The 2012 Oklahoma Conservative Index
After taking suggestions from many from many conservatives leaders, the staff of the Oklahoma Constitution submitted bills to a vote of the membership of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC) for recommendations of the ten key votes.
The Top Conservative and Top Liberal legislators were selected by their scores on the Index. Making the Top Conservatives list were those lawmakers who scored 80%, or better. On the Top Liberals list were those who made 20%, or less.
THE TOP CONSERVATIVES
Six legislators scored a perfect 100% conservative rating this year. House members scoring 100% included Elise Hall, Charles Key, and Sally Kern of Oklahoma City, Jason Murphey (Guthrie) and Tom Newell (Seminole). Anthony Sykes of Moore was the lone senator with a perfect 100% score.
The next highest score was a 93% by Sen. Mike Mazzei of Bixby. Scoring 90% were House members Marian Cooksey (Edmond), David Derby (Owasso), George Faught (Muskogee), Dennis Johnson (Duncan), Pam Peterson (Tulsa), Sean Roberts (Hominy), Colby Schwartz (Yukon), T. W. Shannon (Lawton), and Paul Wesselhoft of Moore. In the Senate, Greg Treat of Edmond also scored 90%.
Scoring 83% were House members Gary Banz (Midwest City), Randy Grau (Edmond), Tommy Hardin (Madill), Dan Kirby (Tulsa), Mark McCullough (Sapulpa), Randy McDaniel (Edmond), and Randy Terrill of Moore.
Rounding out the list of Top Conservatives, with scores of 80%, were Lee Denney (Cushing), and Louis Moore (Arcadia) in the House, and senators Rick Brinkley (Owasso), Ralph Shortey (Oklahoma City), and Gary Stanislawski (Tulsa).
One legislator scored zero conservative this year, Constance Johnson (Oklahoma City) of the Senate. Those who could only score a dismal 10% included Mike Shelton (Oklahoma City), of the House and senators Richard Lerblance (Hartshorne), Al McAffrey (Oklahoma City), and Jim Wilson of Tahlequah. Scoring only 16% was House member Emily Virgin of Norman.
Tom Adelson (Tulsa) of the Senate rated 19% conservative, and scoring 20% to round out the Top Liberals list were Jabar Shumate of Tulsa in the House, and senators Roger Ballenger of Okmulgee and Judy Eason McIntyre of Tulsa.
A description of the bills used for this year's ratings, a complete list of the all legislators with their vote on each of the ten bills, their total score for this year, and their Cumulative Average including scores from any previous years, is found by clicking the box labeled "How conservative is your legislator?" at the upper right corner of our home page.
We will be publishing the 2012 Oklahoma Conservative Index in our summer edition at the end of July as we have for the past 33 years. In past election years, our summer edition was in circulation before the Primary Elections. However, due to changes in election dates, that will not be possible.
The deadline to file for office in 2012 was in April, over one month earlier than in past elections. Legislation which passed the Oklahoma Legislature last year, shifted several election dates in order to comply with provisions of the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act passed by Congress in 2009. The federal bill requires states to provide absentee ballots to military and other overseas voters 45 days before an election. Shifting the dates of the candidate filing period and the elections provides the necessary time to prepare absentee ballots and send them to overseas voters. Oklahoma's Primary Election date will be the last Tuesday in June, instead of the last week in July. For the 2012 election, the date will be June 26. For those seats in which no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the Runoff Primary Election will be held on the last Tuesday of August. The date for 2012 will be August 28. The General Election will be unaffected and will be November 6.
It was not possible to prepare the 2012 Conservative Index in time for our spring edition since the Legislature does not complete their session until the end of May. Indeed, many of the critical votes do not occur until the closing weeks of the session. In prior years we allocated about six weeks to prepare the ratings, but have compress the time frame in order to score the legislators and post the scores on our website prior to the Primary Election.