Last weekend, the Oklahoma Republican Party(OKGOP) held their biennial convention and election of new leadership. The week began with two candidates for state chair. On Monday night, the last major candidate forum was held by 3 county GOP organizations.
Sitting in the audience was Senator Nathan Dahm. Nathan knew his announcement was going to be made the next morning. But he waited. He listened. He said nothing to the crowd or the audience watching on live social media streams.
Before the week ended, he was the winner of the race, on the 2nd round balloting.
How did that happen?
As the religious right came to appreciate Dahm's legislative efforts, he was repeatedly reelected, and is now completing his final term in office. Now married and starting a family, Dahm is looking to new horizons in public life.
The End of AJ Farate
But the state conventions have been heavily populated by passionate advocates of causes like abolishing all abortions, ending all firearms restrictions, advancing spiritual influences in our culture, and restoring healthcare freedoms in the covid era. More importantly, the Trump MAGA Republicans completely control the party.
Farate delivered on
- restoring the fiscal house, with his fundraising;
- assisting the GOP nominees to strong wins in statewide races; and
- reconnecting with county GOP organizations.
The Warrior/Maiden Letters
About 3 weeks ago, The Maiden letters turned pointedly negative at Roberts, while promoting a rumor that Senator Nathan Dahm will eventually enter the race. Dahm did not respond to our early inquiries when SoonerPolitics reached out to his office.
Former Mayor, Brian Hobbs, took the role of campaign volunteer for the Roberts campaign. His investigators uncovered the original email address of the Maiden letters. Through a password reset attempt, Hobbs says he was asked to enter the mobile phone number associated with the yahoo email account When Farate's listed cell number was entered, Hobbs says "it confirmed a positive match".
We have not seen a public statement from Farate where he refutes the Hobbs investigation.
More 'Maiden' letters were sent, repeating the claim that Dahm will enter the race very late. The Maiden letters quit focusing on the Farate option, and instead focused on salacious court records of both Hobbs & Roberts. It was obvious that the strategy was to promote a Dahm option and trash the Roberts option.
Farate never really showed any campaign form at the convention. He succeeded in putting on an efficient convention, and seemed to focus on that.
Roberts chose former Chair, John Bennett, to nominate him. That may have been a mistake. Bennett is seen by many of his former supporters as a failure and bad administrator.
In the first round of Balloting, Farate only carried 16% of the vote. That's the worst defeat of an incumbent in decades.
Dahm & Roberts essentially tied with about 42% each. There was a dispute, but the convention chair (Rep. Jon Echols, chose to move to the 2nd round because the dispute was over about half of 1% of the returns.
Farate's Open Endorsement
A Roberts campaign organizer was then recognized. The campaign said something to the effect that a Farate endorsement was unwanted and worthless. Chairman Echols equally scolded that statement and called for a resumption of order in the room.
The 2nd round runoff commenced and Dahm won on a nearly 60-40 split. All of Farate's base moved to Dahm.
Roberts has lost races in the past and faced sabotage within his own party. It hurts. Even when he narrowly was reelected in 2018, he was ready to burn down his own Republican house leadership because several of them orchestrated the defeat of most of his Platform Caucus allies.
Roberts will not 'roll over' quickly or quietly. Nor will Roberts' supporters. Perhaps the 'tall building' Republicans feel satisfied over splitting the MAGA right base?