Chicken-Fried News: Signs of times

On a recent dusky evening, the esteemed Chicken-Fried News panel gathered around its clairvoyant oracle, which we set up last Thursday in the office break room after Scott Pruitt’s voodoo doll got boring.

“Oh ye mystical powers of the universe,” we howled in unison, “if’t be true that Oklahoma is a state locked in ceaseless political coil, we asketh thee to please showeth a sign. Or perhaps the absence of a sign?”

A sudden clap of thunder rumbled from outside. The protein-rich broth of 100 Braum’s chocolate shakes boiled over from inside our large, iron cauldron. Then all became clear.

Yes, U.S. District 5 Democratic candidate Tom Guild, our mighty oracle (via some lightning-fast camera action by local insurance agent Mark Mann) revealed your attempt to stealthily pluck the campaign signs of primary competitor Kendra Horn along Classen Boulevard.

While your actions are surprising, it was oddly refreshing to see you fess up to the misdeed when questioned about it by NewsOK.

“Sometimes, in the heat of a campaign, mistakes are made,” you told the site. “On reflection, removing some of my opponents signs — for any reason — was a mistake on my part for which I sincerely apologize.”

It is nice to hear an apology, but we are not sure this qualifies as a “mistake.” In fact, the photographic evidence looks pretty deliberate in nature.

It’s not clear how much the bad press around the incident affected Guild’s campaign, but he garnered 17.9 percent of the district’s primary vote compared to Horn’s 43.8 percent. Still, because Horn did not quite pass the 50 percent threshold, Guild will compete against Horn in an Aug. 28 primary runoff. If Guild doesn’t want to get crushed in August, he might consider taking up his own signs and bowing out of this one.

Still, Guild was not the only one our oracle showed tampering with local signs. Nancy Anthony, wife of Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony, was photographed campaigning for her husband just a few feet away from pushed down signs of Democratic gubernatorial candidates Drew Edmondson and Connie Johnson.

If it is true that Nancy Anthony leveled those signs, as social media posters have said she admitted to doing, it is troubling because she is also executive director of Oklahoma City Community Foundation, one of the city’s largest philanthropic organizations. It is also quite curious, as Edmondson and Johnson were running for a completely unrelated seat on the opposite primary party ticket as Anthony.

But hey, fierce political polarization is just a figment of the media’s imagination, right? Anthony is set to square off against former Senate Pro Tempore Brian Bingman in the Republican runoff.

And while this is where our Chicken-Fried oracle puttered out, rest assured knowing political hijinks are not likely to end anytime soon in this state. We’ve got our tactical pants on, so you know we’re on the edge of our seats.