2016 OCA Endorsing Convention Wrap-up

The members of the Oklahoma Conservative Assembly (OCA) met on May 21 in Norman to evaluate candidates for the upcoming 2016 Republican primaries. In addition to all statewide and congressional seats, members voted on a number of local and state legislative races. Most OCA members and attendees live in the Moore-Norman area, with others driving from surrounding counties, and these were the areas focused on. Republican candidates in contested primaries for State House and Senate seats in Grady, McClain, Cleveland, Pottawatomie, and Seminole Counties were invited, along with Cleveland County candidates, and candidates for the 4th and 5th Congressional Districts. This was the fifth such convention that OCA has held since 2006, and an endorsement requires a candidate to receive the support of 2/3 of the voting OCA members.

On the first ballot, members endorsed the following candidates:

  • US Senate: James Lankford (incumbent, Edmond)
  • US House, 1st District: Jim Bridenstine (incumbent, Tulsa)
  • US House, 4th District: James Taylor (challenger, Norman)
  • US House, 5th District: Frank Volpe (challenger, Harrah)
  • Corporation Commission: Dana Murphy (incumbent, Edmond)
  • State Senate, Dist. 15: Rob Standridge (incumbent, Norman)
  • State Senate, Dist. 45: Kyle Loveless (incumbent, Oklahoma City)
  • State House, Dist. 28: Tom Newell (incumbent, Seminole)
  • State House, Dist. 54: Kevin West (open seat, Moore)
  • State House, Dist. 91: Chris Kannady (incumbent, Oklahoma City)
  • Cleveland County Sheriff: Leon Sugg (challenger, Norman)

On the second ballot, members endorsed the following candidates:

  • US House, Dist. 2: Jarrin Jackson (challenger, Claremore)
  • State Senate, Dist. 23: Kevin Crow (open seat, Chickasha)
  • State Senate, Dist. 43: Paul Scott (challenger, Duncan)
  • State House, Dist. 27: Josh Cockroft (incumbent, Wanette)

On the third ballot, members endorsed Mike Reynolds of Oklahoma City for the open position of Cleveland County Court Clerk.

The convention began with a welcome by OCA President Jared Byrns, an invocation by OCA Treasurer-Chaplain John Greening, and the singing of the National Anthem by guest musician Robert New. State Senator Anthony Sykes of Moore, after being well received by participants at the 2014 convention, served as keynote speaker for the convention. Sykes and State Rep. Paul Wesselhöft were recognized for their exemplary service in the legislature when OCA Board Members Steve Byas and Kathy McBlair presented awards on behalf of the OCA Board. (Wesselhöft was unable to attend.) Candidate presentations began, and each candidate was given 10 minutes to speak and field questions. OCA Vice President Mark Hamm concluded the meeting by recognizing other candidates and officials in attendance.

Kyle Loveless and Kevin West both earned the unanimous support of OCA members on the first ballot, a feat only accomplished twice before: by Sykes in 2010 and Wesselhöft in 2014. Many of the comments after the convention surrounded the surprising result of the vote on State Senate District 15, which was expected to be close; instead, on the first ballot incumbent Senator Rob Standridge received all but one of the votes (which was cast for “no endorsement”). Many delegates expressed that they had been surprised and swayed by what they perceived as his challenger’s open support of Gov. Mary Fallin‘s recent veto of a major pro-life bill authored by State Senator Nathan Dahm.

OCA members considered but declined to endorse candidates for the 3rd Congressional District; State Senate Districts 13 and 17; or State House Districts 20, 26, 42, 45, 46, 51, and 53. Some of these unendorsed races may be reconsidered at future OCA meetings if more information on the candidates becomes available.

Straw Poll Results (straw poll results are not directly tied to endorsements)

An asterisk (*) indicates the incumbent.

United States Senate
James Lankford (Edmond)* – 72%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 28%

United States Representative, Dist. 1
Tom Atkinson (Tulsa) – 0%
Jim Bridenstine (Tulsa)* – 87%
Evelyn L. Rogers (Tulsa) – 0%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 13%

United States Representative, Dist. 2
Jarrin Jackson (Claremore) – 55%
Markwayne Mullin (Westville)* – 23%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 22%

United States Representative, Dist. 3
Desiree Brown (Hennessey) – 36%
Frank Lucas (Cheyenne)* – 32%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 32%

United States Representative, Dist. 4
Tom Cole (Moore)* – 10%
Shawn M. Roberts (Lawton) – 0%
James Taylor (Norman) – 90%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 0%

United States Representative, Dist. 5
Steve Russell (Choctaw)* – 21%
Frank Volpe (Harrah) – 79%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 0%

Corporation Commissioner
Dana Murphy (Edmond)* – 74%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 26%

State Senate, Dist. 13
Shawn Howard (Ada) – 0%
Greg McCortney (Ada) – 19%
Jet McCoy (Ada) – 29%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 52%

State Senate, Dist. 15
Edward C. Maguire (Norman) – 7%
Rob Standridge (Norman)* – 71%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 22%

State Senate, Dist. 17
Brooke McGowan (Choctaw) – 37%
Ron Sharp (Shawnee)* – 32%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 31%

State Senate, Dist. 23
Kevin Crow (Chickasha) – 65%
Lonnie Paxton (Tuttle) – 27%
Matt Stacy (Blanchard) – 0%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 8%

State Senate, Dist. 43
Corey D. Brooks (Washington)* – 33%
Paul Scott (Duncan) – 39%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 28%

State Senate, Dist. 45
Kyle D. Loveless (Oklahoma City)* – 96%
Mike Mason (Mustang) – 0%
Houston Wells (Oklahoma City) – 0%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 4%

State House, Dist. 20
Bobby Cleveland (Lexington)* – 59%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 41%

State House, Dist. 26
Dell Kerbs (Shawnee) – 27%
Sterling Alexander Springer (Shawnee) – 6%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 67%

State House, Dist. 27
Trey Baker (Tecumseh) – 20%
Josh Cockroft (Wanette)* – 50%
Lynn Medford (Norman) – 5%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 25%

State House, Dist. 28
Tom Newell (Seminole)* – 60%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 40%

State House, Dist. 42
Tim Downing (Purcell) – 63%
Jim Beckham (Lindsay) – 0%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 37%

State House, Dist. 45
Marc Etters (Norman) – 72%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 28%

State House, Dist. 46
Marilyn K. Goll (Noble) – 23%
Scott Martin (Norman)* – 45%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 32%

State House, Dist. 51
Scott R. Biggs (Chickasha)* – 55%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 45%

State House, Dist. 53
Mark McBride (Moore)* – 60%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 40%

State House, Dist. 54
Kevin West (Moore) – 96%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 4%

State House, Dist. 91
Chris Kannady (Oklahoma City)* – 81%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 19%

Cleveland Co. Court Clerk
Mike Reynolds (Oklahoma City) – 50%
Cynde Robertson (Noble) – 18%
Marilyn Williams (Oklahoma City) – 19%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 13%

Cleveland Co. Sheriff
Joe Lester (Norman)* – 17%
Leon Sugg (Norman) – 76%
No Endorsement/None of the above – 7%

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