Okla. GOP Under Fire For Having Domestic Violence Convict As Top Staffer

In this photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, Thomas Ryan is pictured in a 2012 booking photo. Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, the Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, has publicly defended his ... In this photo provided by the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office, Thomas Ryan is pictured in a 2012 booking photo. Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, the Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, has publicly defended his hiring of Thomas Clint Ryan, who court records show pleaded guilty in 2012 to domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interference with an emergency telephone call, both misdemeanors. (Tulsa County Sheriff's Office via AP) MORE LESS
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As potential 2016 presidential contenders gathered Thursday in Oklahoma City for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, the state’s Republican Party was coming under fire for employing a staffer convicted of domestic violence.

Randy Brogdon, who was elected to the state GOP chairmanship in April, demoted his pick for executive director last week after Republican Party members and legislators expressed concern about the appointee’s history of domestic violence, according to The Oklahoman newspaper.

Thomas Clint “T.C.” Ryan, 31, pleaded guilty in 2012 to domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interference with an emergency telephone call, according to the newspaper. News reports about the state party infighting haven’t divulged further details of the assault. Court documents available online don’t shed light on the particulars, either.

The backlash against the state party comes as Republican presidential candidate and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is expected to headline a Friday night fundraiser for the Oklahoma GOP. Cruz’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment from Buzzfeed’s McKay Coppins.

Last week, Oklahoma’s three Republican female state senators — A.J. Griffin, Kim David and Stephanie Bice — issued a statement calling for Ryan’s resignation and for the party to take a firm stance against domestic violence.

“While we certainly believe in redemption and reconciliation, we also believe there are consequences to actions,” Bice said in the statement, as quoted by The Oklahoman. “For the good of the party we believe Ryan should resign permanently.”

But so far, Ryan has refused to step down from the organization and Brogdon has defended him against calls to force him out.

Brogdon suggested those demanding Ryan’s resignation were “bigoted” Friday at a Tulsa County Republican Club luncheon. The comment came in response to a question about how the state GOP would explain Ryan’s presence to national Republicans at the conference, according to video of the event.

“For humor – when we, at this national Southern Republican Leadership Conference, have an opportunity to meet these prominent Republican leaders –should we explain T.C.’s appearance as channeling Duck Dynasty or ZZ Top?” the attendee asked.

“Only if you want to be bigoted,” Brogdon responded.

“This guy is a tremendous individual that’s been dragged through the mud by Republicans and I resent it,” the chairman continued. “Drag me through the mud, not T.C. He doesn’t deserve this. He’s paid his debt to society. Let’s move on.”

Some lawmakers still aren’t buying Brogdon’s full-throated defense of Ryan.

“It is totally unacceptable for someone with that recent criminal background of that nature to be employed in any capacity by the Oklahoma Republican Party,” state Sen. David Holt (R) told the Associated Press on Wednesday. “I have zero tolerance for domestic violence, and I believe that my political party should feel the same way.”

Brogdon previously told The Oklahoman that neither he nor Ryan pull a salary from the state party.

Image: Thomas Clint Ryan’s 2012 mugshot via the Associated Press.

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Notable Replies

  1. How’s that outreach to moderate women working for you, Pubbies?

  2. move along… no war on women here…

  3. Randy Brogdon picked this guy to be his Executive Director? Neck tats and lip piercings? He looks like no Republican staffer I ever saw.

  4. Avatar for dd40 dd40 says:

    All good Pubbies know that government has no business sticking its nose in what goes on between a man and his wife except when all good Pubbies want the government to tell the man’s wife or girlfriend how to handle a pregnancy.

  5. Avatar for pine pine says:

    Maybe there’s someone out there who is leading “TC” by example someone held in high regards in pubbies circle.

    " New details from Bill O’Reilly’s custody trial paint him as absent father with violent, unpredictable temper
    Teen daughter says he’s too old to “act like an idiot” when he’s angry "

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