Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Brogdon Town Hall Report

In just 10 days, Randy Brogdon has moved the OKGOP into a new era. 

  He held his first speaking engagement tonight, since taking on the duties of the chairmanship. Randy Brogdon was the guest of the Tulsa Area Republican Assembly. Here are the talking points of his 45 minute discussion:
  • Randy sensed during the last month of the campaign that the party was determined to select a different leader. He knew that either he or Pam Pollard would be chosen. He had become very acquainted with Pam and they still discuss party matters frequently, especially in the past week.
  • His first day (Monday) started out very excited and he had several plans and expectations, but the day unfolded quite differently than he imagined. After lunch he painfully shared the news of the deficit with existing staff, and that no one could be kept on the payroll. He knew he would not receive his own check until the financial situation changes.
  • Brogdon is committed to growing the party in any way he can, whether he is paid or not.
  • 4 people are on the current unpaid staff. Himself, Vice Chair Hernandez, Executive Director TC Ryan, and Financial Director Sarahi Wilson.
  • There is a very broad effort to build the financial base of the party, including people Brogdon never previously had connections with or support from. he said; "They love the OKGOP as much as I do, so we are on the same team".

  • Brogdon is determined to keep the lights on at the state office and raise the needed funds to run the office well, make sure the party has candidates in every race, and grow the voting base. 
  • As a senator, Brogdon's job focused on policy. But this role of chairmanship is not about making policy. It's being a servant of the people who make up the OKGOP.
  • Brogdon is expecting to raise funds to support GOP nominees in the 2016 races.
  • Randy said; 
    "I just joined the Minuteman Club, and when I start getting a paycheck, I'll join the Elephant Club"
  • The Minuteman Club had shrunk to just 61 active members. In just the 1st week, we about doubled that (at least). The goal is to have 500 within a year. The Elephant Club is also needed. Randy said; "I just joined the Minuteman Club, and when I start getting a paycheck, I'll join the Elephant Club".
  • Randy said that in the last 10 years PACs changed the way campaigns are structured and how parties work. But the OKGOP needs to build so that grassroots candidates can compete in campaigns.
  • The big SRLC event is run by Madison Strategy. But the one event of that the OKGOP is running, is the Friday Night Banquet. Minutemen tickets  to the Friday night banquet are just $75 (regularly $100). Ted Cruz was selected by the Weston administration to keynote that event and other presidential candidates are possibly going to be added to that billing (negotiations are happening now). The OKGOP could raise $50-100k off that event, if the turnout reaches maximum capacity.
  • The SRLC tickets are $75 for the conference events. Banquets and galas are separately charged. Earlybird registration is just $50, until April 30.
  • Booths at the SRLC are pricey. $1800. But OKGOP groups can apply for about 6 booths spaces which are 1/2 price. 
  • The State Executive Committee cannot be seated until the District Committees meet and elect officers (who are then seated in the executive committee). The Chairman only chooses 5 executive committee members. So does the Vice Chairman.
  • Randy hopes to see Vice Chairman, Hernandez play a much broader role than past vice chairmen have.
  • Randy said; "the State Committee is my boss. I love this job because I get to serve the party."
  • Marlene Lynch will be appointed as the Office Manager for the OKGOP once the state legislative session ends. She was Senator Randy Brogdon's campaign assistant and currently serves in the capitol as a Legislative Assistant. (This reporter errored in reporting. Cindy Sullivan has been Senator Brogdon's assistant while he served in the Oklahoma Senate. My apologies to all parties misrepresented.)
  • An effort is underway to draw several talk radio programs to the SRLC.  Glen Beck is one such media group being targeted.
  • Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is planning to organize at least one major fundraiser for the OKGOP.
  • Pam Pollard is reviewing the financials (she owns an accounting company). The results will be presented to the Budget Committee, first. Then published upon their release. Randy Brogdon is careful to say that he has not released any specific amount of debt, but he does say that the OKGOP did have more debt than funds, on April 13th.There was no ledger kept by the OKGOP office, that he is aware of.
  • Steve Fair has personally stepped up with a large personal check ($1000). The Stephens County GOP gave $2000, and the Bryan County GOP gave $1000.

The challenges of the transition have likely made the state Republican organization a much stronger and larger organization. The financial disaster has drawn people together in ways we might not have seen

David Van Risseghem

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