Political notebook: nearly $6 million poured into CD 2 | Local news

High stakes: As of Friday evening, more than $5.9 million in independent spending had been reported in the Republican congressional district runoff, making the race unexpectedly one of the most expensive in the country.

More than half of that, $3.4 million, has been spent by Pennsylvania billionaire Jeff Yass through his political action committee, the School Freedom Fund. Yass is connected to the Club for Growth, a limited government, anti-tax organization that helped elect the late Tom Coburn to the U.S. Senate in 2004.

This time, his money will help former state Sen. Josh Brecheen, a former Coburn staffer, who faces state Rep. Avery Frix in Tuesday’s runoff.

Frix is ​​also getting outside help: more than $2.4 million in independent spending, most of it from unknown sources.

More IE: State races are also seeing some independent spending, much of it so-called dark money funneled through 501(c)4 organizations.

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State Sen. Kim David, R-Porter, a GOP runoff candidate for corporation commissioner, was the beneficiary of a $152,500 television buy courtesy of one such outfit, American Advantage Inc .

As previously reported, the Koch Americans for Prosperity network anchor has poured about $300,000 into the state Superintendent of Public Instruction race he supports Ryan Walters.

Parents and Students First, which is registered with the Federal Election Commission but apparently not with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, has spent $260,000 on Walters.

A longtime 501(c)4, Oklahoma’s Children, Our Future, has spent $250,000 against Walters; Parents in Action Inc., a Washington-based PAC, spent $84,000 opposing Walters and supporting her opponent, April Grace.

A PAC called the Conservative Policy Network, which doesn’t have to file campaign finance reports until the end of September, has spent $115,000 against Christian nationalist legislative candidates Jarrin Jackson, Brady Butler and Karmin Grider.

Conservative Voice of America, a dark money PAC, spent $100,000 for the labor commissioner.

Campaigns and elections: Former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama is campaigning with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kendra Horn this weekend.

Jones, who was known for prosecuting several high-profile civil rights cases before his election to the Senate, will meet with a group at the Greenwood Cultural Center and tour the Greenwood Rising on Sunday before heading to Oklahoma City for events there in honor to the late Clara Luper. .

The Tulsa Press Club, 415 S. Boston Ave., is hosting an election night watch party starting at 5:30 pm Tuesday. The event is open to the public.

Third District Congressman Frank Lucas has scheduled the following town hall meetings in area communities:

10 a.m. Monday, Mannford Community Center, 100 Cimarron Drive, Mannford.

1:30 pm Monday, Pawhuska Community Center, 520 Lynn Ave., Pawhuska.

9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Standing Bear Museum, 601 Standing Bear Parkway, Ponca City.

1 p.m. Tuesday, Pawnee City Hall, 510 Illinois St., Pawnee.

3 pm Tuesday, Central Rural Electric Cooperative, 3305 S. Boomer Road, Stillwater.

Sally’s List, which supports female Democratic candidates, is hosting a fundraiser Sept. 21 at Mother Road Market. Tickets start at $25. look sallyslist.salsalab.org for reservations.

Union labeling: Stitt issued an executive order on Friday that a press release said protects the “First Amendment rights of teachers” but seems more like a threat to unions and school administrators.

The order reiterates that union dues can be deducted from teacher pay only at the request of each teacher and that union membership is voluntary. It “urges” the Oklahoma State Board of Education “to take steps to the fullest extent permitted by applicable law so that payroll deductions by employee organizations comply with the requirements of state and federal law.”

Stitt, who has signed the law and passed several policies that restrict what educators can say and teach, said in the accompanying press release: “It’s time to fight back against the liberal unions that have maintained control over his teacher pay cut, and defend the First Amendment rights of Oklahoma educators.”

The Oklahoma Education Association called the order a political ploy ahead of next Tuesday’s runoff election, which includes a tough battle for the Republican state superintendent of public instruction nominee.

“We have always been an opt-in organization since our first meeting in 1889,” OAS President Kathrine Bishop said in a written statement. “We follow all state and federal laws and always have.

“The Executive Order … is a baseless attack on the voices of educators ahead of an important election,” Bishop said. “This only distracts from real issues like the educator shortage crisis and Oklahoma ranking 49th in education funding.”

Meanwhile, the workforce Institute of Economic Policy reported that Oklahoma teachers have the nation’s second-highest “weekly pay gap,” the difference between teacher pay and the earnings of non-teachers with comparable college degrees, at 32 percent.

Bottom lines: State Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, says he wants the Legislature to use its ongoing special session to support assistance for stock producers hit hard by the drought. … The joint state/federal disaster relief center in Okmulgee closed last week.

—Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World

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