Yukon rancher and former Canadian County Republican Chairman Robert Hubbard is vying for the post of Oklahoma Republican Party State Chairman after the sudden resignation of former state Chairman Randy Brogdon this September.
The election will be decided at a meeting of the Republican state committee on October 11th. Pam Pollard, Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women’s Club Chair 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.
When asked why he is running to fill Brogdon’s unexpired term Hubbard’s answer was straightforward, “Some people called me up and asked me if I would run and I said I would.”
Hubbard is the only candidate vying for the post not involved in the drama that followed Brogdon’s election.
As chairman Hubbard says he will make the party organization “user -friendly” and himself approachable. He cites his background running the Paint Horse Association and his church credit union as examples of his organizational experience. He says he will set up a “first class” organization in marketing, financial soundness and technical innovation. He promises that all the financial reports, both state and federal, will be reported on time.
Hubbard plans on utilizing young Republicans to build the party if elected. He says they are technically savvy and very important to reaching other young people with the Republican message. One particular thing he wants to do is open an office for the Young Republicans in the state party headquarters.
As a rancher Hubbard likes folksy phrases. When it comes to party unity he stated. “There is an old saying that I learned as a young man, ‘A mule can’t kick while he pulls, or pull while he kicks.’ In my minds eye, I see all of us pulling together, having fun, building lasting relationships, and helping bring this nation back to our place as the greatest nation on earth.”
Hubbard cites his campaign and business background as qualifications for Republican state chair. In 2010 Hubbard ran for governor and in 2014 he ran for Congress against 21 year incumbent Frank Lucas. “I’m a big believer in term limits and Frank’s been there a long time.” He received 12 percent in the Republican primary. “I didn’t have a million dollars to spend,” he said explaining his poor showing in that primary.
While Hubbard has been an unsuccessful candidate he has fared better as a businessman and Republican county chairman. Hubbard claims from the years 2011 to 2014, while he was serving as chairman of the Canadian County party, Republican voter registration increased by an average of 890 a year. “Canadian County is the reddest of the red counties,” he said.
Hubbard started a credit union for members of his Nazarene Church. He claims to have raised five million dollars for the credit union in four years time. “People in the denomination could help others within the denomination by lending each other money at a good interest rate.”
He was President of the Oklahoma Paint Horse Association in 1989-1990 and 1993. Of his time at the helm of the Paint Horse Association he said he is most proud of the 1993 show he hosted, “It was the largest paint horse show in Oklahoma City outside of the international show held in Forth Worth.” Hubbard said the horse show business is a boom to Oklahoma City grossing about 200 million a year for the local economy.
Regarding the sudden resignation of Randy Brogdon as state chair, Hubbard said it was unfortunate. “I ran with him [Brogdon] in 2010, that’s how I got to know him.” He said he thought Brogdon was gracious to step aside given the strife between factions in the party.
One activist calls Hubbard’s bid to replace Brogdon a long shot at best. When asked about this Hubbard was undeterred. He wants to be state chairman and believes himself to have the most life experience in working with others to make a good chairman.