Ethics Commission to air campaign finance ideas in Tulsa

Ethics Commission to air campaign finance ideas in Tulsa

Ethics Commission to air campaign finance ideas in Tulsa

Heavy lifting: The Oklahoma Ethics Commission has formalized three task forces to study campaign finance reforms. These include eliminating independent expenditures from out-of-state sources, raising reporting thresholds, allowing unlimited transfers from parties to candidates, and coordination between candidates and other entities.

The task forces plan to receive public input from across the state, with the first session scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Learning Center, Room 221.

Bedmates: Such things are hard to measure, but the consensus seems to be that Gov. Kevin Stitt’s involvement last week helped tip several Senate primaries.

Among them, he helped incumbents Michael Bergstrom and Casey Murdock fend off strong challenges, Brian Guthrie win an open seat in south Tulsa and Jonathan Wingard unseat Senate President Pro Tem-elect Greg McCortney.

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Another Stitt-backed candidate, Dr. Julie McIntosh, is in an Aug. 27 runoff against incumbent Blake “Cowboy” Stephens.

Not all of Stitt’s candidates won. West Tulsa County’s Cody Rogers and Lawton’s Rick Wolfe both lost, but by narrower margins than some expected.

University of Oklahoma political scientist Mike Crespin said the strength of endorsements, in most cases, is hard to measure.

“They tend to count around the edges,” he said, “but a lot of these races have been decided around the edges.”

He also noted that Stitt’s message of working against incumbents is pretty clear.

“If I want to stay in office and I don’t want a primary challenger, I better go with the governor,” Crespin said.

There is a possible catch. Stitt is effectively a lame duck after this election. By the next election in 2026, his leverage numbers will be greatly reduced. And when the state senators he endorsed this year come up for election in 2028, he will be out of office for two years.

Back to work: The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services said last week it was able to reopen job training and employment services for a category of job seekers with significant disabilities known as Priority Group 2.

Group 2 is an intermediate level between the most severely disabled, for whom services reopened in February 2023, and those considered least disabled.

Reducing ODRS waiting lists has been a priority for lawmakers for years, but budget constraints brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have slowed progress.

But who’s counting: Tulsa-area lawmakers scored high and low on the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy report card.

Sen. Dave Rader, Dem. of Tulsa, Sen. JoAnna Dossett, Dem. of Tulsa and Rep. Suzanne Schreiber, D-Tulsa, were among the 15 lawmakers tied with 105 points each.

In last place was Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, with 28 points.

Campaigns and elections: U.S. Sen. James Lankford told Politico that he is not one of the contenders for a position in Oklahoma’s 2026 Republican gubernatorial primary, despite widespread rumors to the contrary.

“I laugh and say, ‘I don’t know who the sources are, but they’re not actually from me or my family,’” Lankford said. “This is fake news.”

  • After winning the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary last week, Dennis Baker has summed up his campaign message against heavily favored Republican incumbent Kevin Hern.

“Kevin Hern wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security, privatize Medicare and end efforts to raise the minimum wage. I do not. The choice is clear,” Baker said.

  • Incumbent Creek County Commissioner Leon Warner lost Tuesday’s Republican primary to challenger Zac Moore by 14 votes, 695-681.

Final score: Stitt signed 488 bills and vetoed 32 during the legislative session that just ended.

Foreign correspondent: Stitt will be in Washington on Tuesday for the SelectUSA Investment Summit, a federally sponsored conference to encourage foreign investment in the US.

Stitt is among several governors scheduled to participate in a discussion titled “Workforce Development for the Clean Energy Era.”

Meetings and events: Candidates on the Aug. 27 ballot will be introduced to the Tulsa County Republican Men’s Club at 11 a.m. July 10 at Oklahoma Joe’s, 6075 E. 61st St. Non-members are welcome.

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