Monday, April 11, 2011

The Magic
Peter J. Regan
His Political Life Has Been Charmed
And Now This Entrenched Democrat Wins
Favor From The Republican Governor
By Mike McCarville

Tulsa attorney Peter J. Regan's political life has been charmed:

~ Former chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Dan Boren.

~ Appointed to the Grand River Dam Authority's board by former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Morgan, a Democrat.

~ Named to the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Board of Trustees founded by University of Oklahoma President David Boren 25 years ago; Boren is its chairman today.

~ Appointed to the Oklahoma Transportation Commission by Democratic Governor Brad Henry.

~ Sought the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2006 and lost to Jari Askins. His campaign chairman was former Democratic Governor George Nigh, the Democratic Party's elder statesman. (Even though Regan lost the race, his standing with powerful Democrats seems only to have grown.)

~ Affiliated with the politically powerful law firm of former Attorney General and Democratic Party Chairman Mike Turpen, Riggs, Abney, Neal, Turpen, Orbison & Lewis.

~ Heads Devonshire Investments, vehicle of the Joseph Parker Jr. family. Parker has donated more than $175,000 to candidates and party organizations, majority of them Democrats, since 2000.

~ Regan's mentors include OU's Boren, former governor and U. S. senator; Congressman Dan Boren; Nigh; Morgan; Henry; and Turpen. All Democrats.

So it was with some surprise that in-the-know and paying-attention Republicans in Tulsa and elsewhere awoke recently to read or hear that Democrat Regan had been given one of the state's most coveted and plum gubernatorial appointments, a seat on the Transportation Commission, by Republican Governor Mary Fallin. 

It's the kind of appointment that usually goes, first, to a prominent member of the governor's party, often one with a history of campaign donations. It's not unheard of that an appointee of the "out" party gets such a seat, but it's not usual that one with such intricate, long-standing and existing ties to the opposite party gets it.

There are those who say Regan is a Democratic-candidate-for-governor-or-Congress-in-waiting. That could mean he'll face a Republican nominee in the future, using his background (and appointment by Fallin) to boost his candidacy.

His reappointment to the Transportation Commission by Fallin has some GOP stalwarts muttering, but so far they've done it under their breath.

"Incredible," said a longtime Tulsa GOP warhorse. "It's almost an insult to us (Republicans) in Tulsa...what, we've got no one qualified for that appointment?"

A bewildered Southern Oklahoma Republican who spent hours campaigning for Fallin and who holds a party post in the county, asked about the appointment, searched for words: "Surely Mary has a good reason for this, but boy, it hurts."

Fallin, via spokesman Alex Weintz, replies that Regan is a highly-regarded member of the Transportation Commission: "Peter Regan is a well qualified applicant with deep ties to the Tulsa community and a long record of service. Governor Fallin was looking for the candidate she felt would be the most engaged and effective on the transportation commission, and that person is Peter."

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