Oklahoma Election 2010: June 2010 Archives

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.

pinnell_headshot-150x200.jpgWith 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.

MORE: Matt Pinnell's letter to the Oklahoma Republican State Committee.

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:

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.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma Election 2010 category from June 2010.

Oklahoma Election 2010: July 2010 is the next archive.

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