James Lankford spent $1 million to win seat in Congress

Former church camp director rewarded some of the volunteers who worked on his upstart campaign
BY CHRIS CASTEEL, ccasteel@opubco.com Modified: December 4, 2010 at 12:22 am •  Published: December 4, 2010
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— Republican James Lankford spent just over $1 million to win a congressional seat this year, while Democratic Rep. Dan Boren spent $1.8 million to hang onto his, according to new campaign finance reports.

Lankford, of Oklahoma City, reported spending about $201,000 between Oct. 14 and Nov. 22, and a total of $1.05 million for the year, in which the former church camp director beat veteran politicians to claim the Republican nomination and then defeated Democrat Billy Coyle.

In the days before the Nov. 2 general election, Lankford used campaign cash to reward a few of the volunteers who helped take him from obscurity to Washington. Lankford, who did not have any paid campaign staff members, gave $2,500 “honorariums” to seven volunteers on Oct. 29, according to his report with the Federal Election Commission.

Lankford also sent $5,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the U.S. House, and he ended the period with more than $110,000 left in his account.

In the last weeks before the campaign, Lankford collected nearly $168,000. Lankford actually spent less on his entire campaign than one of the Republicans he beat, Kevin Calvey, who spent $1.1 million. Former state Rep. Mike Thompson, another Republican who lost to Lankford in the GOP primary, spent $972,000.