Halloween surprise: Late tactics target pro-lifers

By Patrick B. McGuigan

Published: 31-Oct-2010

Strongly pro-life legislators, including two with “perfect” answers on the Oklahomans for Life survey of candidates for positions in the state Legislature, have been targeted with late mailers, radio spots and/or television advertisements. The communications which hit Friday and Saturday of last week, were designed to mislead voters about their records on pro-life issues.

One of the state’s leading advocates of pro-life protections, Oklahoma Family Policy Council Executive Director Mike Jestes, issued a statement saying attempts to use his critical analysis of one bill last legislative session were unwelcome and inaccurate.

In statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, Jestes said: 

“Oklahoma Family Policy Council regrets the way in which our previous comments, which were internally directed at members of the Oklahoma Legislature, are now being used in partisan, political ways to scare concerned Oklahoma voters about the pro-life values of some very fine conservative, pro-life Oklahoma legislators.

“Unfortunately, many fine state legislators, including Rep. Ann Coody, Rep. Steve Martin, Rep. Jason Nelson, and possibly others, are being incorrectly characterized for partisan purposes as not pro-life.

“Their votes in 2010 over Senate Bill 1902 were about the regulation and control of Oklahoma’s equine and animal husbandry industry. There were not then — nor are there now — any documented problems in Oklahoma about veterinary drugs being used for back-alley abortions or date rape.

“The bill in question, S.B. 1902, was later, at our suggestion, amended in the Senate to correct any possible deficiencies and is now consistent with federal law.”

Jestes concluded: “Voters in these affected districts should exercise their common-sense about politics in the last few days before an important election. Check out the records of these legislators directly, or via well-known pro-life organizations like Oklahomans for Life. Don’t rely on charges by unknown political action committees. Don’t be fooled.”

Rep. Nelson, the incumbent in west Oklahoma City’s District 87, garnered a perfect “pro-life” rating on the 12-question survey of Oklahomans for Life (LINK), as did Ann Coody of Lawton (District 64).

Nelson’s opponent, Dana Orwig, did not answer the pro-life questionnaire; nor did Coody’s foe, Michael J. Corrales. Both Orwig and Corarales are Democrats. 

Steve Martin, the Republican incumbent in District 10 (Nowata, Osage and Washington counties), answered 11 of 12 questions in agreement with the Oklahomans for Life survey. His Democratic opponent, Nick Brown, agreed with Oklahomans for Life on ten questions, disagreed on one and did not answer another.

A key critic of S.B. 1902 who asked not to be identified told CapitolBeatOK on Saturday “it was the Dem [Democratic] House Political Action Committee who paid for the brochures.” Veterinarians involved in the fight over S.B. 1902 have also told CapitolBeatOK the mailer is distorted and inaccurate.

In interviews with CapitolBeatOK, Jestes made clear his earlier concerns about legislation relating to misuse of prescription medicines relating to veterinary medicine had been addressed in a series of Senate amendments.