Oklahoma Republican Party chooses new chairman
After a flap involving extra cast ballots, the Oklahoma Republican Party named Pam Pollard as its new chairman.
Pollard, of Midwest City, received 163 votes at the state committee meeting Sunday afternoon at Oklahoma City Community College.
Estela Hernandez, the interim chairman, received 115 votes, while Robert Hubbard came in with 77 votes.
The total number of votes came to 355, but there were only 339 credentialed voters on site. An additional 16 votes were cast, a discrepancy of about 4.7 percent of the total expected votes.
After the results were announced, Hernandez advanced a motion to make Pollard the party chairman. The motion was seconded, and put to a vote. Only a handful of party members opposed.
"I think what we've witnessed here today is the best of what the Republican Party is," Pollard said, accepting the position.
"I think I'm the right leader at the right time," she had said before votes were cast.
The vote was needed because former state Sen. Randy Brogdon stepped down at the beginning of September as party chairman. Brogdon, a tea party favorite, held the position for five months.
Brogdon had been under fire for giving a party staff position to T.C. Ryan, who once pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges.
For weeks, Brogdon rejected party members' calls to fire Ryan. Ryan finally resigned as political director after Gov. Mary Fallin and other GOP officials said the conviction made him unsuitable for the leadership position.
Also, a Facebook post on the state party page equating food stamp recipients to animals in national parks that receive food handouts brought further criticism.
Pollard is no stranger to Facebook controversy.
While serving as president of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women, a July 29 post on the group's page showed a black person hanging from a tree and included the text, "The KKK was formed by the Democrats to keep control over black Americans. The Democrats of today just traded ropes for welfare."
The post's headline was "Untainted history will trip the Dems up every time!!"
Pollard removed the post, and barred the poster. A note of explanation about the incident remained on the group's website Sunday evening.