Calvey determined as GOP runoff nears

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 15-Aug-2010

Former state Rep. Kevin Calvey garnered 32.48% of the Republican primary vote in the Fifth Congressional District race on July 24, falling just 613 votes behind political newcomer James Lankford’s 33.58%. In the August 24 runoff, Calvey is determined to win.
“Obviously, things are fluid,”  Calvey told CapitolBeatOK. “I will defend my record and my character. My messages will include an emphasis on the fact that tough times requires tough leaders. We are in a battle for the future of our country, when you consider the effect of ObamaCare, cap-and-trade and excessive federal spending.”

Outlining “messaging” likely to characterize closing advertising and direct mail themes, Calvey said, “Many policies, and the new financial regulations from Washington, will inhibit investment at the moment we need it the most in our economy. Risk-takers are getting the wrong message, and the new wave of laws have triggered a whole host of negative economic consequences. In times like these, you don’t send in your greener troops to carry on the fight. … I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk.”
Calvey said he will reach voters “through every means necessary. Turnout will not necessarily be much lower. It fell only 12% in the 2006 runoff for this seat.”
Concerning critical news reports about his finances, Calvey said some coverage had disappointed him: “I had a stock option in return for legal and other services. I suggested that reporters who had questions could call Gen. Tom Stafford, also involved in the same opportunity, but they didn’t do that.”  
Calvey has three messages for voters: “First, when you’re faced with the huge problems we have in government, and the culture of overspending and lack of oversight, we need someone in Congress who is experienced in actually cutting government and monitoring spending. You need someone who won’t accept any excuses from the bureaucrats.
“Second, in the current state of the world, it is likely that Congress will again face decisions on whether or not to send troops – our sons and daughters — into danger to defend our interests. It is best to have someone in those decisions who a) has been willing themselves to go into harm’s way and who understands the cost in lives and treasure; and b) understands how to read intelligence reports. …
“Force is sometimes necessary to defend American interests, but it always has a cost. We must be able to assess those costs intelligently and assure use of force is the best option, and to look at viable alternatives when possible.
“Third, I have a proven record of standing strong for conservative principles. I’ve been tested by fire. In the right-to-work campaign, I fought hard even though my district wound up voting against the referendum.”
Calvey shared incidents from conservative causes he has advanced over his career, including these: “I filled in for Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau in a memorable right-to-work debate against Cal Hobson, and went up against liberals then and in many other contexts. I’ve been involved with the pro-life cause for two decades. These are the kinds of things I’ve done my whole career.”
The Oklahoman reported Saturday that Calvey has a strong campaign finance base. Through August 4, his overall cash advantage had stayed in place, with more than $190,000 in cash on hand to his opponent’s $56,000. In major contributions ($1,000 or more) since then, Calvey had raised another $39,000, to Lankford’s $48,000. 
Calvey told CapitolBeatOK in an interview this weekend, “I have some 2,100 grass roots conservative contributors. That’s the vast majority of my campaign contributions and has been from the start.”
Calvey has the endorsement of the Club for Growth, a national group primarily emphasizing economic issues, including taxes, spending and debt. He also has the support of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC). Also in his camp are the Revs. Paul Blair and Tom Vineyard, well-known Christian pastors in the Fifth District.
Early voting (walk-in absentee balloting at county election boards) begins Friday (August 20). For the final days in this sprint to the runoff, Calvey’s apparent cash-on-hand edge could help redirect momentum from Lankford’s narrow edge on primary day.
The opening for the job was created when U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin ran for governor. This fall, winner of this joust between the two Republicans will face Billy Coyle, an Oklahoma City lawyer who won the Democratic nod on July 27. Two independents, Clark Duffee and Dave White, will also be on the November election ballot.