Due to my political involvement over the years, many people have asked my opinions about candidates or issues. As time went on the number of people contacting me grew to such an extent that time no longer permitted personal conversations. Therefore I created "Charlie’s Picks" which are simply my opinions and not necessarily those of OCPAC. I am often asked if these can be forwarded, by all means feel free to do so.
Many of the candidates I have heard multiple times or perhaps I have had conversations with them. If they have been interviewed by the members of OCPAC, it will be the toughest, most intense grilling they will undergo. I am looking for candidates based on some of the following qualities. Do they appear to be articulate, passionate, honest, do they believe moral absolutes still exist or do they believe in situational ethics? Do they care about moral perspectives regarding issues? Do they understand the philosophy of a republican form of government, are they willing to adequately fund the proper functions of government and get government out of the things the private sector should be doing? As they do so, are they willing to reduce or eliminate those taxes which hinder a vibrant economic atmosphere where people have an equal opportunity to succeed?
Most candidates have some of these inclinations in varying degrees. However, very few are rock solid on all issues. Some of the readers may have done their own research, know things of which I am unaware and disagree with me. That is fine, I simply hope this is helpful to those who have not. If you would like to receive the weekly OCPAC e-mail on a regular basis with my conservative commentary and insider information about Oklahoma politics, government and the culture war, please e-mail me at email@example.com with your request.
U.S. Senate - Jim Inhofe: Though Senator Inhofe is not perfect he is one of the best in all of Washington. None of the other 3 candidates are viable and probably would lose to the Democrat, Andrew Rice in the November election.
Corporation Commission - Dana Murhpy: By training and professional experience at the commission, Dana is better qualified to serve in this capacity. I believe Dana has a passion to serve and does not see being elected to the commission as a stepping stone to higher office as so many seem to try and do. I am not so sure about this when it comes to Rob Johnson. One final issue, I believe Dana will not be controlled by the people she will regulate, whether or not they contribute to her. I think she has the character to stay independent and be an advocate for the people like Bob Anthony, while still wanting to see businesses prosper.
Tulsa County dist 2 Commission - Sally Bell: Bell is a die hard conservative running to unseat a the liberal Republican Randy Miller. The Bells as well as the citizens of Tulsa have suffered by Millers vote to force their amusement park to close. The city of Tulsa has also lost badly needed revenue as a result of such a poor decision.
Ok County dist 2 Commission - Brent Rinehart: This is a tough decision for me as I usually shy away from a candidate with such a cloud of legal problems surrounding them. However, I believe his political enemies, (he has many) have exaggerated most of his problems and you will never convince me the allegations against him (a small amount of contributions of which he returned, much like Attorney General Edmondson returned questionable contributions) have not been delayed for over 4 years to harm him politically. Bottom line, besides the power struggle over the budget board, Rinehart had done a good job taking care of the needs and improving his district. I also believe it is valuable to have at least one person in office who will not just go along to get along. Someone to ask the tough questions. Based on his performance as mayor of Bethany, J.D. Johnston should never hold elected office again. I believe Brian Maughn sees this as his opportunity to win an election. I like Brian, but I am concerned he will try so hard to go along to get along, he may become a part of the "court house maffia". If you just cant vote for Rinehart, vote for Maughn, not Johnston.
Canadian Co dist 2 Commission - Richard Engle: Besides being the loyal and reliable Vice Chairman of OCPAC, since its beginning, Richard is highly intelligent, hard working, and conservative. Several years ago he was the conservative leader on the Bethany city counsel, where he turned out to be the get it done without a tax increase man as well as the watch dog for the citizens money. Canadian County is the fastest growing county in Oklahoma. They really need an "out of the box" type conservative leader on the Commission.
Ok County Clerk - Stan Inman: Stan was actually an excellent County Commissioner, adept at administrative skills and he has great instincts when it comes finding the truth of a matter, especially beyond the superficial. Stan is another person who will not go along to get along. The Court House gang (Maffia) has gathered around the very liberal Carolynn Caudill to try and convince everyone she is a "conservative." Perhaps the most humorous is the 12 year old picture and quote from former Governor, Frank Keating, the Republican spend, borrow and spend some more Governor. Carolynn could really be in trouble with Keating’s endorsement. By the time his 8 years in office were up, Oklahomans so suffered from "Keating fatigue" that they have elected John Sullivan over Kathy Keating, elected Brad Henry over Steve Largent, elected Howard Barnett over his twin brother Dan Keating and David Dank over his son Chip Keating. Caudell is such a fine Republican that she has a Jim Roth (the liberal Democrat homosexual) campaign sign in her yard.
State Senate # 27 - Your Choice: This is Owen Laughlin’s term-limited seat which covers the panhandle down to Woodward. Neither Bryce Marlatt or Kevin Evans showed up for the OCPAC interview process. Sources tell me Marlatt is the choice of the establishment, so look for him to win.
State Senate #35 - Jeff Applecamp: This Tulsa area seat belonged to Jim Williams who is term-limited. Jeff’s survey and performance during the OCPAC interview were very good. Many of the conservatives in Tulsa including Senator Williamson are backing Gary Stanislawski. I believe Gary has the right instincts, he just needs to fully develop his conservative ideology. Most believe it is a 2 way race between Stanislawski and the very liberal Cason Carter. If you can’t bring yourself to voting for Applecamp, then by all means vote for Stanislawski as Carter would rival Harry Coates for the RINO (Republican In Name Only) award each year.
State Senate #37 - Dan Newberry: This Tulsa, Sand Springs area seat currently held by the turn-coat Nancy Riley is one of the most important senate races in the state. Dan is a serious Christian who has been working toward this effort for well over a year. I have had a couple of conversations with him and believe he has the ability to take Riley out. If he wins he has been invited to appear next week at our meeting, where our members can get to know him much better.
State Senate #45 - Kyle Loveless: This is the Southwest OKC to Mustang seat held by the term-limited Kathleen Wilcoxson. Kyle won the endorsement of OCPAC with a good appearance as a solid conservative. He has been working for over a year and a recent voter ID poll has him ahead of the former OKC Councilman Jerry Foshee by 4 points and he is 15 points ahead of Steve Russell. Unless something changes, it will be a run-off between Kyle Loveless and Foshee.
State House #36 - Your Choice: This Pawhuska, Wynona, Hominy area seat was open 2 years ago and the Republican nominee, Eddie Fields almost won the general election. He came to the OCPAC interview but, like so many rural Republicans, really lacked conservative instincts. However, he would be far better than the incumbent Scott Bighorse, who is the next to the most liberal Democrat in the House. Only the homosexual Democrat Al McAffrey is more liberal.
State House #41 - Your Choice: John Enns is the incumbent in this seat that reaches from Yukon to Enid. Enns has a 2 year average of a 70 which is acceptable. I don’t know anything about the candidates from Kingfisher or Yukon, but this district voted very provincial 2 years ago with the majority of people in the Enid area so look for Enns to win again.
State House #45 - Aaron Stiles: This is the East Norman seat currently held but the very liberal Democrat Wallace Collins. Stiles and Les White are the 2 conservatives in the race and the city councilman Hopper, and the former mayor Henderson are the 2 liberals in the race. I think the world of Les White, but he got into the race late with Styles way ahead of him in door knocking. Look for a run-off between Stiles and Henderson.
State House #47 - John Paul Jordan: This is the seat formerly held by Susan Winchester and runs from Chickasha up to Mustang. Mr. Jordan received our endorsement over Jane McNeff, though he is fairly green. The establishment candidate, Leslie Osborn didn’t attend so I don’t know how conservative she is. Osborn may win this one without a run-off.
State House #48 - Matt Cunningham: This is the Ardmore seat formerly held by Greg Piatt. Sources tell me Mr. Cunningham is the conservative in this race though I have not been able to make contact with either of them. Ownbey is the establishment candidate. This will be a seat that will be difficult to hold for the Republicans.
State House #53 - Randy Terrill: This South Moore and part of Norman race is one of the top 5 most important primaries in the state. Powerful special interest forces are spending huge sums of money to defeat Terrill, mainly because he is so effective when it comes to the illegal alien issue.
State House #54 - Paul Wesselhoft: This is the North Moore area. Though Wesselhoft drives me crazy with some of his legislation (such as extending the school year), when it comes to fiscal issues he is a rock solid conservative. He has the second highest lifetime conservative index score and is ranked 3rd most conservative out of 57 Republicans for this year’s rating.
State House #57 - Your Choice: This is the Weatherford - Clinton area seat formerly held by Representative Covey. The eventual winner will be eligible to appear before OCPAC.
State House #59 - Your Choice: This Kingfisher, through Hennessey seat formerly held by Rob Johnson has 3 Republicans in the race. I just don’t know anything about any of them.
State House #68 - Your Choice: This is the Tulsa area seat held by Speaker Benge. While Benge is a social conservative, he is not a fiscal policy conservative. If the young challenger Brian Jackson is conservative on all issues, then by all means vote for him. There is no Democrat in this race.
State House #74 - Robert Jerome: This is the Owasso area seat currently held by David Derby. I like Derby, but his votes on the subsidies for the Sonics, the bond issue and his lack of opposition to the Tulsa River Tax have given valid issues to the more conservative Jerome to take issue with the incumbent. Jerome was also endorsed by the Tulsa area Republican Assembly.
State House #80 - Dr. Mike Ritze: This is the Broken Arrow seat formerly held by Ron Peterson. Dr. Ritze is one of the most prepared and conservative candidates we have ever seen at an OCPAC interview. It is one of the top 5 most important primary races in the state with Dr. Ritze being a bonafide conservative and his opponent being the establishment’s last minute moderate candidate.
State House #87 - Andrew Winningham: This seat, formerly held by Trebor Worthen, is centered around May, Portland and 50th street in Northwest OKC. It is one of the 5 most important primary races in the state. Winningham, while young, is a bonafide conservative. Mr. Nelson may be a nice fellow but he perfectly fits the profile of a "Republican Groupie." Defined as someone interested in politics at an early age but never develops a conservative ideology. Therefore, he gets stars in his eyes when around Republican office holders and powerful people. He is willing to labor to serve them but without a conservative ideology he serves the moderate and liberal Republicans such as Frank Keating, Bob Dole and Krik Humphreys, all the while thinking they are conservative! Then he becomes a lobbyist for the millionaire-billionaire owners of the Sonics to twist the arms of lawmakers to give the team owners a $60 to $100 million subsidy over the next 15 years. Now he wants to hold office, and surprise, Nelson has received money from Sonics owner Clay Bennett. Maybe the thinking is, if you can get your "puppet on a string" elected you won’t need to spend so much on lobbyists in the future. In addition, Nelson has received $2,500 from Tulsa’s liberal Republican Howard Barnett who, until recently was on the board of directors of Planned Parenthood. He has even received money from the lobbyist, Pat Hall, former head of the Democrat party. The choice is clear, vote for Andrew Winningham, not Jason Nelson
State House #91 - Mike Reynolds: This race in Southwest OKC is the most important primary in the State. Mike Reynolds has done more to clean up corruption and expose the powerful elites who try to control and use government for their personal benefit than anyone else in the state. Some of these powerful forces are behind Mr. Echols. I have had several conversations with Mr. Echols and believe he is a bonafide conservative. However, as I have expressed to him, can he be independent of those powerful forces? The voters would be foolish to take a chance on this race. Why replace the best lawmaker in the House (voted 3 times as lawmaker of the year by OCPAC members) by a young man that should run 6 years from now after Reynolds is term limited.
State House #96 - Mike Idleman: This was Lance Cargil’s seat which runs from East Edmond through Harrah and parts of Choctaw. OCPAC endorsed Idleman by the slim margin of 2 votes. Both of these candidates need to develop their conservatism.
State House #98 - John Newhouse: This Broken Arrow seat is currently held by John Trebilcock, who was arrested on a DUI within the past 2 years. Trebilcock is a moderate Republican who is problematic when it comes to education reform. Newhouse is a conservative running for all the right reasons.
While these opinions are mine and not necessarily those of OCPAC, if you would like to receive the weekly OCPAC e-mail, notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org.