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Edmond GOP candidates for Oklahoma state Senate square off

The Republican challenger says radio ads are false that claim he had has tax problems. A political action committee independent of Sen. Clark Jolley's campaign paid for the ads.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: June 15, 2012 at 9:34 pm •  Published: June 15, 2012
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The Republican challenger to an Edmond senator told an Edmond Chamber of Commerce audience Friday that radio advertisements alleging he has had tax problems are false.

“I have no tax problems, and I have not broken any laws,” Paul Blair said. “I never had any business go out of business because of tax violations.”

State Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, told Blair after the forum that he had not heard of the advertisement and that his campaign had not paid for it.

The advertisement was paid for by the Coalition for Oklahoma's Future political action committee, which has raised $300,000 since being formed in January. It has spent about $154,000 on behalf of eight Republican legislative candidates, according to reports filed with the state Ethics Commission.

The group reported spending $97,200 on behalf of Jolley, according to the report.

Political action committees can make unlimited independent expenditures on behalf of candidates or issues.

Major donors to the Coalition for Oklahoma's future were listed as Chesapeake Inc., the Chickasaw Nation, the Williams Co. Rooney Holdings and Flintco. Each gave $50,000.

Jolley, elected in 2004 to the Senate District 41 seat, said Friday evening he had heard only a part of the radio advertisement.

“I don't even know who paid for it,” Jolley said. “I can't control legally anything an independent group does.”

Company lost contract

Blair read from a letter from his accountant, David F. Johnson, of Oklahoma City, stating that he “did not find a single instance of any delinquency filing, failure to file, any wrongdoing or anything inappropriate.”

“All the businesses you have been associated with, owned and/or operated have always paid their taxes,” wrote Johnson, who has prepared taxes for Blair and his businesses since the mid 1980s.

Blair also criticized telephone calls made to Republicans last week asking them if their opinion of Blair would change if his company had lost a contract because of scandal.

“That is nothing but a true lie,” Blair said.

He said his vending company, Blair Vending and Coffee, lost the contract, which it had had for about 20 years with Edmond Public Schools, because it was outbid by another company.

“That's the way free market and free enterprise works,” he said. “Too bad for us; good for them.”

With the approaching June 26 primary, Blair, who also is pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, was the more aggressive contender during the hourlong forum. He brought along several supporters who often said “Amen” to his statements and gave him standing ovations.

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