Editorial: First let me say, this is my own opinion and not a position of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Ccommittee, in fact OCPAC does not endorse for such a race. In addition, many of my friends and fellow conservatives will disagree with me; however, I believe that will be the result of strong personal relationships with Amanda Teegarden, rather than an evaluation of the two candidates for the State Republican Chairman. Let me explain why I am picking my friend David Weston over my friend Amanda.
When Amanda called me on Monday, April 1st to tell me she was going to run for the Republican State Chairman’s position and wanted to make the public announcement during the candidate forum at OCPAC two days later, I knew it was going to be a difficult situation for me. I have known both Amanda and David for about the same amount of time, consider both of them to be friends and respect both of them for their respective efforts to make Oklahoma a better place. Following the forum at OCPAC on Wednesday, I was determined to NOT make an endorsement for chairman and knew I would have to wrestle with a decision as how to vote at the state convention on April 20th.
However, I spent a good deal of Wednesday night tossing about the race and decided to lay my friendships aside and actually evaluate these two candidates. David has the greater amount of state party experience as he has served as the finance officer under 2 different state chairmen and thus really knows the workings of the state party. In addition he has also worked as a consultant in 2 high profile campaigns, first that of James Lankford and second, the race last year where Jim Bridenstine successfully unseated the incumbent John Sullivan and then went on to win big in the general election. Amanda is a co-founder and the executive director of OK-SAFE, she is also one of the finest researchers I know. I believe David has an advantage when it comes to administration and an ability to try and work with the many factions within the Republican party, whereas, Amanda’s strengths are more oriented toward policy. I believe the job of party chairman is about 80% administration and 20% policy.
While, I generally agree with Amanda on policy, this is the most important reason I gladly endorse David over Amanda. Please let me explain a possible way for others to evaluate these two candidates.
Last year we had 6 state questions on the ballot, I am going to discuss 3 of them and then ask you to ask yourself, how you voted on these 3 questions?
1) I supported the question which was designed to eliminate affirmative action policies in state government hiring practices and college admission standards in Oklahoma. Ask yourself how did you vote on that issue? Even though eliminating affirmative action has long been a part of the Republican party platform, Amanda opposed the question, basically because it wasn’t a perfect measure.
2) I supported the measure to reduce the annual amount property taxes could increase from the maximum of a 5% increase to no more than an increase of 3% (this does not apply to school bond increases). Ask yourself how did you stand on that issue, Amanda opposed the issue.
3) I supported the question to eliminate all intangible property from being subjected to property taxation. That was a very important and strong pro business measure. Ask yourself if you supported that state question? Amanda opposed it.
Every Monday morning the Republican party state chairman is on the Ried Mullins radio show on KTOK 1000 AM as the voice of the Republican party doing debate with Ben Odom, the spokesman for the Democrat party. Had Amanda been our chairman at that time she would have been on radio agreeing with the Democrat positions and opposing our platform which has for a long time opposed affirmative action, opposed increasing taxes and in principle our platform supports tax cuts.
Amanda’s positions were different from those of our most conservative Republican lawmakers, different from the positions taken by David Weston, and vice chairman candidates, Richard Engle, Denise Crosswhite Hader and Sara Jo Odom (listed in alphabetic order), I know as I have polled all of them since our forum.
Also, all 3 of these issues have been a part of the conservative index. In other words, Amanda was seriously out of step with the Republican party. As such, I believe she should not be elected as our state chairman, David is far better suited for the position as he will work better with the broad range of factions within the party and be more successful in raising finances.
Amanda does a great job in research and I would strongly support her if she decided to run for a legislative seat. In that position, information she could provide to colleagues would far outweigh any time she might over analyze a few issues and take the wrong positions on such.