On this week’s edition of Capitol Report, Patrick B. McGuigan said he was “delighted” at voter passage of twin criminal justice reforms – State Questions 780 and 781, and disappointed in popular defeat of S.Q. 790, which aimed to excise archaic anti-religion language from the state Constitution. However, he noted that state Sen. Joseph Silk in far southeast Oklahoma was apparently helped by his support of 790.
Concerning State Question 776, McGuigan said it was unwise to enshrine its provisions in the state Constitution. In some respects the most intriguing ballot results was that the two most expensive pro-campaigns (for S.Q. 777, the right-to-farm measure, and S.Q. 779, the 1 cent sales tax hike for teacher pay) each failed. Turning to legislative elections, Republicans raced from 70 House members to 75 on election day, while Democrats fell to only 26 members.
The CapitolBeatOK editor reflected he “would not want to be speaker” of such a large caucus. Republicans already had at least three “parties” in the House and “now it might be more like four.” For the all the challenges of governing such a fractious GOP caucus, McGuigan said that Governor Mary Fallin’s new chief of staff (former House Speaker Chris Benge) might be able to help the chief executive improve legislative relations.
In dialogue with Alex Cameron, lead reporter and a frequent anchor for News9, the CBS News affiliate in Oklahoma City, McGuigan welcomed the end of the lenthy and divisive presidential election. He recalled that on election night, one Fox News analyst pointed to exit poll data showing that a majority of American voters believed neither major party candidate was qualified for the presidency, and that neither was temperamentally suited to govern.
In the end, of those holding both beliefs about the contenders, 70 percent supported Donald Trump, according to that analyst. Throughout the campaign, the CapitolBeat editor opposed Trump’s nomination and his election to the presidency, he said, “because I believed, and still believe, he is an existential threat to the future of the Republican Party.” However, McGuigan said in the November 12 segment for News9, Trump won the Electoral College because he convinced enough Americans that Hillary Clinton was “a threat to the future of the country.”