About 40 percent of Republican members of the state House of Representatives said Monday they are backing U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook in the governor's race. Istook released the names of the 23 GOP House members during a news conference at the state Capitol. Of 101 House members, 57 are Republican. Istook is not seeking re-election to the 5th Congressional District he has represented since 1993. Several representatives spoke of Istook's leadership, his conservative principles and his belief in limited government. Istook said he does not expect state senators to make an endorsement in the GOP primary as a courtesy to Sen. James Williamson, R-Tulsa, who also is running for governor. Bob Sullivan, a Tulsa oilman, also is seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The primary is July 25. Capitol Bureau
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