EDMOND, Okla. — The six Democratic candidates in #OK05 will take part in their first — and likely only — debate, beginning in a few minutes.
Organizers with the Edmond Democratic Women were expecting all six candidates to be here but Leona Kelley-Leonard is not. After some discussion, organizers have opted to begin the forum without her. There are about 75 people in attendance. #EDWForum
Here’s the panel (the seated people). From left to right: Tyson Meade, Elysabeth Britt, Tom Guild, Kendra Horn and Ed Porter. #EDWForum
Format: One minute open. Then three categories: gun control, health care, education. Each candidate will get a different question, three minutes to answer. Then one minute closing. #EDWForum
Kendra Horn is up first. She says her parents taught her to invest in people. As an advocate, she has worked on important women's issues, she says. "I believe in common-sense solutions." #EDWForum
Tom Guild is up next. "I was born into poverty and abuse in Wichita, Kansas," he begins. He says he lived the American Dream as a college professor. "I want to be in Congress so I can help other people" reach their dreams. #EDWForum
Ed Porter up next. "I am Ed Porter. I am not a politician but I learned at an early age you stand up for what you believe in." He says he decided to run when he saw congressmen in Oklahoma back Donald Trump. #EDWForum
Elysabeth Britt now. "I have lived pretty much all around the state." She explains her background in the Marines. "I joined this race to facilitate change." We need people to cross boundaries, she says. #EDWForum
Tyson Todd Meade up last. He says he's proud of the other Democrats. "We're all different choices but I think we're all great choices." He explains his history in music. "I feel like this is the Academy Awards. I'm also a goofball," he says with a laugh. #EDWForum
First question: Would you support a bill allowing police to remove a gun from a domestic violence incident without a court order? Guild, a former law professor: "I don't think I would support such a bill. I think the U.S. Constitution applies to this situation." #EDWForum
Second question: Would you support allowing CDC to research gun violence? Horn: "This is a fantastic question." Does support. She says common sense reforms are needed, bashes Congress for restricting research. "We need to ban gun stocks and high-capacity magazines." #EDWForum
Third question: Would you support requiring background checks for all gun purchases? Britt: "I do actually support a measure like this." After Parkland, she says she expanded her gun proposals on her website. Revamping background checks was one of those policy points. #EDWForum
Quick side note: The debate is being live-streamed here: facebook.com/edmonddemocrat…
Fourth question: Would you support reinstating federal assault weapons ban? Porter: "Yes, I would want that assault weapon ban brought back." "It is the assault weapons that are killing people." He says they kill quickly, in high numbers. Mental illness can't be ignored #EDWForum
Porter breaks with Guild, answers his previous question by saying yes, guns should be taken away in cases of domestic violence. He says he lost a grandson to suicide. "People are fighting wars every day right here in their heads." Need more services, he says. #EDWForum
Question for Meade: Which is more important: restricting access to guns, stopping large magazines, improving access to mental health? Meade: "All of these are equally important." Hunters are conscientious but don't need assault guns. "They are for nothing but murder." #EDWForum
Meade: "Treat guns like you would treat getting a driver's license, like you would restrict driving."
One question for all candidates: Would you accept NRA contributions? Porter: No. Horn: No. Guild: No, I don't accept any PAC donations. Britt: I do not. Meade: Absolutely not.
Health care now. Porter gets first question: Do you agree repealing individual mandate was a mistake? Porter: "I believe health care is something that is a right of every person." He's talking about a veteran with PTSD who couldn't get care. He bashes Medicaid work requirements.
Britt gets next question: Should the ACA be salvaged? Britt: "That's a tough question." Neither party can figure out what to do, she says. She opposes the individual mandate. She bought insurance through the exchange. It was "a half-measure." Can it be salvaged? "I don't know."
Britt: "We must take care of people. That's what I believe. I would like to find a solution that does that." It's within our grasp to do so, she says. #EDWForum
Meade gets last question, on single-payer. Meade: "I'm glad you asked me that question." He's thrilled. He's describing a Chainsaw Kittens show where the drummer got sick, Stage 4 cancer, and no health insurance. "He was gone within a month." He supports single-payer. #EDWForum
Horn is up next: Should Medicare be offered to all who want to participate? Horn: "Health care is absolutely a right. It is not a privilege." No one should go bankrupt from health expenses. Her mother is a physical therapist who serves patients regardless if they could pay.
Horn: "I don't know if Medicare for all is the one right answer. I know we have to pay for it." But all people should be able to get medical coverage, she says. "Our health care system is messed up from top to bottom." #EDWForum
Question: What elements of other countries' health care systems do you support? Guild: His sister died of pneumonia as a child, keeps a photo of her. "I favor Medicare for all." He backs a Bernie Sanders bill. "It's time we get universal health care in this country." #EDWForum
Guild: "It is a crying shame in this country that we allow people to go bankrupt, that we allow people to get sick and die." Medicare for all is the only answer, he says. #EDWForum
On to education. Britt is asked whether Devos's charter school funding plan is a good idea. "I don't like the idea." Private schools shouldn't get public funding, Britt says. Britt says she met Gov. Fallin at lunch. Pushed for an education commission. Waiting on Fallin. #EDWForum
Porter is asked about Title IX, whether Obama expansion should be brought back. Porter: "Yep...absolutely." Oklahoma is near the bottom in K-12 and secondary education, he says. "There is no reason for that." GOP doesn't believe in local control on education, he says. #EDWForum
Meade is asked whether Devos's changes to education have been positive. Meade: "She just scares me. She just scares me." He says he had student loans after leaving music. "If Betsy had been in charge," he likely wouldn't have gotten a degree at OU, he says. #EDWForum
Meade: "I will go on record saying I do not agree with Betsy (Devos)," he says with a laugh. #EDWForum
Guild is asked whether he supports tuition-free education. Guild: "I think the pilot programs are fine. I hope they work out." He backs a Bernie Sanders plan to tax Wall Street transactions to pay for it. Guild says Betsy DeVos should leave office. #EDWForum
Guild: "Greatly" increase Pell Grant funding, allow student loans to borrow at two percent and refinance their loans. A rare Trump mention: Guild says bankruptcy laws are rigged to favor the Trumps of the world and not students. #EDWForum
Horn gets last education question: What has caused U.S. students to lag behind? Horn: "Fantastic question." Trump administration appoints people who don't believe in work they're supposed to do, she says. "Student loan debt should not crush someone" for their lives. #EDWForum
Horn: "We need to expand loan forgiveness programs," especially when serving under-served communities. Career tech in education is a national model, she says. Horn says she has the endorsement of AFL-CIO because she backs workforce training. #EDWForum
Closing statements have been expanded to two minutes. Meade: "I want everyone to win. Is it possible we can all win, except Steve Russell?"

"I want Oklahoma to move forward and I will do anything. I mean, anything legal," he says with a hearty laugh. #EDWForum
Meade: "I would bring a national spotlight to this seat. I've already gotten my friends around the country united. Because, first of all, it's kind of melted people's brains that I'm running for Congress." #EDWForum
Horn: Equal pay, paid family leave and sexual assaults haven't been discussed. Oklahoma is at the top and bottom of too many lists we shouldn't be. If elected, she will be only the third congresswoman from OK, and the first Democrat. "We can flip this seat in November." #EDWForum
Guild: "Mary Fallin has set back women's rights considerably." He calls for outlining bump stocks, adding universal background checks, expanding mental health coverage, raising age to purchase guns to 21, ban manufacture of military-style assault weapons. #EDWForum
Porter: "This election is truly about people. It's about people who are hurting." He has family and friends in the Republican Party, says reasonable people should work across party lines, ignore party bosses. Oklahoma priorities are wrong, leading to high incarceration. #EDWForum
Britt: "I got in this race because I believe what I believe and I'm ready to fight." This has been fun. "I love getting up here and I love fighting." She says she will bring the GOP into a room and work with them to find compromise. "I'm ready to go to bat for you." #EDWForum
After 90 minutes, that's a wrap from the #EDWForum.

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More from @JustinWingerter

Aug 10, 2018
JUST IN: After a nearly five-year investigation, the House Ethics Committee has told @RepMullin to repay $40,000 to a company he wasn't supposed to have ownership in.
The report largely clears Mullin of everything but an accounting error. He had been accused of unethically endorsing his former company and receiving outside income beyond what is allowed. ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.h…
This, from today's report, is the crux of the matter: ethics.house.gov/sites/ethics.h…
Read 5 tweets
May 11, 2018
THREAD: Through open records requests and interviews, I’ve come across what is either an incredible coincidence or highly suspicious behavior by the Oklahoma attorney general related to the Tar Creek corruption case.

Follow along as I explain. It won’t take long. (1/7)
As you’ll recall, Oklahoma AG Mike Hunter fought an open records lawsuit for six months between November and April as part of an unprecedented effort by he and his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, to prohibit release of the state’s investigation into Tar Creek. newsok.com/concealment-of…
Then, on April 9, Hunter inexplicably ended the legal battle and released the Tar Creek audit, much to the surprise of plaintiffs, auditors and, well, just about everyone.

Why release the audit on April 9 after fighting it for so long? I think I may have found the answer. (3/7)
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Apr 26, 2018
Scott Pruitt has arrived at @HouseCommerce's Environment Subcommittee for his first of two congressional hearings. Chairman Shimkus begins with praise for Pruitt's work on Superfund and other matters. "Much of" press coverage is a distraction but can't be ignored, he says.
Rep. Tonko, the subcommittee's top Democrat, says Trump's proposed cuts at EPA will allow polluters to set the agenda. (Ostensibly, the hearing is about EPA's budget). "No regard for scientific evidence" at Pruitt's EPA, he says. Pruitt is "a frequent subject of investigation."
Tonko says he's concerned the EPA inspector general won't have significant funds to investigate Pruitt's "seemingly endless misconduct." He tells Pruitt he has failed as a steward of taxpayer funds and the environment and has failed to show contrition.
Read 40 tweets
Apr 13, 2018
I've been thinking lately about whether the controversies surrounding Scott Pruitt will damage him if he runs for higher office in Oklahoma.

I've also been talking with politicos much wiser than myself about it. Here's a thread on what I learned, in case you're interested. 1/14
First things first: There's no guarantee the seat Pruitt has long been rumored to be seeking, Inhofe's Senate seat, will be open in 2020. Below is what Inhofe told the National Journal last month.

Inhofe will be 85 years old when the election rolls around. But he may run again.
But let's assume for a minute that Inhofe retires and Pruitt runs in 2020. It's safe to assume these controversies will show up in GOP primary TV ads, especially the issues involving lavish spending. Painting your opponent as a rich, out-of-touch Washingtonian is smart politics.
Read 14 tweets
Mar 28, 2018
Yesterday, I was at a congressional town hall meeting in a small Oklahoma town when something strange happened. It has happened to me before, in other small towns in other states, and I think it says something about society. Maybe I'm overstating this. You can be the judge. (1/8)
During a lengthy back-and-forth with the congressman, an older gentleman repeatedly criticized "the media" for what he considered to be unpatriotic, unconstitutional and otherwise unseemly behavior. This is commonplace at some small-town gatherings and I'm well accustomed to it.
What happened after the meeting is what I want to talk about. The man came over to me, shook my hand and stressed he wasn't referring to me when he called journalists God-hating hacks, he was referring to "the media." He wanted me to know that I seem friendly and professional.
Read 8 tweets

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