogdon. "It may be that Randy Brogdon can do more to set our political culture straight than any other candidate running for any office in the entire country.... [S]hould Randy Brogdon win the Republican nomination on July 27 and be elected governor this November, not only will Oklahomans have cause to celebrate, Americans everywhere will."
In support for this sweeping assertion, Jacob cites Brogdon's principled stands in support of government transparency, fiscal restraint, individual liberty and privacy, and his10th Amendment-based resistance to federal overreach. Because of the positive precedent a Brogdon victory would set for the rest of the country, Jacob urges conservatives across America to donate to the Brogdon campaign.
Jacob says that despite Brogdon's years of public service, "he's nothing like a run-of-the-mill politician. He's a freedom fighter."
Sure, Brogdon has been a state senator in Oklahoma for two terms and before that he was on the city council and later mayor of Owasso, Oklahoma, a Tulsa suburb. And now Sen. Brogdon is running for Governor of Oklahoma.
Still, he doesn't think or act like a politician. One notices this obvious reality within about eight seconds of meeting him. He's thoughtful, knowledgeable about how the private, productive sector of the economy works (having started several successful small businesses), and he has something not found in the DNA of politicians: The courage of his convictions.
Jacob says there may not be an equal in the country to Randy Brogdon "when it comes to standing up for what's right and what's constitutional." Here are a few of Brogdon's legislative achievements Jacob cites:
- Senator Brogdon championed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which would put state government on a reasonable budget and not allow politicians to overspend it without a vote of the people.
- He's been a leader in requiring greater government transparency.
- The Senator also championed the initiative and referendum rights of state voters, working to open up the initiative petition process in the state, including sponsoring a constitutional amendment to lower the signature requirement that will also be on the ballot this November.
- Randy stood up for privacy rights and constitutional governance, successfully leading Oklahoma to be the first state to opt out of the federal Real ID Act.
- Brogdon is working to do the same thing right now concerning Obamacare, the unconstitutional federal takeover of 16 percent of the economy. In fact, this Thursday, June 10, Randy's gubernatorial campaign is sponsoring an "Oklahoma Opt-Out of Obamacare Moneybomb."
Jacob also has some interesting comments regarding Brogdon's main rival for the Republican nomination, Congresswoman Mary Fallin.
In my years of involvement in conservative and Republican politics, I've noticed that there are those politicians who profess support for the laundry list of conservative positions on the current list of hot issues and then there are those who understand the issues of the day in terms of the bigger picture -- a coherent philosophy of government, society, and human nature and a view of the long-term consequences of today's decisions. Elected officials in the latter group seem less likely to be led astray; when a new issue comes along, they have a philosophical compass to guide their decisions, while members of the former group are susceptible to lobbyist suasion.
I'd rather have a laundry-list conservative in office than the left-wing equivalent, but I'd much rather have a leader who sees today's issues in terms of our future liberty and prosperity, guided by a coherent conservative philosophy. In the Oklahoma governor's race, that candidate is Randy Brogdon.
(Thanks to BatesLine reader S. Lee for the link to the column.)
MORE: The Randy Brogdon campaign is asking potential donors to pledge for a June 10 "money bomb" as a way to show support for Oklahoma's effort to opt-out of Obamacare.
STILL MORE: In a February 2009 blog entry well worth reading, Man of the West defined "laundry-list conservative." I strongly suspect that this is where I picked up the phrase.