BROKEN ARROW — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jackson Lahmeyer and the long line of speakers before him here Thursday night made it clear that they do not view Democrats or liberals as their No. 1 target.
It’s other Republicans.
“The Democrats are not our biggest problem,” Lahmeyer said as he wrapped up a rally lasting more than three hours at the Stoney Creek Conference Center. “Democrats — at least they’re honest. They’ll tell you, ‘I’m a communist, and I’m proud of it.’”
“Republicans, oh, my goodness. They talk a great game,” Lahmeyer said. “You’ve got these never-Trumpers. They were never-Trumpers in 2016. They hated Donald Trump. Now they’re running, ‘Oh, Donald Trump, you’re the fourth member of the Holy Trinity.”
Very few Democrats consider themselves communists, and very few Republicans think of themselves as RINOs — Republicans in name only. But Lahmeyer and the other speakers seemed to think just about any Republican who didn’t work to overturn last year’s presidential election is one.
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First on their list is incumbent U.S. Sen. James Lankford, whom Lahmeyer and at least one other Republican rebel are trying to beat in next June’s GOP primary.
Lankford, said Lahmeyer, is just another Mitt Romney.
“Does anybody here like Mitt Romney?” he asked the several hundred in attendance.
“Nooo!” came the reply.
Loyalty to Trump, insistence that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and must be overturned, and a conviction that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a scam or a fraud or made way too much of were common themes throughout the evening.
No widespread voting irregularities from 2020 have been proven to the satisfaction of people who are experts on elections, and close to 700,000 Americans, including more than 10,000 Oklahomans, have died from COVID.
But a significant share of the voting public doesn’t believe either, or at least not in the generally accepted forms, and that is driving a revolt in the Republican Party.
State GOP Chairman John Bennett, who has angered some long-time Republicans by openly supporting Lahmeyer, mocked a Lankford supporter he said had called him.
“I said, ‘Why are you supporting him?’ He said, ‘Because he’s a nice guy.’
“We don’t need nice guys,” said Bennett. “What we need are fighters!”
The roster of warm-up speakers included owners upset because officials had tried to close their businesses because of COVID, Trump-connected political operatives, a congressional candidate from Washington state, and an Arizona state senator who insisted that the recently completed election “audit” there proved fraud despite all reports to the contrary.
“Election integrity is the No. 1 issue,” Lahmeyer said. “Jackson Lahmeyer will shout it: the 2020 presidential election — that was a stolen election.”
Correction: A typo originally misidentified the name of the candidate as he spoke of himself in third person. The story above has been corrected.