Skip to comments.Carter County officer's run for Congress chafes Oklahoma Republican Party chairman
Posted on 05/27/2014 6:24:17 PM PDT by Osage Orange
Carter County officer's run for Congress chafes Oklahoma Republican Party chairman
Anna Flatt, of Ardmore, is challenging U.S. Rep. Tom Cole in the Republican primary and it is causing some friction between Oklahoma Republican Party headquarters and the anti-establishment views of Ron Paul supporters. by Chris Casteel Modified: May 26, 2014 at 9:47 pm Published: May 27, 2014
WASHINGTON Anna Flatt has paid her dues for the Oklahoma Republican Party, doing the tough, no-glory work at the county level like knocking doors and organizing potluck dinners.
Photo - Anna Flatt
She became disillusioned with the party in 2008 after the financial bailout and discovered then-U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, a Texas Republican with a strong libertarian bent. Flatt supported Paul for president in 2012 and won a delegate slot to the Republican National Convention that year.
Now shes challenging U.S. Rep. Tom Cole in the Republican primary a situation that has caused some internal friction because Flatt, of Ardmore, is the chairwoman of the Carter County Republican Party. Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Dave Weston asked her to step aside as chairwoman, but Flatt refused.
Friction between Paul supporters and the Republican Party establishment is nothing new. The partys Oklahoma state convention in 2012 ended in an angry walkout by Paul supporters, who felt they had been wronged by the party leadership. At the national convention a few months later, some of them booed Gov. Mary Fallin during her prime-time speech.
This year, there are at least three Paul activists running as Republicans for state office: Flatt; Dax Ewbank, who is running for governor; and Kenny Bob Tapp, who is running for a state House seat from the Panhandle.
Cole, R-Moore, said in a recent interview, Periodically, you have people coming in (to the Republican Party) on different sets of issues that moved them.
Whats moved most Libertarian voters into the Republican Party I think has largely been the fiscal issues the size and scope of government, the cost of government, the deficit those seem to be the real drivers. And I think thats perfectly consistent with the broad mainstream of the Republican Party. And weve gotten a lot of energy out of that.
And I think the rise of the tea party and the movement of Libertarians dramatically into the Republican Party probably helped us take over the House in 2010.
Cole was chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party in 1988 when the presidential candidacy of television evangelist Pat Robertson brought thousands of evangelicals into the state GOP. For many of those social issues particularly abortion were paramount.
Paul was also anti-abortion, as are many of his supporters. Tapp said standing for the unborn is one of the biggest issues in his state House race.
Paths diverge on some other social issues as, sometimes, an evangelical Republicans morality intrudes on a libertarian Republicans personal liberty.
Flatt said in an interview that the government shouldnt have a role in who can marry; nor, she said, should the government tell people that they cant smoke marijuana.
On his website, Ewbank states, From gun liberties to ending the abusive war on drugs, the people of Oklahoma need to be set free of the worry that the state is out to get them.
I am not running to be the governor of the people, I am running to be the Governor of the government, to direct it to pursue and administer justice, and to leave the people of Oklahoma free to pursue their own happiness.
Cole said he doesnt agree with Flatt that the government shouldnt be involved in marriage or marijuana usage.But, look, you decide whether or not youre a Republican, he said. Theres not a membership test here ... Just like you get to decide whether youre a Democrat or an independent.
Conflict of interest?Weston, the chairman of the state Republican Party, thinks Flatt needs to decide whether shes a candidate or a party officer. He said he told Flatt that it was a conflict of interest and set a bad precedent for an officer who was working for herself rather than building the party.
Moreover, he said, it is unfair to use party resources while running for officer. Other county chairmen had stepped aside to seek elective office, he said, including one now running for Cleveland County commissioner.
Flatt said in an interview that she had built up the party. Monthly meetings that used to attract a handful of people are now attended by 50 or more with a variety of views something shes trying to encourage.
I think they all fit in the party, she said.
And her distaste for top-down government extends to the state Republican Party.
In a letter to Weston posted on her campaign website, she states that Carter County Republicans would decide whether she could remain chairwoman.
She wrote, Your way, and that of others who think like you, is to say that the voters cant be trusted to decide what is best for them when given too many choices, in much the same way the government no longer allows Americans to make our own decisions about our health care, about what we grow in our gardens or put in our bodies, about our retirement savings, about who we can marry, about how many bullets we can put in our magazines or how big our Big Gulps are.
Flatt said she called Cole after she filed to run against him to make sure he would still come to a coffee meeting he had planned at the Carter County headquarters. She is not raising money for her race, and she is still displaying Coles campaign signs. What she wants, she said, is for Republican voters to have choices.
I dont have any objection to anybody running, said Cole, a 12-year House veteran with more than $1 million in his war chest.
Its perfectly appropriate. Nobody owns these seats and everybody has a right to file. I dont think as a party weve ever had any rule on this sort of thing. From everything I can see she has tried not to allow the primary to interfere with the party or vice versa.
12 years is enough...and he did very little if nothing to raise his voice against what is happening in Washington.
Rally the people...be the leader!!!
Take back the rule of law!!!
Sounds like a dang good idea to me. Find somebody to run against that pinhead Lankford and it would be a clean sweep.
If Flatt wants to *vote* Libertarian, that is certainly her privilege and a private vote.
But, if she wants to run the Libertarian Party platform up the flag pole of the Republican Party of Oklahoma, why would she be allowed to be chairman of the Republican Party? She needs to be chairman of the Libertarian Party.
Most state party committee rules would have nipped her in the bud already. Oklahoma Republicans are far from pot legalisation, and gay marriage advocates that she is independently imposing on the party direction.
Oust the noisy tyrant and move on.
I am for anyone who is running against Tom Cole - whether in the primary or the general. I have told him as much when he supported quashing our 4th amendment rights a year ago. It was the final straw for me with this man. It will be enough to see him go.
I still like her though....
Replacing plodding, gutless Tom Cole with a severe Libertarian promoting gay marriage and pot legalization doesn’t sound much like progress really, for the party. Progressive maybe, but not progress, in the sense of advancing conservatism.
Isn’t it the Republican Party of Oklahoma that has been the able instrument for making Oklahoma the shining example of conservatism? In spite of hapless Tom Cole?
I’m just scared I guess that this gal is shaking up the foundations for the solid course Oklahoma has so successfully set upon that depends on the example of its conservative Republican party apparatus.
She is making hay with the “less government” theme, in a way that is conservative alright, but using it to advance “more liberty for immorality”.
Do you think so?