For those relieved that incessant campaign ads have ceased in the political doldrums after November's elections, the respite might not last long.
Twelve candidates for Oklahoma offices already have launched their campaign funds for 2014, raising a combined $737,000 between them for the election two years away, records from the Oklahoma Ethics Commission database show.
Gov. Mary Fallin leads the pack of early starters having raised $251,320 in the Mary Fallin for Governor 2014 committee since it was opened in October 2011. Fallin carried forward $216,027 from her campaign fund for 2010 when she spent $4.1 million defeating Democrat Jari Askins to become the first female governor.
Fallin has had 29 donors give the maximum contribution of $5,000.
Those donations have come from eight political action committees, and a mixture of corporate executives, attorneys, lobbyists, and other people.
Most of the candidates with open funds are Republican incumbents, with two Democrats with open campaigns. No potential challengers have launched their campaigns yet.
The second-most active campaign for 2014 is Insurance Commissioner John Doak's fund which has $221,000 in reported contributions since it opened in December 2011.
He transferred $65,564 from his campaign fund for 2010 when he unseated Commissioner Kim Holland, the Democratic incumbent. Doak, a Republican from Edmond, spent more than $800,000 in that race. The insurance commissioner job pays $114,713 a year.
“I do believe that campaigns are going to have to get more expensive in the future,” Doak said. “I think you have to be prepared for that. … We see it on all levels and so I do anticipate the raise, costing at least what it did before, possibly more by the time 2014 arrives.”
Doak said he always anticipates that other candidates will step up to be a part of the legislative process and he wants to be prepared, especially as a relative newcomer to politics and one of the newly elected statewide officers.
“There is 712 days, 19 hours and 15 minutes until I'm re-elected,” Doak said. “I've really taken a businesslike approach to this. Campaigns are expensive and we have a systematic approach. It's something I'm extremely proud of.”
Doak said his office is meeting the needs of both Oklahoma consumers and businesses better than ever before, and he attributes the many campaign contributions he's received to his evenhanded approach to consumer protection and business-friendly policies.
Already 28 businesses, individuals and political action committees have maxed out their contributions to Doak by giving the $5,000 limit.
The majority of those donations have come from insurance companies and consulting firms for the insurance industry.
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