Saturday, March 28, 2015

GOP Chair Candidate Forum Brings Unity Message To Tulsa

Tulsa 912 Project Hosts Forum

Former Senator, Randy Brogdon, and Republican Women President,
 Pam Pollard, honor the efforts of conservative groups in Oklahoma
  The Tulsa 912 Project hosted a Saturday morning pancake breakfast and forum for candidates running for the chairmanship of the OKGOP.  Former Vice Chairman, Pam Pollard attended along with her husband and family friends.  Former Senator, Randy Brogdon also attended this event. Chairman David Weston declined his invitation.   The candidates gave opening statements, then the moderator, Tulsa 912 President, Ronda Vuillemont-Smith; coordinated questions from the full room of attendees.
Each candidate was given plenty of time to address each question.  The tone was quite positive and cordial and it was evident that the 2 strong candidates present are respectful friends who share a mutual admiration.


Brogdon discusses the importance of
precinct development to success
in Oklahoma, of the past 10 years
  They both addressed the problems of a statewide participation slump in the OKGOP.  Pollard reports that 6 counties no longer have a GOP organization sending a delegation to this year's state convention. She further detailed a failed structure in the state GOP fundraising efforts, leading to an inability of the party to reach out and grow in a manner comparing to the past decade of massive growth. Where 2010 had record voter turnout, 2014 was one of the lowest. And the party was not able to fund candidates as had previously been common.
Pollard details her vision for a stronger GOP

  Senator Brogdon answered questions about leadership by pointing to his strong legislative record of passing some of Oklahoma's most significant state reforms by getting bills passed and signed by a Democrat governor. He also referred to his conservative scorecard as the highest lifetime rating - scoring "100" for most of his years in the Oklahoma State Senate.
  They both expressed a vision for the chairmanship role as promoting the principles of the party, rather than trying to endorse an official GOP position on each bill in the legislature.
  Both candidates expressed a desire to find commonality with conservative action groups and they see those groups as essential to many of the recent victories.
Levity and optimism was evident in the tone
of the Tulsa event.
  Very strong language was used by Randy Brogdon when the Presidential Primary bill was the topic. "Horrible idea", said Brogdon. Pollard further questioned the legitimacy of Weston's claim to have the support of the OKGOP State Executive Committee. She said that the "meeting" was actually a conference call and Weston used the mute button regularly, so that proper debate and Roberts Rules of Order are in serious question. But both of them believe Weston has done a great disservice by denying the State Committee (the ruling body of the OKGOP) any opportunity to make an authoritative statement of policy. Weston seems to now want the Legislature to hold up all business on this bill until after the OKGOP State Convention. A position Weston did not express prior to the negative reaction of the House Elections and Ethics Committee members. Weston did not show up at that hearing, nor communicate his absence with the bill's sponsor in the hearing.

 Mutual Endorsements?

 A big development surrounded the notion that this 3-way race might result in one of these  candidates perhaps being eliminated in a runoff balloting. They both privately expressed some undisclosed understanding on this hypothetical, but Brogdon finally stated openly that while he intends to win this race and is only focusing his efforts to that end; he would advocate support for Pollard if he was not able to serve, for whatever reason.
  I asked Pollard after the meeting if she was prepared to reciprocate, but she declined to go on the record.  She did say that private communication has happened between the two of them.
  Tulsa 912 Project hosted a candidate forum prior to the 2013 OKGOP Convention. This 2015 installment was a much more positive and cordial event than that 2013 forum

State Convention

   Each County GOP organization has designated their authorized state delegates. All Tulsa Republicans who attended their precinct meeting in January are authorized delegates to the OKGOP Convention on April 11th, in OKC. The OKGOP office is instructing delegates to prepay online by April 7th. (

David Van Risseghem
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