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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday Thoughts

The wheels are turning and there is so much going on, I scarcely know where to begin.  So, let's start with some of the headlines for today.

GARY JONES AUDITOR RACE:  Gary Jones, GOP Chair until Monday, will be facing a primary against Dave Hanigar and based on the polling regarding Gary versus the incumbent Democrat, Jones should handle his primary opponent pretty easily.  The things to take into consideration, however, is whether or not the Republican faithful will be upset with him for breaking his promise NOT to run for statewide office again.  At the end of the day, the office of Auditor is very important to the people of Oklahoma and Gary has uncovered corruption himself previously without the power of the post behind him.  Some would argue that his ability to do so makes him an invaluable asset as State Auditor.

GOP POLITICAL CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION CONTINUES:  Nolan Clay has an incredible "smoking gun" story in the Oklahoman today.  Conversations between Cherokee Ballard and State Representative Randy Terrill have come to light and it does not bode well for the GOP as a whole.  This is the kind of "stuff" that was to be expected under Gene Stipe and his leadership, but not from a guy like Randy Terrill.  Terrill faces Democrat Amy Corley for his House seat.  The grand jury will make the final determination to be sure, but as this blog has warned previously, it isn't going away any time soon.  Read the Clay story here.

OKLAHOMA'S 5TH DISTRICT RACE THOUGHTS:  The GOP line-up for the 5th District is a healthy one.  Three front-runners in the race are Mike Thompson, Kevin Calvey and the new star of the GOP, James Lankford.  Lankford doesn't have the money that Thompson and Calvey have at their disposal, but as I have said all along, the grass roots support for Lankford is astounding.  It seems as though his signs are virtually everywhere and wherever Lankford speaks, he leaves a very positive and lasting impression.  Thompson and Calvey, however, have the money and creative staff to wage a media war that will knock our socks off.  Rumor has it that Thompson has already completed filming for his television commercials and the production staff has been rumored to be some of the best in the business.  Unlike previous 5th District GOP races, this looks to be tame by comparison, seeing very little "negative" campaigning. 

In the spirit of disclosure, I'm supporting the conservative Independent candidate, Dave White - Naval Academy grad, Navy SEAL officer and successful entrepreneur. 

READY FOR GUBERNATORIAL RUMBLES?  Mary Fallin and Randy Brogdon are kicking it up a notch and it wouldn't surprise me to see the announcement of a couple debates to be scheduled soon.  Everyone wants to see these two debate, but there has been some controversy over what type of debates will be agreed upon. Here is the format I would like to see:

1.  Two-hour debate.
2.  First hour, questions from audience members.
3.  Moderator there only to introduce candidates, keep Q&A time.
4.  Question, response (1 minute), rebuttal (1 minute), response (1 minute) format. 
5.  Second hour, candidates ask each other questions, same format as (4), above.

Oklahoma City's KTOK could host the first debate, using the Clear Channel network of radio stations for statewide broadcast.  There should be three debates - one in Oklahoma City, one in Tulsa and one in Ardmore.  But then again, that would be a perfect scenario and it is doubtful that either of the candidates would agree to my suggested format.

DHS TROUBLES, LAST STOP FOR SOME:  DHS is in turmoil and from what I have seen internally, there is no doubt that reform of the agency should be a priority for our state legislature in the next legislative session.  The souls of Kelsey Briggs and Aja Johnson cry out for justice and the media has done the right thing by exposing some of the horrific instances of neglect and abuse therein.  DHS is very much like the IRS, however.  They have unbelievable power and are like to ensure folks know it.

In a recent conversation I had with someone in the executive offices, I asked, "So, who has jurisdiction or who has higher authority - a court order given by a sitting judge, or DHS?"  The response was first silence, then a statement that was dubious at best:  "It depends on the situation."  Seriously?  Last time I read state law, when a family court judge makes a ruling, unless it is overturned in appeal, the ruling stands and government agencies are to adhere to it.  Except, maybe, DHS.  Family court judges' rulings are disregarded every day and contempt of court charges are rarely filed because the paperwork is a pain in the rear and it's not like the District Attorney's have nothing else to do than chase down the multitudes who defy family court cases regularly.

Unfortunately, as society goes about its business, DHS may be the last stop on the road to complete dysfunction for some.  When horrifically dysfunctional families have nowhere to turn, the court system and DHS may be the only protection provided for children - but with the attitude of superiority coming from those who receive a paycheck from the Department of Human Services, children slip through the cracks often and with impunity.  The wheels of justice turn very slowly at times in the great state of Oklahoma, and where family courts are involved, justice is often a pipe dream.  Reform is needed and it is needed now, in my opinion.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What is Drew Gonna Do?

SoonerPoll just came out with some new numbers and it looks like in the gubernatorial battle royal, Jari Askins is gaining ground on Drew Edmondson.  Hard to say why, but it looks like Attorney General Drew Edmondson is slipping.  From SoonerPoll:
The Democratic gubernatorial race continues to tighten as primary day approaches in Oklahoma. Results of the most recent SoonerPoll show Attorney General Drew Edmondson still leads Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins, but not by much.
Edmondson’s numbers have fallen from 40.1 percent in April to 37.1 percent currently, while Askins, who currently has 35.8 percent of the vote, has gained ever so slightly since April.
“This race is shaping up to be a real horserace,” said Bill Shapard, CEO of SoonerPoll.com.  “It appears the contest will come down to messaging and who has the best organization to get their voters to the polls.”
Read the whole report here.

CHK Hosts GOP CD5 "Top Gun" Forum

Chesapeake Energy Corporation hosted what I refer to as a "GOP Top Gun" forum for the candidates for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District.  Apparently, it was a question and answer forum where employees of CHK could ask questions of the Top Gun candidates for the GOP.

The candidates were:
James Lankford
Mike Thompson
Kevin Calvey

The feedback I have received is that political newcomer, James Lankford, knocked it out of the park and impressed virtually everyone in attendance.  Which is interesting because Mike Thompson was chair of the uber-powerful State House Energy Committee.  Thompson has on his advisory committee some major players in the energy sector including:  Larry Nichols (Devon), Joe Warren (Cimarron), Pete Brown (Cimarron), Chad McDougall (JMA Energy), Sean Cummings (Cummings Oil), Robert Hefner V (Hefner Energy) and Mike McDonald (OIPA and Triad Energy).  A virtual "Who's Who" of the Oklahoma energy industry.

Whether or not CHK throws any money in the GOP CD5 race is yet to be determined, but from what I have heard, Lankford really surprised everyone there.

New Blog Design

Blogger sites are pretty darned cool.  They are diverse, the feeds are fast and fun it's easy to change the look and feel of the blogger site quite readily.

Which is what I have done.

I like the white text with the black background and the portability of the Blogger pages.  Let me know what you think.

Gary Jones Resigns, Now What?

State GOP Chair, Gary Jones, has resigned from his post as GOP Chair so he can run for State Auditor and that leaves people wondering, what now?  Well, from what I understand, Vice Chair Angie LaPlante is now the interim Chair of the GOP until one is elected at the State Committee meeting at the end of the month.

Angie LaPlante (pictured, left in the photo) will do the job gratis, so there is no conflict of interest between her job with Ken Miller.  Miller is a candidate for State Treasurer.

Some names that have been bantered about are Steve Fair and Matt Pinnell to lead the charge as the head of the State GOP.  While many will be looking for leadership to raise funds, I want to see if we can have someone who can take on Ben Odom on KTOK with Reid Mullins.  The Turpen/Humphries love-fest on Flash Point is about all I can take...

Stay tuned, this is going to get bumpy.

There has been a great deal of disturbance in the GOP Force as a result of LaPlante's involvement in the Miller campaign while she is the state GOP Vice Chair.  With her as the interim Chair, there will be an even greater disturbance and no doubt, plenty of blog entries to call into question her motivation.  Truth be known, I don't think Angie would do anything untoward and of all the interim Chairs the GOP could have, she is one of the most objective.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Candidate Filing Done, A Few Surprises

With a great deal of media coverage, candidate filings for the state of Oklahoma are now behind us and the candidates are sizing up their competition.  But there were a few surprises, to be sure.

CORPORATION COMMISSIONER:  Dana Murphy, the incumbent who first defeated former Representative Rob Johnson in the primary, then took on Brad Henry's friend Jim Roth, actually drew an opponent in her re-election bid.  And her opponent is a Republican.  This came as a surprise to most within GOP circles because Dana has raised quite a bit of cash and has significant name recognition.  Maybe you're not surprised, but I am.

STATE AUDITOR:  Sure, there was some chatter about GOP Chair Gary Jones running a third time for State Auditor, but most figured that Gary would decline since a Republican filed for the office.  But alas, Gary did, in fact, file to run against the man appointed by Brad Henry. 

DAN BOREN FACES 7 OPPONENTS:  Congressman Dan Boren will be facing 7 opponents, including one Democrat in his bid for re-election.  Boren has been labeled as a "liberal" by many in Oklahoma and though he is not exactly Mike Pence, he is hardly liberal.  This is going to be a fascinating race to watch.  Boren is on the Board of Directors for the NRA, has support from many within the ORA and frankly, he is certainly not like his father.

OKLAHOMA COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY GETS FOUR MORE YEARS:  Rumors abounded, only to be proven incorrect, that David Prater would see opposition in his re-election for Oklahoma County District Attorney.  Prater defeated incumbent Wes Lane in what was clearly a historic upset, proving that yes, a conservative Democrat can win in Oklahoma County against one of their favorite sons.  I make no bones about the fact that David is a friend of mine and has been for a number of years.  He's one of those individuals who are remarkably perfect for their jobs.  To be perfectly candid, in this political climate, I fully expected to see a Republican jump up to run against him. 

No doubt, there will be more surprises over the course of the next few weeks.  The primary is upon us, friends.

Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy Gets Opponent

Looks like efforts to recruit a candidate against incumbent Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy have paid off.  Del City Republican Tod Yeager filed today.

Not much is known about Tod, other than from his Facebook page and MySpace page indicating he is a pretty big NASCAR fan. 

Republican Candidate for Auditor - Not Gary Jones

The Internet has been all a-twitter over whether or not state GOP chair Gary Jones would throw his hat in the ring once again for the post of State Auditor and as of this report he has not.  Another Republican, however, has done just that.  The Oklahoman is reporting that David Hanigar of Edmond is ready to take on the incumbent Steve Burrage.

Burrage was appointed by Governor Henry after former Auditor Jeff McMahan got into some trouble.

Gary Jones drew the ire of members of OCPAC (Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee) when it was rumored he was considering another run for the statewide office.

"Speaker" Not Speaking

Watching KOKH Fox 25 last night, I found myself quite amused with the fact that we have a Speaker of the House who isn't speaking.

At least not to the members of the media.

Fox's Andrew Speno showed up at the home of Speaker of the House Chris Benge, greeted by Benge's lovely wife.  She went to get her husband, but Speaker Benge decided to let his wife deal with the eager news anchor rather than "speaking" himself.  They were supposedly on their way to their son's baseball game and couldn't be bothered with the whole Medical Examiner/Randy Terrill/Mike Christian/Debbe Leftwich scandal.

Fox 25 performed incredibly well last night, asking many of the questions taxpayers of Oklahoma have on their minds right now.

I didn't know which was better - Hell's Kitchen or Speno's report.

Here is the link!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Marines Make Candidate Pull Ad

Just how far can a candidate go who is a member of the military reserves?  Can they have pictures of themselves in uniform on their print and electronic ads?  It depends upon whom you ask, but from what I have read and remember from my days in the military, the answer is a resounding "no." 

Men and women of the Armed Forces should be proud of their service to this great nation, no doubt.  Not many can understand the fraternal emotion shared between those who have raised their right hand, sworn an oath and stood a post.  But the question remains in the minds of the public as to whether or not it is part of a campaign ploy or a legitimate aspect of a candidate's life.  Here is a story about a Marine and what happened to him:

Congressional candidate Vaughn Ward has violated a Pentagon directive prohibiting the impression that his campaign is supported by the military, according to the Marine Corps.
Ward is a Marine major assigned to 28 days of annual reserve duty at the Office of Legislative Affairs in Washington, D.C. Ward won a Bronze Star with Combat V for valor for leading a Marine company in Iraq from April to October 2006.
Ward and state Rep. Raul Labrador are the top candidates in the May 25 Republican primary. The winner will challenge Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick in November.
The Marine Corps wrote Ward earlier this month saying his online ad on the Drudge Report website on March 31 and April 1 violated the directive. The ad showed Ward in camouflage and body armor and said, "With Your Help I Will Vote To Repeal ObamaCare!"
The $2,500 ad encouraged contributions and directed viewers to the campaign website, vaughnward.com.
You can read the whole story here for yourself and make your own judgment.

As for me, the jury is still out.