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Conservative group is now backing GOP primary candidates in five Southern states
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics.com
OKLAHOMA CITY (CFP) — Former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon has picked up an endorsement from the Senate Conservatives Fund in his Republican U.S. Senate primary battle with U.S. Rep. James Lankford.
Matt Hoskins, the SCF’s executive director, says his group is backing Shannon because he “is a constitutional conservative who will fight to stop the massive spending and debt that are bankrupting our country.”
“Shannon believes in the principles of freedom that make this country great and will stand up to the big spenders in both parties to balance the budget and stop Obamacare,” Hoskins says.
Shannon, 35, from Lawton, is an African-American and also an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation. A one-time aide to former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, Shannon rocketed to prominence in state politics, becoming speaker just six years after being elected in 2006.
Lankford, 45, represents much of metro Oklahoma City in the House, In just his second term in Congress, he was elected head of the House Republican Policy Committee, the fifth highest position in the House GOP leadership.
That insider resume has drawn fire from some Tea Party and conservative groups who have been rallying around Shannon as a challenger.
However, Shannon will have competition for the Tea Party vote from former State Senator Randy Brogdon, who jumped out of Oklahoma’s governor’s race and into the Senate race after U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn announced he would resign at the end of the year.
In addition to Oklahoma and Kentucky, the SCF is backing candidates in Republican Senate primaries in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Given the Sooner State’s strong Republican tilt, the GOP nominee will be the prohibitive favorite in November. The lone Democrat is the race is former State Senator Kenneth Corn, his party’s unsuccessful nominee for lieutenant governor in 2010.
Former State Senator Randy Brogdon wants rematch with Fallin, who beat him in 2010
♦By Rich Shumate, Chickenfriedpolitics editor
OKLAHOMA CITY (CFP) — GOP Governor Mary Fallin will face a primary challenge from former State Senator Randy Brogdon, a Tea Party favorite touting himself as the “constitutional conservative” in the race.
“We are in the fight of our lives for liberty, and I feel morally obligated to lead that fight on behalf of Oklahoma families,” Brogdon said in launching his campaign Web site on Chirstmas Day.
“My promise as governor is to protect Oklahoma families from the overreach of federal and state government and to restore your God-given unalienable rights of life, liberty and property,” he said.
Brogdon, 60, the former mayor of Owasso in suburban Tulsa, served two terms in the Oklahoma Senate from 2002 to 2010. He gave up his seat to run for governor, finishing second to Fallin in the Republican primary with 39 percent of the vote.
During that campaign, Brogdon made national headlines after he was linked to a proposal from some Oklahoma Tea Party activists to create a volunteer state militia to resist federal power.
Under fire from fellow Republicans, Brogdon insisted he was only expressing support for a provision in the state’s constitution that allows for creation of such a force to help during emergencies.
“If you’re talking about having a state guard to march on Washington, D.C., of course not,” Brogdon told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in an interview at the time.
Fallin, 59, was elected as the Sooner State’s first female governor in 2010, after serving two terms in the U.S. House, representing the 5th District, which takes in much of metro Oklahoma City. She announced back in October that she would seek a second term.
A month later, Fallin ordered state-owned National Guard facilities to stop processing appplications for spousal benefits, in definance of the U.S. military’s directive to extend benefits to same-sex couples. The decision means that military spouses — both gay and straight — must travel to federal facilities to apply for their benefits.
Oklahoma voters outlawed same-sex marriage in a 2004 ballot initiative. Fallin said her decision “protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people.”
In December, Fallin racheted up the anti-federal rhetoric by ordering state education officials not to allow their federal counterparts to have any input in developing the state’s educational standards.
Two Democrats have filed to run for governor — State Representative Joe Dorman from Rush Springs and RJ Harris, a Norman attorney who ran unsuccessfully for Congress as a Republican in 2010 and as an independent in 2012. He was also an unsuccessful candidate for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2012.