A six person GOP primary for Oklahoma’s 2nd congressional district is coming up next week on June 26, and the race for the retiring Rep. Dan Boren brings about interesting issues with it. One of the candidates, Markwayne Mullin, a local businessman and rancher, released a poll last week showing him with a wide margin lead of 15 points to the second place GOP candidate.
It should be noted that the Mullin campaign paid for this poll and the margin of error was 4.9 percent. A candidate in the June 26 primary must get just over 50 percent in order to avoid a run-off.
However, if the poll of 400 registered Republicans in Oklahoma’s 2nd CD is an accurate one, Mr. Mullin should be looked at a little closer. One particular disturbing story circulating around local Tulsa media is a speculation that Mr. Mullin could face felony charges from a 2009 arrest of a Mullin Plumbing supervisor Timothy Lee Saylor.
Tulsa World reported in late May that in February of 2009 a police raid of Mullin’s business occurred:
Potentially more serious but less substantiated is the accusation, widely circulated via anonymous email, that Mullin could still face charges stemming from the 2009 arrest of Tim Saylor, a Mullin Plumbing employee.
According to court documents, Saylor - who had been convicted of gun-related felonies in California in the 1990s - was arrested when Broken Arrow police and federal agents recovered guns, ammunition and related items from Saylor’s office at Mullin Plumbing’s main office and from Saylor’s home.
Saylor ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and was sentenced to two years in federal prison.
Authorities questioned Mullin at the time of Saylor’s arrest. He acknowledged shooting with Saylor but said he did not know that Saylor was a felon.
Mullin told the Tulsa World that Saylor did not undergo his company’s usual background checks “because he had been an existing employee of a company bought by Mullin Plumbing. (Saylor) worked on commercial construction job sites only and was not involved in home service calls.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Wilson, chief of the Criminal Division for the Northern District of Oklahoma, said he could not respond to requests for information about possible investigations.
“I know people want to read that one way or the other, but they shouldn’t. We really can’t comment,” Wilson said.
The statute of limitations for federal gun crimes is five years.
The Claremore Daily Progress followed up on the story and reported some additional details of the case:
Saylor was charged with possession of a firearm by felon, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, knowingly concealing stolen property and obstruction of police.
Saylor, a felon, was previously convicted in California for multiple felonies including possession/manufacturing/selling dangerous weapons, threaten crime with the intent to terrorize, possession of explosive device, assault and battery, threats and assault with a caustic chemical.
Mullin’s employee [Saylor] had a large metal “Sentry” brand gun safe, measuring 5-feet tall and 2-feet wide in his office. This safe contained multiple firearms including a Smith and Wesson revolver that was registered stolen by the Yancey County Sheriff’s Office in Burnsville NC, according to court documents.
A Chinese pistol, owned by Mullin, was also seized during the search.
Mullin stated in the report that “he gave the pistol to Saylor ‘to clean’, that Saylor brought guns to his home to shoot for recreational purposes and that the gun safe was not his[Mullin’s].”
Officers were given consent by Mullin to search a company vehicle that only Saylor drove and found a large quantity of ammunition for firearms not found in the safe.
Federal case File cr-00073-GKF also includes a narrative of the investigation including statements by a known informant to the BAPD who worked at Mullin’s business in Broken Arrow.
Saylor possessed “a large cache of firearms, including shotguns, rifles and pistols in a gun safe located within his office” and “Saylor appears to be mentally unstable at times and violent and makes threatening comments toward or about co-workers and employees,” according to the informant’s statement.
Additionally, the informant stated concern that Saylor was under the influence of medication and “fears Saylor could become violent in the workplace and use the firearms.”
Sources within other Republican camps in this Oklahoma congressional primary cited a similar concern regarding the Mullin story. In the midst of a contempt a vote potentially happening against Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday, a narrative about a GOP candidate possibly going into a general election with an allegedly disturbing firearm story of his own cannot bode well for a district that more than likely wants a conservative to represent it. Tulsa Today points out, “The district’s conservatism has led varied analysts to peg it as a potential Republican pick-up, yet the Democratic registration advantage tempers such analysis.”
Mullin’s campaign responded to Claremore Daily Progress’s article with the following statement:
“All Mullin Plumbing employees are subjected to a background check. No individual with any felony conviction is hired to make home service calls. “Mullin Plumbing holds its employees to the highest corporate standards, and we pride ourselves on customer service and safety.”
However, it appears the statement was not enough. According to the writer of the Claremore Daily Progress piece, Salesha Wilken, as a result of shedding light on this story, the Mullin campaign has engaged in a smear campaign of her reputation and attempted to get her fired from her paper.
“The campaign has tried to get me fired on multiple occasions. They’ve tried to discredit me with other publications. Obviously, they were trying to intimidate me.” According to Wilken, Mullin’s campaign said that she “was a target.”
However, Wilken says her editors have stood behind her reporting. “Everything I’ve written, I can document with either audio or court documents,” Wilken said. “Markwayne Mullin does not want to answer questions about problems with the campaign,” Wilken added pointing out she similarly scrutinized other candidates in the OK-2 GOP primary, but she did not receive the same backlash from those campaigns.