Members of Oklahoma’s all-Republican congressional delegation filed their latest campaign finance reports over the weekend showing that some House members continue to raise much more now that they are a majority than they did two years ago when they were in the party. minority.
All five House members face re-election in 2024, while none of the state’s senators will be on the ballot.
Here are three takeaways from the latest Federal Election Commission filings, covering fundraising and spending from April 1 through June 30.
Fundraiser for Senator Markwayne Mullin
Freshman Senator Markwayne Mullin began using donations to pay off the $1 million personal loan he did to his campaign last year. Mullin’s latest report shows that he made the first payment to himself of $38,000 in April. He also continued to designate contributions from individuals, special interest groups, and other Republican lawmakers toward debt retirement.
Mullin replaced Republican Jim Inhofe, who retired after 28 years in the Senate. He is filling out the last four years of Inhofe’s term. Before winning the Senate seat, Mullin served in the House for 10 years. He lent $256,000 to his first House campaign, paying himself back with donations. The practice is legal and not uncommon.
Mullin’s new report shows he raised $183,598 in the second quarter, with more than $95,000 coming from political action committees. Mullin’s campaign account had almost $186,000 at the end of June, but he still owed more than $240,000 to consultants on top of the debt owed to Mullin.
Senator James Lankford, who easily won re-election last year, raised about $141,000 in the quarter, with $44,000 coming from special interest PACs. The senator, who would not have to run again until 2028, had $2.1 million in his account at the end of June.
A look at the fundraiser for Oklahoma starters
Three of the incumbent members of the Oklahoma House continued to exceed their contributions since 2021, the previous year without an election. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, topped $400,000 in the second quarter and more than doubled his second-quarter income in 2021.
When the Republicans regained control of the House, Cole took over as chairman of the powerful Rules Committee and is one of the ranking members of the House Appropriations Committee. His second-quarter contributions included more than $172,000 from special interest PACs, including those related to the defense industry. Taxpayers from his home state included the Devon Energy PAC and the OG&E PAC.
Rep. Frank Lucas, a Cheyenne Republican, took the reins of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee this year and is a senior member of the Agriculture and Financial Services committees. He raised more than $230,000 in the quarter, compared to $88,000 in the comparable quarter two years ago. He had about $353,000 in his war chest at the end of the quarter.
Representative Kevin Hern, Republican of Tulsa, has gained stature by virtue of his position on the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy and entitlement programs, including Medicare. He raised nearly $293,000 with more than 75% coming from special interest PACs, including those from pharmaceutical companies, doctors, health insurance providers and energy companies. Hern had about $835,000 in his campaign account at the end of June. His total exceeded his share in the comparable period in 2021 by more than $100,000.
Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Oklahoma City, continued to raise money at a healthy rate, raising just over $305,000 in the quarter, though that was no more than in the comparable quarter in 2021.
In his first year, Bice was on the House Armed Services Committee, a good one for fundraising since defense contractors are big donors. This year, she won a seat on the Assignments Committee as a sophomore. Bice ended the quarter with just over $933,000.
Rep. Josh Brecheen Fundraiser
Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, who replaced Mullin in the House, raised about $51,000 in the quarter and ended up with just $76,000 in his account. He may run into some legitimate challengers if he doesn’t build a bigger war chest. Freshmen are often vulnerable.
Brecheen was assigned to the Committee on Homeland Security, an area of interest to him but not usually a magnet for political donations. Brecheen also has a limited term, which can limit the donation.