T.W. Shannon: “His name alone!” Sarah Palin exclaimed at a large, nearly all-white rally of supporters for Mr. Shannon in Tulsa last month. “Oh, my goodness, he is — he’s it. He is the whole package.”
But with Shannon – a Native American conservative – will the establishment GOP circle the wagons? Get it? .. forget it – watch the video:
But other conservatives are plainly uncomfortable with such tactics. Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who was also at the rally, said in an interview, “Rather than engage in identity politics and smear campaigns, which is the specialty, sadly, of the modern Democratic Party, we ought to be discussing how to turn this country around.”
Yet the statement that Mr. Shannon’s election would make is much on the minds of Oklahoma Republicans, some of whom think he could pierce stereotypes about their state and party.
Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, the group advertising on Mr. Shannon’s behalf, is structured under a section of the tax code that does not require disclosure of its donors. An official with the group would not discuss the identities of its donors, but people familiar with the contributions acknowledged that it had received tribal money.
It is one of the first measures of Native Americans gaining political strength, a role likely to endure whether or not Mr. Shannon wins.
“Most people didn’t worry about the Indians in part because they were everywhere, they sort of looked like everybody else, they sort of lived like everybody else,” said Keith Gaddie, a University of Oklahoma political science professor. “Nobody cared about Native Americans until they got money.”