Stitt attack ad cites Pawhuska Journal-Capital in unsubstantiated claim against Hofmeister

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s re-election campaign recently began airing a television ad citing a March 28, 2018, article in the Pawhuska Journal-Capital as evidence that his opponent, the state superintendent for instruction public Joy Hofmeister, is hostile to the oil and gas industry. .

The claim is clearly not supported by the article – titled “House OK Professor Rises”. The article was also published in this newspaper at the time. Both newspapers are now owned by Gannett Co.

The story described the actions taken by the majority of the Oklahoma House of Representatives to pass a Republican-led revenue bill to pay raises for public school teachers in the state.

The House voted, 79 to 19, including 51 “yes” votes from Republicans, to pass a measure that would raise the gross oil and gas tax by 3% for three years, a 3 cent increase gasoline tax and a 6 cent increase in the diesel fuel tax.

Hofmeister, who was state superintendent of public schools at the time, was quoted in the article as saying, “The Oklahoma House of Representatives have worked together in a display of admirable bipartisanship to strengthen public education. of our nearly 700,000 school children across the state. These measures finally ensure that dedicated and hardworking teachers in Oklahoma’s public schools receive a well-deserved competitive salary.

“We know that increasing teacher salaries is not a panacea for our state’s crippling teacher shortage, but it would put us firmly on the right track to retain our engaged educators and recruit new teachers into the profession. “, continued Hofmeister in the story. “Without a salary increase for teachers, an already devastating situation will only get worse, with children being the ultimate victims.”

Hofmeister said nothing for the story that reflected any hostility toward the oil and gas industry, or any desire to charge the public more for a specific product or service. She also did not comment on what state and national policy should be on oil and gas issues.

In the language of the press release on its website, the Stitt campaign said of the TV ad, “New TV ad links Hofmeister’s record to failed Biden energy policies.” The governor’s campaign added the claim that Hofmeister’s record on oil and gas issues “reflects the agenda of the National Democratic Party and Joe Biden.”

The point at which the ad references the March 28, 2018 story in the Pawhuska Journal-Capital is when the spot’s narrator says, “Hofmeister wants higher taxes at the gas pump and she supported higher taxes on oil and gas production. .”

The TV commercial began airing on October 12.

The House bill also included a $1-per-pack tax increase on cigarettes and the creation of a $5-per-night tax on hotel and motel lodging, according to the story.

It was therefore a bipartisan measure that sought to generate revenue from a mix of sources. It wasn’t just about oil and gas. The House passed the bill just days before a possible teachers’ strike in early spring 2018.

Slightly different versions of the print report appeared in the Journal-Capital and the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise. The story was published nearly three years before Joe Biden became president, at a time when he held no office.

The majority of the story dealt with the actions and opinions of state officials who supported or opposed the bill to increase teacher pay. For example, then Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, supported the measure while Rep. Sean Roberts, R-Hominy, opposed it. The only point in the story where Hofmeister is mentioned is when a quote from her, praising the House for passing the bill, is included.

Evan Onstot, an anchor for the ABC KOCO television affiliate in Oklahoma City, posted a print article online Oct. 19 titled “Test of Truth: New Ad Targeting Joy Hofmeister’s Oil and Gas Tax Record.” gas “. Onstot called the ad “misleading” because the article in the Journal-Capital was about a legislative vote to raise teachers’ salaries, not gasoline taxes.

Hofmeister’s campaign said in a statement posted online that the Stitt campaign announcement was “false.”

“The recent publicity claiming that I support Joe Biden’s energy policy and would join the attacks on Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry is false,” Hofmeister said in his response press release. country.

The Journal-Capital emailed Donelle Harder, who is Stitt’s campaign manager, asking to comment on the TV ad. She did not respond in time for the publication of this story by the Journal-Capital.

The Republican Governors Association Political Action Committee followed the Stitt campaign publicity, running ads that repeated the attack on Hofmeister’s alleged oil and gas views, and also quoted the Journal-Capital .

Comments are closed.