Campaign quandary: The contest for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination has created an interesting situation for many Black Tulsans.
Generally, they support Democrats, but at this point the Democrats have no viable candidate for the general election. That leaves them largely bystanders in a decisive Republican primary they view with some alarm.
Black leaders have at times clashed with incumbent James Lankford, but they have also acknowledged his willingness to work with a community that doesn’t support his party and that could even be a liability in the current climate.
But challenger Jackson Lahmeyer is even less palatable to most Black leaders. He seems to equate activism with “domestic terrorism” and calls attempts to communicate African American perspectives divisive. Some observers, regardless of race, think his statements cross the line.
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Last week, state Rep. Monroe Nichols, D-Tulsa, and Black Wall Street Times founder Nehemiah Frank got into a bit of a Twitter war with Lahmeyer.
After Lahmeyer chastised the Young Republicans for a “Happy Kwanzaa” tweet, calling it an “embarrassment” and Kwanzaa itself a “fake Holiday created by a whacko (sic) who hated Christians,” Nichols responded by tweeting, “This is one ‘pastor’ that I can say with 100% certainty has never talked to or been called on by God. His ... religion is one of division, intolerance and deceit.”
Nichols then suggested Lahmeyer and his followers consult Matthew 7:15-20, which warns of false prophets.
Through Twitter, Frank told Republicans that Lankford “is the conservative whose values align with your values.”
Laymeyer, he said, “is too culturally incompetent and distracted with going after the African American community” to lead effectively.
In an email last week to supporters, Lahmeyer blasted Nichols and Frank and said the defamation and conspiracy lawsuit against his close associate Clay Clark is a “badge of honor.”
Frank’s semi-endorsement of Lankford should be a prime reason to vote for Lahmeyer, the e-mail said.
Missing reports: Lankford and fellow Republican Josh Hawley of Missouri accused the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of intentionally withholding two required reports “out of concerns that this report would complicate the conversation around the ‘Plan C’ amnesty proposals in the Democrats’ partisan reconciliation package.”
By some estimates, the proposal would make around 7 million people now illegally in the country eligible for legal residence and eventually citizenship. It is in the reconciliation bill passed in December by the U.S. House of Representatives, but the Senate parliamentarian has ruled it out of order three times for that chamber’s consideration under reconciliation.
Lankford and Hawley are most upset about a report on the number of people in the country with expired visas. The two senators said the report was delivered to other committees but not Homeland Security, where both are members. They said copies obtained from other sources show 585,000 “overstayers.”
The pair also want to know why Homeland Security has not delivered a report, due Nov. 30, on the vetting of Afghan evacuees.
Employment: The number of unemployed Oklahomans fell in November while the state’s total workforce grew by about 6,000, causing Oklahoma’s unemployment rate to shrink to 1.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
The BLS said the unemployed — those seeking jobs — dropped just below 35,000, a decrease of about 2,700 from November.
The Tulsa metro’s workforce grew by about 1,500 as the unemployment dropped to 2.0%.
A separate survey of business payrolls reported small job gains in November for Tulsa and statewide and significant improvement from the same month a year ago.
Elevating: One of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s most vexing problems, the massive failures of the U.S. Navy’s $13.3 billion carrier the U.S. Gerald R. Ford, seems to be clearing up. Bloomberg reported the ship is finally ready for training and operations after the last of 11 Advanced Weapons Elevators, which moves ordnance from below-deck magazines to hangars and flight decks, became fully operational.
Inhofe, the senior Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has fussed for years about the Ford’s delays, cost overruns and malfunctions.
“I recognize the extraordinary effort that it has taken to finish all 11 of these elevators, but this effort should not have been necessary,” Inhofe told Blooomberg.
Inhofe said the carrier was six years late and $2.8 billion over budget.
The Gerald R. Ford is the first of four new carriers in the same class ordered by the Navy.
Meetings and events: The Heart of the Party, the Tulsa chapter of the Federation of Democratic Women, will hear a panel discussion on issues related to last summer’s Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments situation during a 6:30 p.m. Monday meeting at Baxter’s Interurban, 717 S. Houston Ave.
The Vista Shadow Mountain Apartments were closed by city officials last summer after they were deemed unsafe, leaving hundreds of people homeless.
The Tulsa County Democratic Party will meet at 10 a.m. Jan. 15 at East Central Junior High School, 12121 E. 21st St., to discuss next month’s Tulsa Board of Education elections and to knock doors for specific candidates.
Dots and dashes: The Oklahoma Democratic Party condemned state legislation by Rep. Jim Olsen, R-Roland, seeking to ban the 1619 Project from public schools, colleges and universities. ... Edward “Ted” Jones, a Louisiana state representative, was tapped by the Biden administration to head the Small Business Administration’s District 6, which includes Oklahoma. ... Oklahoma Congressmen Frank Lucas and Tom Cole were among a group of agricultural state lawmakers requesting the U.S. State Department allow South African farm workers to travel to the U.S. under the H2-A visa program.