When the OKGOP State Committee assembled at Fairview Baptist Edmond on Saturday, everyone knew the potential for fireworks between the pro-Lahmeyer and pro-Lankford crowds existed, especially with the Resolution to Censure Senator Lankford and Senator Inhofe looming large over the meeting.
While the vast majority of those in attendance were united in their disapproval of Lankford’s handling of the events of January 6th, the resolution itself was fraught from the beginning with serious questions about its legality.
Resolution Legalities Questioned
The questions surrounding the resolution’s legalities stemmed from wording in the resolution that called for the, “resignation of Senator James Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe for failure to take all possible measures to protect the integrity of the 2020 Presidential Electoral Vote.” The accusation was leveled solely because Senator Lankford, “rescinded his support of reviewing electoral votes integrity before certification,” as well as for presumably blaming the Capital riot on “MAGA Republicans and President Donald J. Trump with mere circumstantial evidence.”
While the accusation of Lankford rescinding his support for the review of electoral votes is lacking some context (as he addressed in his speech at the Reagan Breakfast on May 7th), his continued labeling of the events of January 6th as an “insurrection” has consistently been a sticking point with most conservatives. Using the term “insurrection”, as opposed to the more appropriate term “color revolution” (more on this later), paints those patriotic Americans who attended the January 6th rally simply to show support for President Trump in the same light as insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Despite this, deep concerns about the legality likely doomed the resolution from the beginning. According to Party Rule 19(g), an official or member of the Oklahoma Republican Party can only be removed from office, “in the same manner and by the same power or authority by which one was appointed or elected.” For elected party officials (Chair, Vice Chair, etc), the body that elected them also has the authority to remove them from office.
However, elected officials are not chosen by the party. They are elected by the citizens of Oklahoma. Under Party Rules, then, the only way a sitting U.S. Senator could be removed from office is by the citizens of Oklahoma. Given that there is no statutory authority to recall a sitting U.S. Senator, the only way such a removal could happen is by Lankford losing re-election (Senator Inhofe is retiring after this term).
When we inquired from those in attendance as to whether an elected official could be removed from the Party, the general response was, “we don’t know, but it’s never been done.” Assuming this even could be done, Rule 19(g) lays out in detail the causes for which a person can be removed from the Party:
(1) Misappropriation of funds under the rules of the Republican Party;
(2) Failure to follow the rules of the Oklahoma Republican Party;
(3) Conviction of a felony; and
(4) Publicly supporting or endorsing an opponent of candidates of the Republican Party.
The censure resolution made no mention of any such infractions by either Senator. Even if there were such infractions, Rule 19(g) requires the following due process in order to lawfully remove such a person from the Party:
Any such removals, except as to precinct officers as provided under Rule 5 (f) and any removals authorized under Rule 6(f), may be ordered only after ten (10) days notice in writing has been given to the person charged, stating the cause and time and place of hearing thereon, and after the person has had the opportunity to present evidence, witnesses, and to be heard personally and by counsel.
Given that the Republican Party stakes its reputation on being the party of law and order, approving a resolution that so clearly violated the Party’s own rules would have proved disastrous…regardless of the anger towards Lankford.
Widespread Disapproval Remains
Despite the failure of the ill-conceived censure resolution, everyone Ignite Liberty spoke to said without question that a Resolution of Disapproval or Formal Rebuke of Senators Lankford and Inhofe would likely have passed by a wide margin. The significance of this can not be understated, because it speaks to the unity that so many in the party are working hard to achieve.
With the exception of a few stalwart swamp rats, no one in attendance is happy with Lankford’s seeming inability to grasp the gravity of the color revolution that global communist forces have unleashed on the U.S. Color Revolutions have become the coup d’jour anytime communist forces take over a country. They occur when communist forces or sympathizers are used to stage violent mass riots and protests disguised as the group of people they want to destroy.
It was used during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. Hitler used it when his brownshirts burned down the Reichstag. It was used when the Communist Party took over China. Now that the Global Communist Party (CCP along with the Democrat Party) have set their sight on taking over the United States, they turned to the same old tactics. They used their Antifa thugs (whose namesake Hitler used in Nazi Germany) disguised as MAGA supporters to storm the Capitol while the DC Police stood by and watched, much to the horror of the true patriots in attendance.
Unless Senator Lankford has a change of heart, and chooses to call January 6th what it actually was, his chances at re-election maybe smaller than he thinks…regardless of how much money he raises.
OKGOP Leadership Shows Strength
The meeting was not without incident, as prior to its beginning two individuals had to be removed from the premises. Seth Rott, a local LGBTQ activist/lobbyist, seemingly attempted to use his status as a proxy courier to gain entry into the meeting, something expressly against State Party Rules because he is a registered Independent. Fortunately, when asked to leave Mr. Rott went peacefully.
The same cannot be said for Al Gerhart, the proprietor of the Sooner Tea Party blog and long time agitator within the OKGOP. Mr. Gerhart had to be removed by an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office deputy when he refused to leave the premises, since members of the press were not allowed at this meeting.
It is precisely the agitators like Gerhart that the current administration of the OKGOP is working hard to root out of the party…and for good reason. Ignite Liberty spoke to Leslie NesSmith, Director of Media and Public Relations for the OKGOP, about the efforts to oust divisive individuals like Gerhart from the party:
“Under John Bennett’s leadership we truly want to bring everyone together. Not in a glossed over, kum-ba-yah sort of way. We want to bring people together to get to know each other in order to foster an environment of respect and trust. The problem is the Party has had people who are spreading distrust throughout the party for years. They have specialized in sowing rumors, suspicion, and discord to the point that they have even torn down long-time relationships. They have actively worked to create and environment of suspicion and distrust. We are trying to fix that.”
When asked about how the OKGOP plans to fix this cancer on the party, NesSmith replied:
“One small example of these efforts occurred in just the first couple of months of this administration. We as a team set a rule that we will not accept or listen to complaints or criticisms of other Republicans, or anybody for that matter, unless the person bringing it, 1) has first talked to the subject of the complaint, and 2) is coming to us with a solution. This has been a systemic problem throughout the OKGOP, and it stops here. This administration is going to bring people together and hold elected officials to the party platform. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.”
The importance of this new direction of leadership cannot be understated. If the OKGOP is going to truly become a force for the advancement of liberty in the Sooner State, it is absolutely vital that it do so as one strong, united front.
As the first Republican President so aptly noted, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” If the OKGOP does not make the uniting of the pro-liberty forces its first priority, the Communist Democrats will take over the Sooner State and exterminate us all.
Thankfully, under Bennett’s strong leadership, that unity is now priority #1…and it couldn’t have come a moment too soon.