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Oklahoma senator resigns, to fight charges of hiring boy prostitute

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An Oklahoma state senator accused of hiring a 17-year-old boy as a prostitute submitted his resignation on Wednesday, saying felony charges against him have become a distraction and he will defend himself against them.

Republican Ralph Shortey, 35, a gun rights advocate who has campaigned as a champion of family values, made his first statement about the charges since police said they found him on March 9 in a suburban Oklahoma City motel with the teenage boy and drugs.

“My resignation is evidence of my respect for public service and the duties of our elected officials,” he said in a statement.

Governor Mary Fallin and other Republican leaders in Oklahoma called on Shortey to resign last week after he was charged with three felony counts, including engaging in child prostitution.

Shortly after he announced his resignation, his name was removed from an Oklahoma Senate website listing members.

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Shortey, who was first elected state senator in 2010, thanked his constituents and asked for privacy for his wife and four daughters. He said in the statement that he submitted his resignation, effective immediately, to Republican Governor Mary Fallin and the president pro tempore of the Oklahoma Senate.

“I recognize that the charges against me are a distraction to their (constituents’) interests and the remaining legislative session, which should serve all Oklahomans,” he said in a statement.

According to an arrest affidavit of the motel incident: “Officers present observed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the room and inside the room at the time of their contact with the defendant,” the documents said, adding police also found an opened box of condoms in Shortey’s backpack.

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Shortey was booked at a local jail last Thursday, a few hours after he was charged. His bond has been set at $100,000 and he was released about two hours after he surrendered.

Shortey made national news in 2012 when he introduced a bill prohibiting the manufacture and sale of food or products that use aborted human fetuses. He provided no evidence to show that such a practice was actually taking place and there are no known food products that contain aborted fetuses.

The bill did not become law.

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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by David Gregorio)


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CNN

Trump supporter blames Democrats for being targeted by the president: ‘Why is that racist?’

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CNN interviewed a supporter of President Donald Trump in Eau Claire, Wisconsin who refused to acknowledge the racism in the president's "Go Back" attacks on four women of color in Congress.

The network interviewed Kerri Krumenauer of Wiersgalla Plumbing & Heating Company about Trump's attacks.

"How is it racist?" she asked.

"If you don't like this country, get out," she demanded. "Leave!"

She then showed how misinformed she was about the incident.

"He didn't use any names -- they stood up," she falsely claimed. In fact, Trump did use names and the targets did not stand up as they were not at his North Carolina campaign rally.

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2020 Election

Here’s how Trump hopes to recreate his 2016 presidential win — and how Democrats can send him packing

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Writing for CNN on Saturday, election forecaster Harry Enten explained how President Donald Trump's recent, racist behavior lies in his desire to recreate the same electoral conditions that gave him a victory in 2016 in the presidential election next year.

"The Trump strategy is pretty simple: 1. Drive up the unfavorable ratings of his Democratic rival as he did in 2016 in order to compensate for his own low ratings. 2. Bank on an electoral college/popular vote split as he did in 2016. 3. Use a campaign of racial resentment to drive up turnout even more among groups favorable toward the President," wrote Enten. As he noted, Democrats have excellent odds to flip back Michigan and Pennsylvania, but they will have to work harder to win back any of the other states Trump flipped from the 2012 Obama camp — in particular Wisconsin, which was the closest state after those two.

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American, Italian and Russian blast off for ISS

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US, Italian and Russian astronauts blasted into space Saturday, headed for the International Space Station, in a launch coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, NASA's Andrew Morgan and Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency set off on a six-hour journey to the orbiting science lab from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 1628 GMT.

A NASA TV commentator hailed a "textbook launch" minutes after blastoff in "sweltering" weather in Baikonur, where daytime temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

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