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yngliberal Donating Member (174 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:11 PM
Original message
Oklahoma Republican State Senator Joins Democratic Party
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 06:12 PM by yngliberal
Oklahoma Republican State Senator Joins Democratic Party

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Republican state Sen. Nancy Riley switched her political affiliation to the Democratic Party Thursday, throwing a new obstacle at GOP hopes of taking control of the Senate for the first time in state history in this fall's elections.

Riley, flanked by a half dozen Democratic Senate leaders, announced her change in party allegiance while criticizing Senate Republicans for what she said was their "lack of compassion for people" and for ignoring her and other moderate Republicans.

"The moderate Republican has been pushed aside for the extreme right wing," Riley said. Riley, a member of the Senate's GOP leadership team who holds the title of minority whip, said she has received no support among Republicans in the state Senate.

"The treatment I received in the last legislative session was abhorrent," she said, adding that her focus in the Senate has been "on families, children and the average Oklahoman."

"I was totally disregarded," Riley said. "The moderate Republican no longer has a voice."

More at: http://www.kotv.com/news/?108766

---------

Being from Oklahoma myself, this will only help the Democrats in November.


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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:14 PM
Response to Original message
1. Will this be featured on cnn, msnbc and faux
Or will it be totally ignored?
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karlrschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. It's a state office so probably not. It's not for the US senate.
;-)
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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 08:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
40. But I think...and I could be wrong...that if it was a Dem switching
it would get quite a lot of play.
At least on the Republican News Network...I mean fox news and Chris Matthews -- he'd probably invite the bugman over to give his insights.
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karlrschneider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. I don't think KOTV even mentioned it on the evening news!
I might have missed it, will rewind the TIVO and see...
OHH they just now broadcast the teaser, story after commercial!!!

Thanks for the heads up!

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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
4. Welcome aboard.
We may disagree, but I doubt we'll treat you badly.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. excellent news!
As an former Okie myself (just moved away last year), I think this is great news. And with Henry having a great chance (from what I understand) to retain the governorship, it looks like things might be turning around for the Dems in Oklahoma. Every bit helps :toast:
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YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #5
16. God, I hope that those shlubs don't buy Istook's bullshit...
God I hate that guy. I wish he'd go away.
Duckie
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:30 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. no kidding
he's such a tool. In most states he could easily be the worst high profile politician in the state, but not in Oklahoma. Here's hoping this fall sends him whimpering into obscurity like largent :rofl:
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LeftCoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
6. The repubs seem to be having something of midwest meltdown
This is the 2nd or 3rd republican to switch in the last few months, IIRC.
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Justice Is Comin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
7. And another one hopped on the donkey
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Renew Deal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Queue Celine Dion
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Change has come Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #12
24. THAT was funny...n/t
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 08:21 PM by sgcase
:applause:
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. Okie here, too. This is wonderful news! n/t
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #8
44. another Okie here thats proud of her
I read this in this mornings paper but forgot about it. showing my age yet again.
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Joey Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. Another Okie here - this is great! n/t
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:25 PM
Response to Original message
10. First KS, now OK.
Whoa! This is really good news. Gov Sebelius (D-KS) turned at least two Republican KS legislators into Democrats. Now they're doing the same in OK.

The Republican Party in KS is a fundementalist, evangelical cult. Their newsletters read like Jack Chick tracts. Witnessing for Jesus takes precedence. No wonder that mainstream Republicans want to leave their party. They are sick of it.

Is this the start of a national trend?
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. BTW, Welcome to DU!!!
:kick:ed
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:43 PM
Response to Original message
13. What happens if we tell these "Moderate Republicans" we don't want them?
I mean, would we really let Arlen Specter become a Democrat?

Or could we trade him for LIEberman if we did?
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:38 PM
Response to Reply #13
20. let him? It's not like we could refuse to take him.
I'm ok with converts. Often, if they start on our right wing, they will move over as time passes. I say welcome them and start a dialogue with them about why progressive ideas are worthy of their consideration.
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NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. I agree
David Brock now does some great work for MediaMatters... Arianna Huffington with her Huffington Post. Both are former conservatives.

While I'd love everybody to be very progressive, I'm also a realist and know it won't happen in my lifetime. So, we should continue in the tradition of our party being the Big Tent party.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:50 AM
Response to Reply #13
39. Only In Arlen's Dreams Is He a Moderate Anything
He's an oppportunist and a willing tool.
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SaveElmer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
14. Thank you Dr. Dean?
Just a gut feeling, but now that folks see that the Democratic Party in red states is going to be a far more vocal and active presence, do you suppose that some of these people are now finding the courage to make the switch they have long desired to make?

Just a theory...does seem pretty coincident however!

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adnelson60087 Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:01 AM
Response to Reply #14
34. Yes, for certain
this is an outcome of Dean's plan to contest every single state. I think we will see more Moderate Republicans make the move to Dems over the next few months. The Current Republican party is simply too Xenophobic and Bible-thumping to appeal to most moderates. We dems need to be willing to accept these newcomers with an open mind. Remember, we are LIBERALS, and accept the downtrodden into our ranks, further making us strong.
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:07 AM
Response to Reply #14
36. More than you realize...also thank those directors he is paying..
in red states. They are very active in talking the party up. They know their job will not end after the election, so they are more inspired.

In a recent interview Dean said that all the people in red states hear about us is that we are godless and evil...and that we must talk to them about ourselves. Tell them who we are.

Those political directors are active.

And trust me, the media wants you to think that Dean hurts us in red states. No, he really does not....except among the wing nut types. Hate to use that term, but that is like it is.

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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:53 PM
Response to Original message
15. I don't think this is "great" news ...
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 07:08 PM by RoyGBiv
I think it is interesting news and definitely more than a bit of a slam at the OK Republican Party. It could have benefits for Okies in November, at least at the state level.

But there's another side to this story. Riley is (was) a so-called "moderate" Republican, which really just means she's a typical conservative. She's correct that the GOP has been taken over by the extreme right-wing, and I applaud her for voicing this in her switch of parties. But, her switch to the Democrats simply means that she's comfortable in her political ideology with the Democrats, and given her traditionally conservative credentials, what does this say about the Democratic Party itself? I would be more excited if she had voiced this criticism as a Republican, using her position within the Republican Party to take on the ultra right-wing segment. Now, her position is gone, and she'll be using her influence, her conservative influence, within the Democratic Party structure.

I couldn't vote for Riley and thankfully don't have to since I'm not in her district. This could, however, make for some interesting political races up there in the coming years.

The best thing this says, imo, is that the Istooks and Coburns of Oklahoma are starting to be questioned, and that is definitely a good thing. (There were signs of this already coming out of the primaries when the racist, ultra-right wing nutjob Denise Bodie, who spent more money in her campaign than any other candidate, got kicked to the curb.) In the long run, however, it may indicate an even more rightward shift among mainstream Oklahoma Dems, and they were by and large already pretty far to the right start with. Remember, Toby Keith *is* a Democrat...in Oklahoma.
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Gregorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:24 PM
Response to Reply #15
17. My thoughts as well. However...
On the other side of this thinking is the contemplation of what this means about the Republican party. I think this has significant meaning in terms of Republicans dissociating themselves from the original concepts of their party. So rather than looking only at the parties, it may mean there is some contemplation among Americans regarding where they are not wanting the country to go.

Sorry, if that was poorly worded. I'm beat and hungry. Yay for goodish noos.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:42 PM
Response to Reply #15
22. those are good points ... still, remembering the
state of the democratic party before the henry election, it's a little remarkable to see a republican jumping ship. I guess I don't really know anything about Riley herself, but seeing this as a sort of leading indicator for the status/organization/prestige of the state democratic party. What it says about the ideology of the party, as you say, might be a different story entirely. But moving OK Dems to the left strikes me as a longer-term project than stopping the bleeding that we saw five years ago, with 8 years of keating, no dems in the u.s. congress, barely any dems in statewide office, etc.

GREAT to hear that Bodie lost :rofl: :toast:
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:35 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. Democratic Health

The health of the Democratic Party in Oklahoma is stronger than it has been in a long time, inasmuch as that can be determined prior to the midterms, and perhaps this is a symptom of that. Henry has had a great influence toward that health, in at least stabilizing it. We'd been in a freefall since the David Walters fiasco with several high-profile Dems, basically solid, populist-style Dems at that, jumping ship or leaving politics entirely. Losing control of the House was a huge blow.

But it's getting to the point where the party leaders, particularly Henry, are going to have to fish or cut bait. Henry and other Dems who weren't running in '04 were essentially silent. I assume Henry voted for Kerry, but I don't know it because he was never open about it. I'm sure he was looking forward to '06 and not wanting the albatross of supporting the "New England Liberal" strung around his neck, and I can understand that to an extent since Kerry had no chance here anyway. The time for political pragmatism in that sense, however, is done. I'm not so naive as to think the Democrats can be moved left, but part of the stabilization of the party itself should be at the very least a focus on the populism that had made state Democrats so strong for so many years.

After the midterms, if we maintain the status quo, it will be a victory, and that's a hollow victory because the status quo isn't working very well. Our national representation will likely remain the same, with Dems not even facing off against the Republicans in most districts. We'll be replacing Istook in the House with Fallin or Cornett, neither of which is much of a step forward. (Bode would have been the only candidate that was worse.) Republican incumbents in the state House haven't been challenged very seriously so far as I can see. Henry has done what he's done, and that's just fine, but he needs to have a purpose for his next term, and I quite frankly don't know what it is. I'll be voting for him, actively supporting him in fact, but this time, unlike his last race, there's going to be more "voting for him to vote against the other guy" going on because Istook is an insane, babbling, full-fledged member of the Idiocracy.

About Bode specifically, her not evening making it out of the primary to the runoff is the brightest spot on the political radar of Oklahoma in years. It was supposedly her race to lose, what with all the money, the national exposure, and powerful Republicans throwing their support toward her. Hell, someone even dug up Edwin Meese to lend his voice and try to tie Bode to the so-called "Reagan Revolution." Didn't help. Considering how much money she spent, she didn't just lose, she went screaming into the ground with the force of a meteor crashing to earth. And I was SO glad.
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Hardrada Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #26
30. But Ed Meese is a Lutheran!
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:10 AM
Response to Reply #15
37. So you would prefer she now switch because she is "moderate"?
You knew this would be happening. It happened the opposite way before.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:12 AM
Response to Reply #37
38. I don't understand the question ...
Edited on Fri Aug-04-06 01:37 AM by RoyGBiv
On reflection ...

Did you mean to say, "'So you would prefer she not switch because she is 'moderate'?'"

If so, I don't know precisely how well she will be accepted into the Democratic Party's structure or how she may modify her positions and so can't say what I think of the switch in the long term. I think the statements she made about the Republican Party and the reason for her switch would have more of an impact, or more of an impact that would eventually benefit more progressive Democrats, had she made them in the context of her position as a minority whip with the Republican Party. She is a conservative. The "moderate" label only has meaning because of how far to the right the Republican Party has gone.

Riley barely beat a 12-year incumbent Democrat by running a smear campaign and attaching herself to extreme conservative positions, so some of her rhetoric has the ring of hypocrisy. (When I say "barely," I mean a few hundred votes.) It also has repercussions for her district. Being a Democrat, now, and an incumbent she has all the advantages of that position that she can use to out-maneuver a more progressive Democratic candidate in future primaries, leaving her, the extremely conservative Democrat even by Oklahoma standards, up against the nutjob Republican, and she may well win that race while more traditional Dems are left on the sidelines. If I were a tinfoil-hat type, I'd be tempted to see this as a tactical move. What I would have loved to see was a fierce primary between her and a more right-wing Republican in a primary the next time she's up for election. That would only have benefited the Democrats.

She also stated in the reasoning for her switch that members of her own party were not working well with her, which suggests, at least, that some of this is sour grapes resulting from internal battles within the Republican Party of which we are not fully aware. She says she's pro-children and pro-family, and she says that because she's anti-choice and anti-gay. She'll try to develop her Democratic credentials on her experience as an educator, just like George Bush tried to do with Laura's experience. That's not convincing to me.

In any case, my preference has nothing to do with whether she is a "moderate." My preference has to do with who she is and how she stands on various issues.
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Ken Burch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:35 PM
Response to Original message
19. Welcome, Senator Riley!
Takes guts to do something like that in Oklahoma.

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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:40 PM
Response to Original message
21. Wonderful news. Way to go, Nancy!
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struggle4progress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
23. "Christian" Coalition helped Riley get into the Senate in 2000
Oklahoma State Senator Files Libel Suit against Christian Coalition for Voter Guide
The Suit alleges that Oklahoma state Christian Coalition made its remarks with "actual malice."

Tulsa World, November 16, 2000
By Rhett Morgan

A longtime state senator who lost a re-election bid has filed a libel lawsuit against a Christian organization that allegedly defamed him, court records show.

Attorneys for Lewis Long, Democrat from Glenpool, Oklahoma, filed the petition in Tulsa County District Court on Wednesday, a week after he was upset for the District 37 seat by Republican Nancy Riley.

In a close race, the 42-year-old Tulsa teacher defeated the 12-year senator by a vote of 12,641 to 12,376. It marked Rileys first attempt at public office.

In its "2000 Christian Coalition Voter Guide," the Oklahoma Christian Coalition falsely and maliciously indicated the Long "supported legalization of sodomy and bestiality," attorneys allege ...

http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/oklahoma/oknews01.htm

Bestiality charge against candidate was error, says Christian coalition

Church & State, Jan 2001
The Oklahoma Christian Coalition has admitted that it erroneously reported that a state lawmaker favored repealing laws against bestiality and sodomy, but its action comes too late for the official, who lost his seat Nov. 7.

State Sen. Lewis Long, a Democrat from Glenpool, is suing the Coalition for libel because its voter guide reported that Long voted in 1996 to repeal state laws against bestiality and sodomy. In fact, Long did not support the provision, which was part of a lengthy bill intended to repeal old portions of state law and modernize the criminal code.

Long lost his reelection bid by fewer than 300 votes. His opponent, Republican Nancy Riley, was listed on the voter guide as opposing repealing laws against bestiality and sodomy, even though she was not in the legislature at the time the matter come up for a vote.

Two weeks after the election, Oklahoma Christian Coalition Executive Director Ken Wood issued a statement apologizing to Long. "Regretfully, the Oklahoma Christian Coalition made a mistake on its 2000 voter guide (regarding] the issue of decriminalizing sodomy and bestiality," it read. "The coalition extends a public apology to Senator Long and his family" ... http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3944/is_200...



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a kennedy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
25. for the first time in state history
gawd I love the sound of that....... :toast: :thumbsup: :applause:
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usregimechange Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:00 PM
Response to Original message
27. Here she is!

Sen. Nancy Riley, R-Tulsa, said she is switching her political affiliation to the Democratic Party at the state Capitol, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2006, in Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Ty Russell)
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Maven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. She looks relieved. nt
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 09:03 PM by Harvey Korman
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iamthebandfanman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
29. yay!
we need more moderates in our fold anyway. thats how you ensure you win elections.

someone willing to compromise with both sides of the isle when it comes to certain issues.
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Broken_Hero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:59 PM
Response to Original message
32. Great news! nt
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PinkyisBlue Donating Member (617 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
33. I'm really not surprised, as she's a teacher.
Most teachers, at least in the public school setting, tend to be Democrats. The teachers where my children go to school (in NH) believe this whole "no child left behind" program has been terrible and has taken away from other necessary instruction time.

Teachers can see firsthand how Bush's policies affect the children and families in their districts. Bush's emphasis on the "Culture of Life" should be changed to the "Culture of Pre-Life". Once the child is born, the Republicans no longer care what happens to him/her.
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adnelson60087 Donating Member (661 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 01:04 AM
Response to Reply #33
35. I unfortunately know some teachers
who swear Bush is god's man, hate unions, and drink massive amounts of Fundamentalist kool-aid. Fortunately, on the national scale, they are few. But there are just enough of them to frustrate many of us Liberal educators.
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soonergirl Donating Member (2 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-05-06 10:29 PM
Response to Reply #35
46. Nancy is only the beginning
Hi,

I'm new to this site. I am a teacher from Oklahoma. Nancy Riley's defection is big news here. My union, OEA, NEA branch, has about 40,000 members state wide. Sixty percent of that membership is republican. I'm amazed that neither republicans nor democrats in my state realize that. Many republican lawmakers angered their base through abusive e-mails and insulting actions at the state capitol, thinking they were responding to lefties. It is about to blow wide open. I'm glad Nancy's shaking things up! :)
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Dying Eagle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 04:56 PM
Response to Original message
41. Welcome to the light Sen. Riley
:patriot: :applause: :yourock:
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lies and propaganda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
42. woohoo! congrats to my parents who have to live there
if they could only get colburn to just resign.
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Kazak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
43. Yeah, this made PAGE 2 (!!) of my local paper...
*ahem*
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MODemocrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-04-06 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
45. I hope they're sincere in their switch-over
My fear is that they're going to get elected by the democratic party, and then just switch back to the republican party, even if it's after Bush is out of office. I hope my fear is unfounded.
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