Oklahoma Republicans elect new leaders

Dave Weston, of Lexington, a former finance director for the Oklahoma Republican Party and who worked on two innovative congressional campaigns, was elected to lead the state GOP. Sara Jo Odom was elected vice chairman.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: April 20, 2013 at 9:12 pm •  Published: April 21, 2013
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About the chairman

Weston was backed by members of the state GOP with different viewpoints who at times disagree, such as state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, who previously served as chairman of the state Republican Party, and Charlie Meadows, chairman of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee.

Weston served as finance director for the state Republican Party from 2005 until 2006. He was involved in establishing campaign management software, developing strategies for grassroots outreach and fundraising, as well as managing campaign data for two congressional candidates who pulled off upsets: U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, in 2010 and U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, in 2012.

Sara Jo Odom, of Edmond, was elected vice chairman, over two other candidates, Richard Engle, of rural Mustang, and Denise Crosswhite Hager, of Yukon.

While Republicans were calmer this year, Kaye Beach, a delegate from Norman, drew a lot of attention with her sign she brought on the convention floor. It read “FALLINDRONES” and had a model of a drone on top.

The sign was a dig at Gov. Mary Fallin, whose concerns helped ground legislation this year that would have placed restrictions on drones.

The governor said the measure could have jeopardized Oklahoma's application with the Federal Aviation Administration to serve as an unmanned aerial systems test site.

Pinnell was praised for GOP gains in state, legislative and federal posts that occurred during his tenure. Republicans now hold every statewide elected office, have their biggest majorities in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives and make up the entire state's congressional delegation. It's the first time in state history Republicans control the Legislature, occupy each statewide office and each of the U.S. Senate and House seats.

“I am very proud of what we were able to accomplish together,” Pinnell told the delegates on Saturday.

“I will put our record up against anybody's in the country.”

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