Tuesday 22 Jul
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OKG Newsletter

Topic: Scoop

Separating from the pack

Mike Thompson is one of seven Republican candidates running for Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District. Oklahoma Gazette had queried all seven candidates in a story this week about the race. Thompson responded after publication deadline.

As one of the leading contenders in the race, Thompson has been heavily backed by business and energy interests. A member of the state House of Representatives, Thompson chaired the Energy and Utility Regulation committee, which won a lot of favors with oil and gas companies.

As with any race dealing with so many candidates, the key is to find a way to separate yourself from the pack. Thompson believes one-on-one contact with voters is the recipe for success.

"In our campaign, we have focused on communicating directly with voters, listening to their concerns and providing a clear vision of what I'll do to stop the growth of government," Thompson told the Gazette. "We knocked tens of thousands of doors and made even more phone calls to speak with, not to, the voters. I am proud of the endorsements we have earned (for) the growing level of volunteer support that will fuel the final push toward (the) July 27 (primary)."

Thompson has tried to push his conservative credentials with the GOP voters, touting his co-sponsoring of a bill which will allow Oklahomans to vote in November on whether or not for the state to opt out of the new federal health care law. This may help influence the Tea Party, which has aligned itself with the Republicans, but Thompson said the GOP is more than just a tea party.

"I've attended over a dozen tea parties and the people there have the same concerns as my neighbors, friends from church and family. Voters from all walks of life are angry and afraid, and they are ready for more than just empty rhetoric and campaign season promises. They expect and demand solutions to the challenges facing our nation," Thompson said.
by Mike Thompson 07.01.2010 4 years ago
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His own Democrat

Democrat Fifth District Congressional candidate Billy Coyle, who did not respond before publication for an Oklahoma Gazette story on the race, believes a Democrat can win a seat dominated by Republicans since the mid 1970s.

"There are no heavyweight Republicans in this race, and Oklahomans have proven that they are tired of partisan politics and will vote for the person," Coyle said. "For example, Jim Roth carried the district two years ago, and Andrew Rice lost by 2 percent against an entrenched incumbent. The citizens of this district will vote for a Democrat if it is a Democrat that thinks like they do. This race is wide-open and I will win it on the issues."

As for issues, Coyle emphasizes incentives to keep American jobs, weaning the country off foreign oil, and better care for veterans.

Coyle said he does not align or withdraw himself from the national Democratic Party.

"I am running on a platform that reflects Oklahoma values," Coyle said. "If those values reflect the values of the national party, then they reflect the same values. If they don't reflect them, then they don't reflect them. I am an Oklahoma Democrat, and Oklahoma voters know what that means."
by Scott Cooper 07.03.2010 4 years ago
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Scenes from the campaign trail

Spending hours with the Republican gubernatorial candidates provided some memorable moments. Here are just a few from my travels with Mary Fallin and Randy Brogdon.

During her working-across-Oklahoma campaign tour in April, Fallin spent part of her day as a bank receptionist. Being cheerful is key to this job.


It's the little things that fuel a campaign, as when Brogdon had to refill the gas tank at a Love's Country Store in north Oklahoma City.


Speaking engagements are the lifeblood of campaigns, as Fallin takes advantage of an opportunity to speak to the Ardmore Rotary Club.


Greeting folks at a Tulsa retirement center gave Brogdon a chance to relax before his rally later that night.


Sometimes campaign work can be dirty, as Fallin examines a pressure gauge for an oil rig outside of Duncan.


"The next governor of the state of Oklahoma," Rep. Mike Ritze proclaims a rally in Tulsa as the candidate stands ready to entertain with his wife, Donna.
by Scott Cooper 07.17.2010 4 years ago
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How Askins really won

There has been quite a bit written in the media about how Jari Askins pulled off the upset over Drew Edmondson to win the Democratic primary for governor. Most stories reported Barry Switzer, robo-calls and face-to-face politicking did the trick. I wouldn't disagree with any of it.

However, there is an even bigger backstory about Askins' campaign tactics: one that involves some covert operations which, when looking at the whole picture, easily makes sense as to how victory was achieved.

The strategy involved four major components: minorities, poultry farms, staying positive and a secret society of legislators.

Askins heavily sought out the support of minorities, especially among African-American churches. She spent plenty Sunday mornings sitting in some of the black congregations and lining up support from several black ministers. It's why Askins was able to pull votes away from Edmondson in Tulsa, a crucial area for him to win by wide margins.

Edmondson still won Tulsa County, but light voter turnout in the area and minority support helped Askins keep the margin lower than expected. (Expect Tulsa to be the battleground again between Askins and Mary Fallin, as neither candidate won that area.)

Sources inside the Askins campaign said minorities were also upset at Edmondson for his strong support and efforts to speed up the execution process.

It was no secret that counties with large poultry farms did not like Edmondson. His attorney general lawsuit against poultry farms over the quality of water in Northeastern Oklahoma sent money and votes Askins' way. It had major effects in McCurtain County and Ottawa County, areas Edmondson should have done better in. In the last few days of the campaign, Askins received thousands of dollars in contributions from the poultry industry, including Arkansas companies.

This is the secret weapon Askins employed to overcome her opponent. Edmondson's strength was in Eastern Oklahoma, where he grew up and served as a legislator and district attorney. But Askins gained support from several east-side legislators who kept it quiet, but worked to help the lieutenant governor to victory.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, a huge debate emerged in the Askins camp about whether to go negative. Polls were showing Askins was falling behind, and Edmondson was still out-fundraising Askins. But sources said they crunched the numbers and found they could stay positive and still win, just barely.
by Scott Cooper 07.31.2010 4 years ago
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Mary-Randy lovefest

Water under the bridge; that's in the past; time to move forward. Those were the sentiments expressed at Mary Fallin's campaign headquarters Wednesday morning as she received a much-anticipated endorsement.

For months, state Sen. Randy Brogdon worked hard against Fallin for the Republican nomination for governor. Trying to position himself as the real conservative candidate in the race, Brogdon railed against Fallin's conservative credentials on issues like the federal government's bailout of banks, which Fallin voted for.

But that was all forgotten on Wednesday. The two GOPers stood next to each other as if they were old friends.

"Randy has been passionate about states' rights, the Second Amendment and cutting spending," Fallin said to a press crowd jammed into a small room at her headquarters. "We share those same passions."

For his part, Brogdon did not disappoint.

"I unequivocally support Mary Fallin," Brogdon said. "I encourage my supporters and conservatives across the state to get behind Mary Fallin."

A campaign tactic quickly emerged as Fallin stood next to Brodgon. In his remarks, Brogdon railed against the Democrat in the race, Jari Askins, for being a liberal. This could easily be a strategy: Let Brogdon tear Askins down while Fallin continues with her positive outlook for Oklahoma. Of course, Askins could easily counter with her Demo rival for governor, Drew Edmondson, who certainly knows how to fight back.

In any case, love is in the air for the GOP. All Republicans grab your jukebox money and head for the love shack.
by Scott Cooper 08.05.2010 4 years ago
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Councilors vent on MAPS 3

MAPS 3 project manager Eric Wenger probably thought his appearance before the Oklahoma City Council would be a brief matter. Little did he know.

Some of the councilors spent a few minutes voicing frustration during Tuesday's council meeting on an agenda item to start advertising for a MAPS 3 consultant. Wenger came just to ask for permission to post the job. By the time he left, Wenger had a much more bigger task to deal with.

The concern from councilors like Sam Bowman and Pete White is that too much attention is being given to the new convention center and that the other approved MAPS 3 projects are getting pushed to the side.

Bowman held up the MAPS 3 manual " or "bible," as he called it " describing how each project in MAPS 3 is a separate tab in the booklet. There are thick sections on the convention center and the new central park.

"Yet, when you go to the tab on the senior wellness centers, that's all it is: a tab," Bowman said.

White brought up a poll, sponsored by Oklahoma Gazette and conducted by SoonerPoll.com, which showed the convention center had much less support than some of the other MAPS 3 items like sidewalks and trails.

"Yet, what are we talking about? The convention center," White complained.

But Mayor Mick Cornett pointed out that not all projects can be done at the same time, and the MAPS 3 advisory board will help guide the process.
by Scott Cooper 08.18.2010 3 years ago
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Future plans

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson will only be dropping part of his title when he leaves office come January. The four-term AG tells Oklahoma Gazette he plans to practice law once when he vacates his office.

The longtime office holder from Muskogee, now living in Edmond, will be ending his political career after an unsuccessful bid for governor this past summer. Edmondson lost by a razor-thin margin the Democratic nomination to Lt. Gov. Jari Askins.

Facing unemployment in a few months, Edmondson has made two decisions:

by Scott Cooper 09.11.2010 3 years ago
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Woody wagon

Letters to the Editor

Robert Oxford
After reading Rod Lott’s review of Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (“Wood repair,” June 8, Gazette), I was puzzled: Normally, film critics focus on the whole of the work, examining it formally as well as contextually.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011