Earlier today, John Boehner revealed what’s on his mind and the minds of the entire Chamber of Commerce/K Street/Fox News axis who are committed to the cause of #NeverCruz. They will target anyone who adheres to the Republican platform and upholds their campaigns promise to those who elected them. The same players who detest Ted Cruz have now recruited a straw man RINO to run against Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), one of the most intrepid conservatives in the House of Representatives.
Jim Bridenstine is running for his third and final term to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District, as he has pledged to serve no longer than six years. But the Boehner, K Street-types cannot afford even one more term of a man who listens to the people of Tulsa instead of the special interests. Tom Atkinson, a wealthy owner of an oil company, has been recruited to run against Jim and has publicly promised to spend up to $1 million in this very cheap media market.
Just to illustrate the contrast between grassroots primary challenges that begin with a groundswell but not much money, Atkinson has no support from the people but is already up on radio and TV with plasticated ads ahead of the June 28 primary. He has not made a single public appearance, held a single press conference or engaged in electioneering, yet he is already up on the air. Atkinson hasn’t shown up to the district convention or any other party event. His strategy is to hide behind his money and hope nobody finds out his true identity.
Well, who is Tom Atkinson? He is the quintessential wealthy trans-ideological Republican. He donated to a liberal Democrat, Kathy Taylor, who ran against the Republican mayor of Tulsa. That Republican mayor, Dewey Bartlett, is Tom Atkinson’s own brother-in-law! Atkinson has tapped Shane Saunders, a former aid to John Sullivan, the RINO Bridenstine defeated in 2012 who was known to be close with Boehner as well.
On Atkinson’s campaign website and in his ads, he sells himself as a conservative and not a politician. But how could a conservative donate to a prominent Democrat who funded Emily’s List and held fundraisers for Joe Biden? More importantly, how can a conservative “non-politician” challenge the only member of the state’s delegation who is indeed a conservative and not a politician? Atkinson feigns outrage over illegal immigration on his website, but he is challenging the one man in the delegation who stood up to Obama’s amnesty, the very impetus for Boehner’s recruitment against him!
Let’s examine the Liberty Scores® of each member from the Oklahoma delegation:
Jim Bridenstine (CD-1) – 96%
Markwayne Mullin (CD-2)- 59%**
Frank Lucas (CD-3) – 39%
Tom Cole (CD-4) – 40%
Steve Russell (CD-5)– 50%
Does anything stand out here?
Clearly, Tom Atkinson, his rich local friends who are best buddies with John Boehner, and his K Street backers in D.C. want the first district to be like the rest of the delegation, not vice-versa. They don’t want a citizen legislator in CD-1; they want a career politician in the mold of those serving in the other districts so that the Tulsa representative doesn’t embarrass the K Street/Paul Ryan bootlickers in the rest of the state. Tom Atkinson is merely the drive-by conduit for them to strip Oklahoma of any conservative representation. Tom Atkinson would fit in perfectly with the politically bisexual Washington Cartel.
In March 2015, the American Action Network, a RINO group closely aligned with Boehner and K Street, spent hundreds of thousands on ads targeting Bridenstine and other House conservatives who opposed funding amnesty. You heard that right. Boehner’s allies were targeting Republicans for upholding their promise to block one of the most pernicious and unconstitutional policies in recent years. American Action Network, which is rapidly pro-amnesty and supports expanding H-1B visas at the cost of American workers as CR’s Michelle Malkin exposed earlier this year, had previously run ads in support of the Gang of Eight. Now they are promoting jailbreak.
At the time, there was so much backlash in Bridenstine’s district against the K Street amnesty PAC that they were forced to pull the ads.
It’s not hard to see that similar groups, if not AAN itself, are behind the random filing of this drive-by candidacy. Activists on the ground told me they received calls from D.C. push-polling against Bridenstine in March, but they were clearly not from Atkinson because the pollster was testing other potential opponents. Boehner’s allies were gunning for Jim for a while, but now they have their man.
This race is about a lot more than Jim Bridenstine. It’s about deterring any potential citizen legislator from doing the right thing and continuing the pale-pastel scam that is the modern Republican Party.
**Mullin has already drawn a challenger. Jarrin Jackson, a combat veteran, is a very strong candidate and I’ll be focusing on this race in the coming days.
This piece has been updated to clarify that it is former Rep. Sullivan who was friends with Boehner, not his aid Shane Saunders.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.