Patrick B. McGuigan
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The latter stages of the Fifth Congressional District contest have turned even more contentious than customary for current politics – and that’s saying a lot.
An independent expenditure has assailed state Senator Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma City on a few issues. The national group bashing Bice put her in the same category as one of the most despised human beings in the world, a film-maker whose treatment of women is a deserved focus of scorn.
The negative television ads are aimed at persuading voters in Tuesday’s Republican primary for the Fifth District Congressional seat now held by a Democrat.
The ad’s attempt to tie her to that atrocious fellow is distressing to many, given that Bice has never, ever, been seen as soft on sex crimes. In fact, she has been a leader in nuanced criminal justice reforms aimed at reducing prison/jail overcrowding without weakening strict punishments for sex crimes.
In a statement and interactions with reporters on Saturday (June 27), Bice said the new attacks are “more laughable than the first. The first time they linked me to a convicted rapist who preyed on women. This time they want you to believe that because I supported Carly Fiorina in the 2016 presidential primary that I don’t support President Trump. It’s laughable. I support President Trump.”
The outside group’s advertising seems intended to benefit business woman Terry Neese. That’s interesting because both Bice and Neese backed businesswoman Carly Fiorina in the 2016 presidential campaign, and both are Trump supporters in the here and now.
Bice observed, “This same group spent millions of dollars attacking President Trump during the 2016 presidential election – the phrase “Never Trump” was coined to describe them and their leaders. They continue their sexist attacks against me because they think Oklahomans are clueless. We’re not.
“Earlier this week, when the sexist Harvey Weinstein ad appeared, I asked my fellow candidates, particularly the other female candidates to join me in denouncing it. They didn’t.
“[Saturday,] I called Terry Neese and asked her to join me [at a press availability] in denouncing this ad. I thought she would want to do it because Terry was the National Finance Chair for Carly Fiorina and Carly has actually endorsed Terry in this race. She did not respond.”
Bice concludes that, for Neese, “Sexist attacks are ok, if they aren’t happening to you.”
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James Taylor is a long-shot candidate in the Fourth Congressional District. He is taking on an incumbent who has held the seat for 18 years.
Taylor is an Oklahoma City public school school teacher of history, meaning he is a hero deserving of consideration. He and his wife pastor a Norman church. He is ardently pro-life, a defender of the U.S. Constitution, and a critic of high taxation.
The City Sentinel newspaper (where I am publisher) observed in an endorsement editorial, “Bottom line for taxpayers: In James Taylor, You’ve got a friend.”
That missive continued, “Taylor is challenging an incumbent who has served for decades. He has become an increasing part of the flawed bipartisan consensus in the nation’s capital city.
“Further, the incumbent member of Congress is a reliable ally of the dominant Big Tribes, in which leaders have insisted on protected monopoly status, squeezing out the economic options of the state’s smaller tribal nations.
“This endorsement is not driven by the incumbent’s failings, but by the challenger’s merits.”
He is African-American, and active with the Frederick Douglass Foundation, among other things. James Taylor is an interesting alternative, in a decidedly interesting year.
Tom Guild, a friend since the days he was a Republican and a professor at University of Central Oklahoma, took a turn to the left a couple of decades ago – and then another turn to the left.
He is seeking the Democratic party nod in the Fifth Congressional District, wanting to replace incumbent U.S. Representative Kendra Horn, whose victory in 2018 was one of the most jarring in the country for the Grand Old Party.
In emailed press releases, Guild has attacked Rep. Horn for scattered votes he deems insufficiently liberal.
A few days ago, he slammed her as “one of the tiny band of Democrats voting against raising the wage for hard working Americans.” He also slammed her for a vote against U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine’s push to limit the president’s powers as commander-in-chief. That measure was vetoed, and the veto was sustained.
For her part, Horn has stayed calm and focused on securing her party’s nod for a second term. She is holding townhalls, discussions with voters and is responsive to constituent service requests.
Although hers is considered one of the top potential seats pick-up or regain in the nation, she is well-positioned for another term. Republicans will have to choose a good nominee and unite around the final choice, and even then Rep. Horn might win in November.