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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Local Tea Parties

Oklahoma House and Senate, Oklahoma statewide races including the Corporation Commission, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Labor Commissioner, Governor, Attorney General and to a lesser degree, State Auditor and Inspector all benefited from both the anger of voters and the publicity tea party movements garnered.  They won their races in 2010, resulting in a Republican sweep unlike anything in our recent history.

But somehow, the media is surprised that they have turned their focus to local races such as School Board and City Council.

In a very well-written story by John Estus, the revelation comes that two of the many Central Oklahoma tea party organizations are getting involved in local races.  And there is even some background about the splits within the tea parties.
The Sooner Tea Party formed in 2009 after several of its members split from the Oklahoma City Tea Party, which earlier that year held a boisterous rally at the Capitol attended by more than 5,000 people.
Since then, the Sooner Tea Party has held its own rallies and aligned itself with other conservative groups in central Oklahoma. It is a part of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, an ultraconservative umbrella organization also run by Gerhart.
The story does not address which candidates are being supported in local races nor those who are being opposed by the tea party organizations, no doubt intentionally.  The incumbents in the Oklahoma City Council races, for example, have carried water for the Chamber and the Oklahoman wouldn't want to enliven the base that supported the Republican base and potentially lose their water-bearers on the Oklahoma City horseshoe.

Neither does the story mention that Al Gerhart, creator of the Sooner Tea Party, is running against Representative Paul Wesselhoft for a State Senate seat.

The tea party movement, though admittedly fragmented in Central Oklahoma, is still a force to be reckoned with and will continue to be involved in local races - much to the chagrin of the establishment.