A few months ago, here at The Western Journal, I wrote about an Oklahoma congressional candidate named Abby Broyles.
Broyles was a former reporter for KFOR-TV and a lawyer. She’d been the Democratic nominee in a 2020 election against GOP Sen. James Inhofe — which wasn’t even close, nor could it have been, but it was a sign she was climbing the political ladder. In 2022, she was tipped to be the nominee for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, which could plausibly be considered a swing seat given the GOP only won it by four points in 2020.
In February, reports emerged that she visited a friend’s house while said friend was hosting a sleepover. She then proceeded to get so intoxicated, she threw up in a clothes hamper and verbally abused the girls in attendance, calling them names like “Hispanic f*****,” “acne f*****” and “judgy f*****.” She blamed it on taking an unknown sleeping pill, which had been offered to her.
On Thursday, Broyles finally withdrew from the race, citing, inter alia, what she called “salacious right-wing clickbait.”
If our analysis at The Western Journal is included in that description, all I can say is: You’re welcome, Oklahoma. (And — just a reminder — you can help us continue holding the Abby Broyleses of the world responsible for their actions by subscribing.)
According to the New York Post, Broyles made the announcement in a media release Thursday in which she blamed the collapse of her campaign on, in addition to “salacious right-wing clickbait,” “gerrymandering” and “recent events.”
“Shortly after Abby announced her candidacy for CD-5, the Republican legislature egregiously gerrymandered the new district to prevent any democrat from winning. That reality combined with recent events that turned Abby into salacious right-wing clickbait have led the Broyles campaign to make this difficult decision and Abby to focus on her mental health,” the release said.
In a post to Medium, Broyles expanded on this, saying she had tried to take her own life after the scandal broke. She claimed she’d “received death threats, got obliterated by cyber cowards hiding behind their computer screens and furiously typing on their keyboards and got bombarded with prank calls (from people who found my number online) telling me to drop out of politics and go kill myself.”
Broyles said she’s “struggled with mental health issues including self-worth, severe anxiety and insomnia for about 20 years” and that she’d “checked myself into rehab a couple weeks ago.”
“I’m sharing this because I should’ve gotten help sooner, and if you’re suffering, please know, there is help. Unfortunately, I had to hit rock bottom to realize it. And ask any woman in leadership, we’re judged more harshly for our mistakes than men (I’d bet you a man wouldn’t have been tabloid fodder over this),” she said.
Anyone who’s remotely familiar with the Broyles’ story is likely to find that last claim particularly dubious.
Before we begin, let’s just acknowledge that there’s a human being here and that we certainly hope Abby Broyles is OK and getting the medical attention she needs and deserves. A human life is infinitely more important than scoring political points.
That said, we’re still responsible for our actions while we’re fighting mental health issues. This is even more true since Broyles a) made it clear she’ll remain in politics and b) engaged in nothing but spin regarding the incident that incited all of this.
Just to recap: On Feb. 17, NonDoc, a left-leaning Oklahoma nonprofit journalistic outlet, published reports that Broyles had verbally assaulted a group of middle school girls after getting intoxicated at a party. It became public knowledge after one of the mothers of the girls who attended posted a Twitter thread about it.
Broyles claimed she hadn’t been at the party when she talked with NonDoc, telling reporters from the outlet it was “a political attack” and “something they [the kids and their parents] had cooked up.”
When asked why they would do something like that: “I mean, I don’t know,” Broyles said. “I have no idea. This is — I’m just telling you it’s not true, and if I were a journalist, I would not be doing a story because it’s not a story.”
A day after the NonDoc piece was published, Broyles retracted that statement. In an interview on KFOR, she claimed she’d taken a sleeping medication that was given to her by the friend who had hosted the party after drinking some wine.
“And I had an adverse reaction. Instead of helping me sleep, I hallucinated. And I don’t remember anything until I woke up or came to, and I was throwing up in a hamper,” she said.
In the interview, she also claimed NonDoc’s reporting was erroneous: “I was misquoted in the Nondoc article. I never told them — this was on a phone call — and I never told them that I wasn’t there. I said it didn’t happen because he was asking about these allegations. And I had no idea because, again, I don’t remember this episode at all.”
When contacted by KFOR, NonDoc played for them the recording where she specifically told them she wasn’t there.
“That phone call was terrifying and caught me off guard,” Broyles responded in a statement. “I remember hearing the accusations and just repeating ‘no, no, no’ and then hanging up. I was happy to be in the TikTok video with the girls, which was obvious proof of my attendance.”
All of that would make one infamous no matter what their gender — and it’s all minimized and spun by Broyles in her Medium post.
The mom who originally brought her conduct up on social media was slammed by Broyles in her post for not contacting her to “express any issues” and “decid[ing] to use a ghost Twitter account and send a series of public tweets to me several days after the sleepover accusing me of saying awful things to her child and the other young ladies present while intoxicated.”
The mother in question had her child called a “judgy f*****” by Broyles, according to reports. I think when that happens the ball isn’t in the mom’s court.
As for the woman who threw the party and who Broyles claims gave her sleeping medication, she’s described as “my now former friend [who] … conveniently threw me under a bus to superficially avoid further interrogation from her ex-husband during their custody battle.”
There’s no responsibility here. Broyles merely says she doesn’t remember what she said, only that she blacked out. The mom who disclosed all this did so through “a ghost Twitter account” and her friend who she claims gave her sleeping medication is thrown under the bus even though Broyles made the conscious decision to take it — assuming the story is true — knowing full well the consequences of mixing an unknown sleeping medication with alcohol.
We ought to be ecstatic that Abby Broyles is getting the help she needed — and we should also be happy the voters on Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District aren’t stuck with her as a representative, at least not in her current state.
However, part of recovery from substance abuse involves taking personal responsibility. It’s worth remembering this process takes up steps number four through 10 of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Most famous are steps eight and nine, in which recovering individuals are told to make “a list of persons we had harmed, and [become] willing to make amends to them all,” as well as to “[make] direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”
Broyles may not be there yet, but the children who she verbally assailed deserved some mention in her Medium post for the trauma it’s rather well-established they endured. The women who called her out on that behavior deserved better than to have low motives ascribed to her for calling Broyles out.
Broyles’ predicament wasn’t caused by perfidious moms, salacious clickbait or gerrymandering. She needs to acknowledge that — not just for those she hurt, but for her own good.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.