Archive for the ‘Decision ’08’ Category

Aspen Institute’s “Ghost Commissioner” Says He’s Running. Is It a Negotiating Ploy?

May 31, 2008
As OKPNS predicted, the intrigue regarding the corporation commission races is exploding as Monday’s three-day filing period approaches.

The Aspen Institute’s candidate, incumbent Jeff Cloud, is upping the ante today with an announcement that he is going to file for re-election for the full six-year seat. That has left Chesapeake’s favorite, Jim Roth, scrambling for a deal.

It is common knowledge that Cloud is squatting on the seat in which Chesapeake wants to place Roth. The lethargic Cloud is being wooed by “interested parties” in the private sector so that Roth, who is perceived to be a much brighter and energetic commissioner, can move to the full six-year term.

Today’s announcement gives Cloud leverage to negotiate a better salary, but at least one corporation commission insider says all the scenarios floated by pundits and even OKPNS have got it all wrong for one reason: Cloud’s penchant for slothfulness. “This man has the worst work ethic imaginable. Cloud arrives late, leaves early, have long breakfasts at Classen Grill, and jogs with his dog in the early afternoon. He consistently embarrasses his assistants with his ability to disappear when work beckons and he’s not real quick on the uptake even on the rare occasions when he actually is in the office. The fact is, Cloud wants Denise Bode pay for ghost commissioner work, and nobody wants to pay for that.”

So Cloud may have decided that short hours with little accountability are more important than big bucks with responsibility. But issuing a press release on Friday is a telltale sign that something fishy is going on: it is standard political operating procedure to issue bad news on Friday, and put good news out early in the week. Or perhaps in keeping in character, Cloud was just running behind schedule for his release.

If Cloud is running for real, what becomes of Roth? We know the Roth folks didn’t anticipate Cloud staying in, and reports are they’re freaked out. But this we know: if Roth files against Cloud, it means Cloud has cut a deal, with Cloud dropping out AFTER filing is over. Cloud would remain in the race until after filing to keep Dana Murphy and/or Rob Johnson from following Roth to the six year seat. But if Roth files for the two-year seat, it means Cloud really is staying, unless someone new emerges to take him on.


EXCLUSIVE: Commissioner Jim Roth Arrested for DUI in ’95; Resolution of Case a Mystery

May 29, 2008

Monday June 2nd begins Oklahoma’s filing period for elective offices, and thanks to the proliferation of blogs, Oklahomans will have more information about candidates than ever before.

Some of the information will be items that the old and slow media, dogged by conflicts of interest from their wealthy owners, simply will not share with their readers, listeners and viewers. Some information will get altered, due to people like Mike Turpen, who tried to kill an extraordinary, and true, story that was damaging to his buddy Drew Edmondson. Some information is tainted, as exemplified by Turpen continually pimping his clients, without disclosing that fact to his viewers on the formerly respected political affairs show Flashpoint.

Further, with the slow and lazy Oklahoma media, the last minute dirty trick has become standard operating procedure. Responses through traditional media seldom are successful. Sometimes the press makes value judgments that a particular claim is in fact a dirty trick when it is not: the press erred when it did not take seriously Gary Jones’ campaign claims about disgraced Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan. The press didn’t do its job, and the voters did not have the information they deserved before they re-elected McMahan. Some watchdog, huh?

But there’s also the clever tactic some candidates use when, in the rare occasions the press actually does their job and uncovers real character issues, to denigrate the information by actually employing the ‘victim’ mode: “they’re throwing mud,”as the saying goes.

At OKPNS, we think open and vigorous discussion is what the votes deserve. After yesterday’s revelations about Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud’s ties to the George Soro’s radical-left Aspen Institute, it seems another issue that could dog corporation commission elections is beginning surfacing.

OKPNS has obtained a copy of an arrest report that is being circulated. Commissioner Roth was arrested December 12, 1995 after 2 AM in a section of town known for its gay nightlife. Roth was arrested for DUI and following too closely. He refused the arresting officer’s request for the “implied consent request,” most likely a blood or breathalyzer test, and he was accompanied by Joe Mark Elkouri, a special municipal judge, who according to the arresting officer’s report, appears to bargain with the officers to make the officer “forget this happened.” The officer refused, and called in a supervising official. Elkouri died less than a year later after what the paper referred to as a lengthy illness.

It should be noted that the report by the arresting officer is in a public document that represents the officer’s opinion that Roth was intoxicated. There are no attachments to the documents detailing how the case was adjudicated, and there is no indication from the report that Roth was involved in the effort to make the officer “forget this happened.”

Excerpt from the police report. (Click here, here, and here to read entire report. Click on image to enlarge)

“(Elkouri) then stated to this officer, “There must be something I can do to make you forget this happened.” I informed(Elkouri) that there was nothing he could do and that (Roth) was under arrest for DUI. (Elkouri) continued to state that he was a special judge and that (Roth) should not be arrested.”

Undoubtedly, this document would have surfaced in the late hours of either the primary or general election. Now it’s out in the open, regardless, the public will, and Roth’s opponents, will demand an explanation for his behavior.

Some will say the incident, which happened in December 1995, is unfair to Roth because it was so long ago. That’s non-sense. It’s been nearly 40 years since Chappaquiddick, and Sen. Kennedy is yet to come clean. George W. Bush was hit with a DUI revelation less than 48 hours before the 2000 election. There were no Democrats screaming foul on that night. The public deserves to know, and Roth deserves time to make that explanation.


Wilson Research Strategies May National Political Environment Assessment.

May 29, 2008

Wilson Research Strategies recently released its May 2008 edition of the National Political Environment Assessment. This edition analyzes this fall’s match up between Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. Here are a few quotes from the report:

“Despite reports in the press about the “revolutionary” status of Barack Obama, current data points to an election that could look much like 2000 and 2004.”

“Compounding the problem with nationalizing an election is the fact that independent voters have not gotten the message they’re supposed to dislike Obama. In fact, Obama’s standing with independents is almost as strong with Democrats.”

“McCain and Republicans continue to enjoy a significant advantage with voters on trust and to handle terrorism. Obama has gained since February.”

DSCC Video: Andrew Rice: Why I’m Running

May 29, 2008

In this latest Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee propaganda video, aspiring U.S. senator Andrew Rice, gives his reasons why he’s embarked upon his suicide mission against Senator Inhofe.

If you don’t have the time to watch the entire minute and a half video, we’ll save you a little time and give you the Cliff Notes version. First 30 seconds, Rice is riding in a car talking about losing his brother on 9/11. The next ten seconds, a Democrat activist is surprised that Rice remembers his name. From what we can surmise in the short segment, the activist is going to vote for Rice because he’s a “friendly and likeable guy.” (Glad he didn’t let issues get in the way)

The last 50 seconds, Rice is speaking with another gentleman about – losing his brother in the World Trade Center on 9/11. And we thought only Republicans used 9/11 for political advantage?

Oklahoma Independents Want More Candidates on the Ballot

May 29, 2008

The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) wants all Oklahomans to know about the three days when they can file to run for office at the state Capitol: June 2nd to 4th. OKIES is hoping to bring more accountability to incumbents’ actions and by encouraging Oklahomans to run for political office, whatever their party affiliation.

From their press release:

The democratic process in Oklahoma is suffering. Over half of state legislative races went unopposed in 2006. So the names of most incumbents never even showed up on a ballot, yet they still “represent” the people of their district.”

Clark Duffe, OKIES Chairman, said, “Campaigning for office is a great way to get out your message and affect your community.” All that is required is having been registered with the same party affiliation for six months in your district and a $200 filing fee for most offices. Qualifications to run and a list of offices to be filled are available from the Oklahoma State Election Board.

James M. Branum, Secretary of the Oklahoma Green Party, said, “Since Oklahoma’s ballot access laws kept me from being on the ballot as a Green, I ran as an Independent for state house in 2006. It was a empowering experience. I got to speak at several candidate forums and connect with my neighbors on the campaign trail, and in the end even got to see some of my ideas be adopted by the candidate who beat me. I recommend all registered Independents to consider running, because otherwise our voice won’t be heard.”

Richard Prawdzienski, past Independent candidate for State House 39, addressed concerns about the possibility of someone winning against a candidate of an established party. “If a 19-year-old freshman at the University of Oklahoma can be elected mayor in Muskogee, imagine what anyone can do.”

Jacqueline Salit, founder and political director of the national organization, Committee for a Unified Independent Party, commented, “With 70% of Americans saying that the country is on the wrong track, the problem is not just that our policies have gone wrong. It’s that our political process isn’t working. That’s a big reason why so many people are becoming independents and why independents feel that we’ve got to change the way our political system works. It’s really a rebellion against the “divine right” of the major parties. Running for office with a message about the need for independent reform is a way to bring that challenge to a next step.”

The Oklahoma Coalition of Independents (OKIES) seeks to expand voter choice by reducing the number of unopposed races for elected office in Oklahoma. OKIES also supports structural reforms that will engage more potential voters in the political process, such as ballot access reform and redistricting reform.

Steve Russell Announces Candidacy

May 28, 2008

From press release:

Today, flanked by family and an enthusiastic crowd of supporters, Steve Russell announced his bid to run as a Republican in the State Senate race for District 45, the seat being vacated by term-limited Senator Kathleen Wilcoxsen.

A native Oklahoman, Russell retired as a Lt. Colonel after spending 21 years as an Army Infantryman. During his distinguished military career, Russell spent tours in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq where he was a central player in the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein.

“After serving my country for so long, I now feel called to serve Oklahoma in a different way, by serving as a State Senator for Moore, Mustang and parts of South Oklahoma City,” said Russell.”

Russell believes his time away from Oklahoma has given him a unique perspective that will benefit the citizens of Oklahoma in general and District 45 in particular.

“I have witnessed firsthand the creation of a new democracy. I have seen how the rest of the world views Oklahoma, and I have developed an even deeper appreciation for the things that make Oklahoma and Oklahomans special: Love of God, love of family and an enthusiasm for individual respect and responsibility that, quite frankly, does not exist in many parts of the world.”

That renewed perspective also, he believes, sheds light on some of the biggest issues facing the Sooner State including transforming our business climate into one that rewards innovation and entrepreneurship, creating a dedicated funding stream for our state’s backlog of road and bridge projects and reforming our tort system to benefit the truly injured rather than the trial lawyers.

Dana Murphy Receives Endorsement from Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee

May 22, 2008

(Oklahoma City, OK) Dana Murphy has received the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee for her candidacy for Corporation Commission.

“I’m truly honored to receive the endorsement of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee. It is very humbling to be supported by my fellow Conservatives,” said Murphy.

Murphy spoke to the committee on Wednesday, and besides her speech, spent 30 minutes taking in-depth questions from the audience. Afterward, the committee voted to give her its endorsement, spotlighting her conservative credentials and significant experience in the race for Corporation Commissioner.

“Her depth of knowledge, passion to serve in this office, and the belief by our members that she would be a fair Corporation Commissioner, and one who is above reproach, influenced our members to overwhelming vote to endorse her,” Chairman Charlie Meadows said of the committee’s vote.

“She earned it,” Meadows added.

The Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee has built a reputation in Oklahoma as being a stalwart supporter of conservative ideology.

Boehner, Cole to Release Election Plan

May 21, 2008

The Politico:


After a week of tension and recriminations following a special election loss in Mississippi, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner and NRCC Chairman Tom Cole will unveil a series of changes Wednesday aimed at quelling criticism and positioning their party for November’s elections.

Cole is expected to add veteran Republican political operative Ed Brookover to his staff as a consultant and liaison with lawmakers, GOP insiders said. Brookover, who served as a National Republican Congressional Committee political director, has close ties to Boehner, Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam of Florida, according to one GOP aide.

A source with knowledge of the discussions between Boehner and Cole said the minority leader has insisted that Cole also give more power to an advisory committee formed after the GOP lost a special election in Louisiana earlier this month. Under the plan Boehner and Cole will announce Wednesday, that advisory committee will meet weekly with NRCC staffers to monitor operations and help coordinate fundraising and other campaign activities. It is possible that former NRCC Chairman Tom Davis of Virginia will play an expanded role in guiding the advisory committee and, through it, the NRCC.

The moves represent a modest détente between Cole and Boehner, but they might not be enough to mollify a restive party rife with fears that November 2008 will be a replay of November 2006. Read more…

Loveless Questions Opponents’ "Lack of Plan" For Road and Bridge Funding

May 20, 2008

Loveless for Senate press release:

Oklahoma City, OK – Conservative Republican state senate candidate, Kyle Loveless yesterday reiterated his plan for improving Oklahoma’s dilapidated roads and bridges and questioned why the other candidate’s still lack a plan for this crucial issue.

“The most recent Sooner Survey identifies road and bridge funding as THE most important priority for Oklahomans, yet my opponents have failed to address this crucial issue. My transportation funding plan will transform our roads from a source of shame into a spur for economic development,” said Loveless.

The Sooner Survey is a publication of Cole, Hargrave, and Snodgrass and the most authoritative newsletter in Oklahoma politics. The most recent copy is attached.

“My plan is a four-step process. First, reduce administrative overhead at ODOT and put the funds into roads and bridges. Second, funds collected for a certain purpose should be spent for that purpose and that purpose ONLY. Gas taxes and tag fees were collected to be used for roads and bridges. They should be used for that purpose, period. Third, remove the cap on transportation funding. We don’t have a cap on other vital functions of government. We should not have one on roads and bridges. Finally, decisions about road project should not be political, but based on need and traffic counts instead of who is the Chairman of a certain committee.”

Loveless also questioned his opponents’ lack of a coherent plan for road funding.

“For the first time, according to the attached polling, roads and bridges are THE most important issue on people’s minds. Where and what are their plans? The people of senate district 45 need real leadership, not empty promises or bumper sticker politics. The most troubling thing, is that at the legislature now they are talking about going into debt to pay for roads – that is wrong.”

“I have personally knocked on doors from Mustang to Moore, and people are tired of politicians taking orders from special interests and fat cat lobbyists. People want answers about issues THEY care about, and they want them now!”

Minority Leader Boehner: "Cole Staying"

May 20, 2008

After several days of speculation, Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, is giving a public vote of support to National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chair Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole.

Cole, the 4th District representative, had come under fire after yet another special election loss, the latest one last week in Mississippi.

Most observers think Cole is being set up for blame by Boehner, who has criticized Cole in the past. “I don’t know what Tom Cole is supposed to do about visionless dolts like John Boehner,” one Washington insider tells OKPNS.

From The Hill:

“Boehner’s leadership has been lacking,” a GOP lobbyist and strategist said.

Boehner last year reportedly called for staffing changes at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), but none happened after NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) refused to make them.

After the party’s devastating loss last week in a Mississippi special election, Boehner did not directly answer the question about whether Cole would stay on at the NRCC. With some of his GOP colleagues calling for quick and decisive action, Boehner lauded a 20-page strategic memo crafted by Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), a former NRCC chairman.

It wasn’t until five days after the Mississippi loss that Boehner provided clarity on whether Cole would be ousted.

“He’s staying,” Boehner said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday. “And we know the kind of changes that need to be made in order to help our members and help our candidates go out there and do their best in a very difficult environment.”

Boehner said he met with Cole late last week to discuss those changes, but the minority leader’s office declined to detail them on Monday. Read more…