Pam Pollard remembers the glory days of Oklahoma’s Republican Party and she wants to bring them back. That is why she decided to run for state chair after former Chairman Randy Brogdon announced his resignation in September.
The election will be decided at a meeting of the Republican state committee on October 11th. Robert Hubbard and Oklahoma Republican Party Vice-Chair Estela Hernandez, now interim chair, are also seeking the post. Pollard ran for state chair last April when Brogdon was elected.
“I have seen a finely tuned, well-run machine and the results that can offer our candidates and I have seen our party when it’s kind of stumbling,” Pollard said. “I want to bring our well-run, finely tuned machine back.”
Pollard has been involved in Republican politics for many years. She is the current president of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women, served two years as a vice chair for the Oklahoma Republican Party and is president of Pollard Campaign Accounting and Consulting. Pollard touts her 25 years of experience as an accountant, along with her political work as the reasons she is qualified for the chairmanship.
Pollard claims to have served on every committee in the state party in addition to being a two-term chairman of the Oklahoma County Republican Party and a state vice-chairman. She added that she was the driving force behind Oklahoma GOP University (OKGOPU). OKGOPU was a program to train committee members. She said she would bring the same drive and energy she dedicated to those tasks to state committee’s top spot.
“I believe I am the person to bring leadership back to the Oklahoma Republican Party,” she said.
As an accountant, Pollard said she understands the challenges facing businesses today. And that includes the Oklahoma Republican Party. She pointed out that new laws, such as the Affordable Care Act, have changed the way business is done. Pollard believes she can help guide the state organization through the intricacies of campaign finance, healthcare and other laws and regulations. But, she said her biggest responsibilities would be uniting the party and equipping committee members to spread the party’s brand message throughout the state.
She said she would work to unite various party factions. As state chair she would train volunteers to recruit and support candidates. The objective would be to unite the groups for success in all of Oklahoma’s 77 counties. A major part of her plan, and what she said is one of the state chairman’s main responsibilities, is effective fundraising. She said that as a county chair she raised more than $100,000 and as president of the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women she exceeded her fundraising goal by 10 percent for two years running.
“I know the donors and the donors know me,” Pollard said. “I understand what it takes to get people involved.”
Pollard said her expertise in campaign funding was on display in an incident that occurred shortly after she took office as the Oklahoma County chair. She said that the 2004 election – which wrapped up before she took the county chair position – was the first in which the “Victory” campaign was used in Oklahoma. Under the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform law, certain funding can be used by all candidates for polling and other campaign work. Since 2004 was the first time for this to be done in Oklahoma, Pollard said the State Ethics Commission looked into the program to ensure there were no improprieties.
“There was no wrongdoing found,” Pollard said.
In the end, Pollard said, she believes she is the most qualified candidate for the state chairmanship. She vowed to ensure all voices are heard while keeping the party focused on pushing the Republican message in Oklahoma. She said she would do that by working to unite the party based on shared values and ideas.
“I embrace diversity, but sometimes we lose focus on why we are doing something,” Pollard said. “We need to remember who the enemy is. And it is not someone else who is trying to work for fellow Republicans.”