Pictured: Charlie Meadows
Why Governor Stitt May Not Win Re-election
Therefore the question begs for an answer as to why this race is so close, since Stitt won with a comfortable margin in 2018. In that race he won against a long time Democrat power broker that had served as the State Attorney’s General for many years. This is also somewhat puzzling as Oklahoma has faired fairly well over these past four years in comparison to other states.
I would suggest the Governor is having a difficult time because he is supporting good policies in the face of powerful special interests that no longer like him on the one hand, and he has made a lot of boneheaded rookie mistakes in the political realm on the other hand.
The two most powerful special interests in Oklahoma are the teacher unions with their growing number of radicalized teachers, and the tribes which have become more influential than the trial lawyers. Four years ago these two groups weren’t as hostile toward then candidate Stitt as they are now toward Governor Stitt.
Four years ago Stitt did not campaign on the concept of educational freedom by empowering parents with the means to provide the best education for their own kids. One of the best appointments made by the governor has been that of Ryan Walters for Secretary of Education, which has led Walters to become the Republican candidate to replace Joy Hoffmiester as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Both Stitt and Walters are wanting Oklahoma to be the best state in the union for educational choice, whether that be through educational scholarships or vouchers. In addition, both Stitt and Walters home educate their own children. Children educated at home or in private schools, on average, have far better outcomes than children trapped in our government schools.
This terrifies the teacher union bosses as the comparison threatens to expose what a poor job they have done for many years now. This is particularly true in the large cities as parents are less satisfied with their school districts than those in the rural areas. Therefore, the teacher union bosses have done all they can to build opposition toward these two candidates. Eight years ago the union bosses had turned the teachers against Janet Barresi because of her push toward accountability and school choice and they got behind their puppet, Joy Hoffmiester, who recently switched to the Democrat party to run against Governor Stitt.
In the past, the greatest opposition to educational freedom has come from the rural parts of the state. This is because the union bosses, the members of the State School Boards Association and others that oppose efficiencies and seek power and wealth, go into defense mode and fabricate wild speculations of doom, gloom and the death of rural communities if school choice ever came about.
We hear the same old arguments about wanting to take money from our rural school children and send that money to the big metro areas. Truth is, there have been school choice bills introduced in the past that would actually increase school funding in rural areas and those pieces of legislation were still opposed. Truth is, the members of the government school cabal care more about funding failed systems rather than allowing a good education for our children!
Perhaps the more fierce opposition to the Governor is coming from the tribes, especially the Cherokee tribe of which Stitt is actually an enrolled member. Absolutely, at no fault of his own, Stitt got off to a rocky start with the tribes. To understand the problem we need to go back to when Brad Henry was running for his second term for Governor. In exchange for support from the tribes, the Henry administration negotiated a sweetheart deal for the tribes to build casinos.
When Class 2 gaming was approved by the voters, anyone could build a casino. However, the tribes wanted a monopoly on casino gambling so they “compacted” with the state for those monopoly rights. In the compact, the tribes agreed to pay the State a percentage of the proceeds for the next 15 years in exchange for the monopoly rights. The deal was to be renegotiated at the end of 15 years. However, Brad Henry put a poison pill in the compact which basically said, if through negotiations the State and the tribes can’t agree on a new compact, the old compact will continue for another 15 years. That gave the tribes a huge and unfair advantage over the State.
So when Stitt took office, he realized Oklahoma had the second largest number of casinos of any state, but we didn’t even rank in the top 10 states for the amount of revenues paid to the State in exchange for the tribes having a monopoly on casino gambling. Stitt knew Oklahoma was getting ripped off by the tribes and he simply tried to negotiate a fair deal, but the tribes weren’t going to give an inch. Stitt lost all of his court challenges and many of the folks in Oklahoma bought into the false assumption that Stitt was mistreating the tribes.
The problems intensified when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the McGirt decision which furthered the power of the tribes and weakened the hand of the State. Governor Stitt and his newly appointed Attorney General have done all they can to have the Supreme Court overturn or modify the negative effects upon the State of Oklahoma.
Of course Governor Stitt’s efforts to put things on an even keel and treat all Oklahoman’s fairly have infuriated the tribes. For anyone reading this article and others written by me over the past 25 years, you will understand just how uninterested the tribes are in seeing things on an even keel and treating all Oklahomans fairly. After a great deal of research, I realized the tribes declared war upon the State many years ago for full control of the State of Oklahoma.
Governor Stitt stands in the way of their efforts and as such they are spending many millions of dollars in an attempt to destroy and defeat him. They did the same thing to successfully defeat John O’Connor, whom Stitt appointed as Attorney General upon the resignation of Mike Hunter. The tribes were successful in taking out O’Conner, the question is will they be successful in defeating Governor Stitt?
Stitt’s final problem is a result of the Governor being a political rookie and therefore making stupid political mistakes. For example, when the latest round of Turnpike expansions were announced, rather than letting that announcement be made and promoted by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Stitt jumped out front touting its virtues. The expansion in the Norman area has hundreds of residents and others up in arms, many of whom may have voted for him four years ago, but are angry at him now.
At the end of this year’s regular legislative session Stitt vetoed tax cut legislation because he wanted different tax cuts, but he ended up getting nothing. He touts $2.6 billion in savings, but in reality those are taxpayer dollars he is storing away. We should ask, just how much of our Oklahoman taxpayer dollars will you be satisfied with before you stop storing ever more of our dollars? Dollars we might need for inflation relief or other purposes!
Many folks don’t like the hundreds of millions he wanted and got to incentivise a foreign corporation to relocate to an area of Oklahoma which will benefit a small number of people at the expense of the majority of Oklahoman’s in other parts of the state. Could it be the false narrative of the climate change crowd that motivates Stitt to build electric cars and car batteries in Oklahoma? This would eventually come at the expense of our oil and gas industry.
Another example, I live in the newly redistricted Senate District 28. In the Republican primary runoff it came down to Jeff McCommas, an honest man, a serious Christian and a man that hates corruption, vs Grant Green, a man the opposite of Mr. McCommas. Three or so weeks before the primary runoff, Governor Stitt asked for a meeting with McCommas. At some point he told Jeff he had not seen a candidate with a grasp of the issues like Jeff, and if the four million people in Oklahoma had the understanding Jeff did, we could make Oklahoma a top 10 state in no time. He told Jeff he would do what he could behind the scenes to help him win. Jeff told him thanks, but he needed his public endorsement. Stitt told Jeff he would have to think about that. On the Thursday or Friday before the election, oversized post cards began to arrive at voters homes with Stitt’s endorsement of the bad guy, Grant Green. I can only speculate as to why. It seems like one of the Governors friends and a big time campaign money bundler is related to Mr. Green. It looks like one of the Governor’s big donors got to him and convinced him to endorse the bad guy.
That endorsement likely made the difference with Green beating McCommas. I had worked very hard for McCommas and contributed limited funds to him. I was infuriated with Stitt and planned on not voting for him. There were also a lot of conservative organizations that had supported Jeff, and Stitt’s endorsement was a slap in the face to those organizations. So you can understand what a boneheaded mistake that was. Also, Green is against school choice while McCommas favored such. Does Stitt not know he will never get to sign a school choice bill if it can’t get to his desk because of No votes that would come from someone like Green?
I don’t know if Mr. McCommas can bring himself to vote for Stitt or not? I have decided I will vote for him, only because he is the less bad of the candidates. By the way, he endorsed the wrong Republicans in both Senate District 12 and Senate District 26. Will those conservative candidates that were on the wrong side of Stitt’s endorsement bring themselves to vote for him? Will their relatives, close friends and supporters vote for the Governor? I don’t know, I hope they will because Stitt is truly the less bad of the choices. If Stitt weren’t such a boneheaded rookie, he would have stayed out of those races and might not be in such a close race.
Charlie Meadows is the founder and former president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC). He now holds the title of President Emeritus. He may be contacted at: email@example.com