Editor’s Notebook: Walker leads in Wisconsin, Murphy plans forums on horizontal drilling, Sen. Wyrick assails GRDA decisions

From an editor’s notebook: Republicans cautiously anticipate a win in Wisconsin, Dana Murphy schedules Corporation Commission forums on horizontal drilling, and a Democratic state Senator joins a chorus of critics of recent moves by the Grand River Dam Authority. 
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Reporting from Milwaukee for Politico, David Cantanese notes that Repubican Governor Scott Walker has led in every public opinion survey conducted since February.
Cantanese reports that Democrats have challenged sample sizes, timing and precision in the surveys, but that they cannot dispute the bottom line: Walker seems to have a five percent or so edge (seven percent in the latest Marquette University survey) on the eve of the most contentious recall election in modern Wisconsin history.

Moreover, the results come from across the spectrum in the polling profession. 

Cantanese wrote, “If Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is able to pull off a come-from-behind victory Tuesday, it would rejuvenate Democrats and breathe new life into the deflated labor movement. But if, as expected, Walker prevails, Republicans will view it as the second biggest electoral prize of the cycle, after the presidency.”

The Wisconsin recall battle has drawn national attention since last year.

Walker’s visit to Oklahoma City in April drew a packed house of supporters to an Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Citizenship Dinner – and hundreds of anti-Walker demonstrators outside the National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Center. 

Recent days have seen a wave of prominent Democrats hoping to resurrect Barrett’s chances to unseat Walker, who drew the fury of the state’s liberal and union activists for his steps to limit union power and reform state pension plans. Former President Bill Clinton, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Martin O’Malley of the Democratic Governors’ Association have campaigned for Barrett and against Walker in recent days.

On the Republican side, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a recent visit, and film star Chuck Norris has campaigned via his blog in support of Walker.                                         
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According to a press release circulated Monday (June 4), Dana Murphy of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission “is encouraging all interested parties to attend a Town Hall meeting on horizontal drilling and the 2011 Shale Reservoir Development Act (Act) in Chickasha on Thursday, June 7 at 6:00 p.m. at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Davis Hall Ampitheater, 1727 W. Alabama Avenue.”

The oil boom in Oklahoma and an increase in horizontal drilling in the Woodford Shale has drawn both concern and inquiries from surface owners, mineral owners, producers, and others, Commissioner Murphy says.
“Meetings on horizontal drilling held in McAlester, Clinton, Woodward, Enid and El Reno were very well attended, and we want to provide the opportunity for Oklahomans in and around Grady County,” Murphy commented. Murphy said Thursday’s session is planned to allow time for comments and questions form the audience. 
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State Senator Charles Wyrick, a Fairland Democrat, is calling for Greg Grodhaus, incoming chairman of the Grand River Dam Authority, to resign. Wyrick assailed what he calls “ill-conceived decisions” by the independent agency.

In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Wyrick said, “The vote to purchase a 40,000 square foot office building in Tulsa is just the latest in a series of decisions that fly in the face of common sense and the kind of responsiveness and stewardship GRDA owes the citizens of Northeastern Oklahoma. I understand Greg Grodhaus has openly claimed to be the architect of this plan, even though he knew the Governor, area legislators and our citizens had serious reservations about this decision.”

Wyrick continued, “While GRDA may not receive state appropriations, it is a state agency and as such, those who operate this agency should do so in good faith and with transparency.  Instead, we’ve seen an institutionalized attitude that this is the private turf of those in control, and they feel they have the right to run GRDA any way they see fit, without regard to the State of Oklahoma or its citizens.”

Wyrick concluded, “This is an attitude not of stewardship, but contempt for Northeastern Oklahoma. If Mr. Grodhaus doesn’t understand why this is a problem, then he definitely should resign.”