Patrick B. McGuigan
Edmond, OK - Paul Blair, who ran a passionate but unsuccessful campaign for state Senate in District 41, announced he is terminating his lawsuit against a political action committee over controversial advertisements attacking him over business fees.
Blair had previously dropped his opponent in the June 26 Republican primary from the litigation. In a statement sent Friday (July 13) to CapitolBeatOK, Blair said:
“Oklahoma is a great state with the potential for an even greater future. For us to achieve that great future, it is imperative that candidates for office run races on issues and ideas and that voters have open access to the truth without political spin and character assassination. Together, we the people of Oklahoma can achieve that goal and change the modern political climate which discourages good people from running for public office.
“The campaign for Senate District 41 was never about me. The goal was to better serve my state and the constituents in my district. Although the campaign perpetrated on the citizens of Senate District 41 was monumental in its distortions, my family and friends have decided that it is in our best interest and the interest of the citizens of Oklahoma to terminate the lawsuit at this time.”
Blair is pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond. He was a prominent speaker at last weekend’s rally for health care independence, organized by the Oklahoma Tenth Amendment Center.
This week, Blair’s opponent in the June 26 primary, incumbent Republican Senator Clark Jolley, had said he appreciated Blair’s decision a few days ago to drop him as a party to the lawsuit. Jolley also said the state Ethics Commission had ended its investigation of his Senate campaign.
The Coalition for Oklahoma’s Future PAC, an independent organization not controlled by Jolley, invested massively in the District 41 race with television spots supporting the powerful Appropriations and Budget Committee chairman and opposing the Baptist preacher and conservative activist.
The spots drew massive critical scrutiny. The ads in question asserted Blair had not paid business taxes. The reference was to $25 franchise fees.
In the campaign’s final days, Blair called on supporters of the independent PAC, including several major local businesses, to “disassociate themselves from what has been one of the most seedy and underhanded campaign strategies that I have ever witnessed in Oklahoma.”
Blair ran as a multi-issue conservative, focused primarily on “Tea Party” economics and constitutional issues, while advancing his long-standing social concerns. He focused frequently, and critically, on state government spending. Blair cast Jolley as a moderate. The race was competitive, and turned sharply negative, Blair contends, after the independent PAC’s literature and ads engaged in “character assassination.”
Blair also said campaign literature circulated in the race included “deceptive mail pieces which were followed by phone calls alleging that my vending business had been involved in scandal, then outright calling me a liar on radio ads.” Claims that he had had tax problems are “absolutely not true,” Blair maintained consistently.
David F. Johnson -- a certified public accountant who has since the 1980s prepared income tax returns, franchise tax returns and other things required to do business for Blair and for companies had has owned, operated or been associated with – defended Blair in a June letter.
Johnson says his own knowledge and examination of websites of the state tax commission and secretary of state records “did not find a single instance of any delinquency filing, failure to file, any wrongdoing or anything inappropriate.”
He told Blair, in the widely circulated letter, “in no case was any business owned or operated by you ever forced out of business by failing to comply with all the rules and regulations of the State of Oklahoma or any other regulatory agency.”
Johnson added, “All the businesses you have been associated with, owned and/or operated have always paid their taxes. And you have always filed and paid your personal taxes.”
Rev. Blair was an all-American lineman at Oklahoma State University before playing several years for the Chicago Bears in the National Football League.
Blair is a widely published writer and a leader in the “Black Robe Regiment,” an interdenominational group of Christian pastors working to educate, motivate and active Church leaders to address cultural and political challenges in America.
Pastor Blair has frequently addressed meetings of “Reclaiming America for Christ,” a national group founded in 2005 by Rev. D. James Kennedy. The group’s national meeting is July 25-27 in Moore, Oklahoma.