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Former Republican Oklahoma senator Ralph Shortey pleads guilty to hiring boy prostitute

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A former Oklahoma state senator who had campaigned as a champion of family values has pleaded guilty to hiring a 17-year-old boy prostitute “to engage in a commercial sex act,” court papers filed on Thursday showed.

Republican Ralph Shortey, 35, who resigned from the state Senate earlier this year after he was found in a suburban Oklahoma City motel with the teenage boy, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Oklahoma to a charge of child sex trafficking.

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In reaching a plea deal, Shortey said he knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored and transported the boy for sex, the papers showed.

“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” the papers show Shortey as saying of the plea deal.

Shortey faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and will be sentenced at a later date, the papers said. In exchange for the deal, federal prosecutors dropped three child pornography charges that had been filed against Shortey.

According to a police arrest affidavit on 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 that also found an opened box of condoms in Shortey’s backpack.

Shortey, who was first elected as a state senator in 2010, 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 taking place, and there are no known food products that contain aborted fetuses.

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The bill did not become law.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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2020 Election

‘Kiss Florida goodbye’: Voto Latino head warns Democrats of coming 2020 debacle

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Appearing on MSNBC's "AM Joy," Voto Latino CEO María Teresa Kumar said Democrats should not count on taking Florida's 29 electoral votes in the upcoming 2020 presidential election if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is the at the top of the ticket.

During a fairly contentious panel discussion on the viability of Sanders as a candidate due to self-identifying as a democratic socialist, Kumar claimed that would not play well Florida's Latino community.

"All I can think about when David [Corn] was unpacking it for us, we can all agree is you can kiss Florida goodbye," she explained. "I say that, Floridians -- Latinos that have fled socialism, they have fled and they are in Florida and they have sensibilities that are different from the rest of the Latino community."

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CNN’s Bakari Sellers schools Rick Santorum over claim Trump is not part of the ‘extreme hard right’

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During a panel discussion on CNN's State of the Union, contributor Bakari Sellers set fellow panelist Rick Santorum straight after he tried to claim that Donald Trump doesn't take far-right positions.

Following a discussion on Sen. Bernie Sanders' Nevada caucus win, Santorum tried to note the major differences between Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Responding to conservative commentator Linda Chavez who called both Sanders and Trump "two angry people," Santorum remarked, "I wanted to take issue with what Linda said: two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree with that, with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing, no question, the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree."

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‘Jesus was not a socialist!’ Fox News panel explodes over Jesus Christ’s political views

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Conservative religious pundits on Fox News recoiled in outrage on Sunday after a left-leaning guest suggested that Jesus Christ was "more of a socialist" than a capitalist.

During a Fox & Friends segment designed to cast doubt on the faith or Democratic presidential candidates, evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress argued that socialism is "antithetical to Christianity."

But St. Paul Reverend Dee Dawkins-Haigler reminded the other panelists that scriptures seemed to point to what people now call socialism.

"We believe in things like, what did you do to the least of them?" Dawkins-Haigler explained. "You fed the hungry, you clothed the naked, you went to see those who are in prison."

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