Sunday, September 19, 2010

Calvey Declines Comment On Askins Attacks

Conservative Republican Kevin Calvey has declined comment on GOP attacks on Democrat Jari Askins for voting in favor of Calvey's 2003 bill that allowed in-state college tuition for undocumented children.

The former congressional candidate has not responded to two requests for comment by The McCarville Report Online.

The attacks in television commercials and via advertising on Askins focus on Calvey's bill which had bipartisan support in the Legislature.

 Claiming Askins, the Democratic nominee for governor, is too liberal for Oklahoma, the attacks assert that Askins and President Obama both support immigration laws that the GOP considers to be bad.

The Republican Governors Association launched the attacks on Askins in tv commercials and followed them up with ads on the Drudge Report.

Calvey, who campaigned as being tough on immigration and had the support of one of the leaders of an anti-immigration group, often discussed his bill while seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in the 5th District.

The attacks on Askins drew a critical response from many, including the editorial writers at The Oklahoman: "...refers to an immigration-related bill that Askins voted for as a member of the state House in 2003. The bill allowed undocumented children who graduate from Oklahoma high schools to receive in-state tuition. The ad says Askins and President Obama 'both support immigration policies too liberal for Oklahoma.' Left unsaid is that the House version of the bill was written by a Republican and passed easily after receiving broad bipartisan support. These sorts of negative and misleading tactics, particularly from outsiders, are what turn off many voters during election season."

 Republican State Chairman Matt Pinnell, asked by TMRO if he's aware the bill was written by the conservative Calvey, responded, "Yes, and it's the same bill (Scott) Pruitt voted for too. It's not the bill I would've gone after, but the main point is the same: where is Jari on immigration? Pruitt obviously made some strong statements when Leonard hit him on the same bill in the primary. Until Jari makes a strong statement on the issue I would imagine people will continue to ask the question."

Negative campaigning has not worked in Oklahoma this election year; Calvey's attacks on James Lankford in the 5th District congressional campaign backfired, as did Ryan Leonard's criticism of Scott Pruitt in the attorney general GOP primary, and, to a lesser extent, Randy Brogdon's comments about Mary Fallin's record in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

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