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GOP outpaces Democrats in campaign fundraising

By Paul Monies Published: May 3, 2008
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The cash hasn't stopped flowing for House Republicans at the Capitol, despite leadership strife earlier this year.

Republican candidates have raised more than $2 million for this year's House elections, outpacing the Democratic minority by a 3-1 margin, according to an analysis of state Ethics Commission data.

The candidates are much more even in the Senate, where each side so far has raised more than $1.3 million. The Senate is evenly split, with each party claiming 24 seats.

The totals do not include money raised by separate political action committees.

A large campaign war chest helps in the early part of any election cycle, said Richard Johnson, chairman of the political science department at Oklahoma City University.

"Early money is always more valuable because of the psychological impacts on what other people choose to do,” he said.

With a 57-44 Republican edge in the House and a tied Senate, the early fundraising totals are in line with expectations, Johnson said.

The House's top fundraiser, Rep. Lance Cargill, has raised more than $281,500 for his campaign. Cargill resigned as House speaker Jan. 28 after revelations that he had not filed income tax returns for two years and was late in filing property taxes on his law office.

For the first quarter, the Harrah Republican raised more than $32,000 for his campaign. All but one donation came in January, according to campaign finance reports.

But Cargill spent at more than all candidates — more than $56,400 in the quarter ended March 31. Much of that was spent on travel expenses, consulting and legal fees.

He declined to say if the legal fees were connected to a pending Ethics Commission fundraising complaint about the 2004 elections. Cargill has denied wrongdoing in that matter.

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Capitol war chests

The top five campaign receipts so far among Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for the 2008 campaign cycle:

House Republicans
Lance Cargill, R-Harrah: $281,512

Dennis Adkins, R-Tulsa: $265,395

Rob Johnson, R-Kingfisher: $183,530*

Mike Thompson, R-Oklahoma City: $110,747

Greg Piatt, R-Ardmore: $89,775

House Democrats
Richard Morrissette, D-Oklahoma City: $73,610

Lucky Lamons, D-Tulsa: $56,423

Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur: $40,900

Chuck Hoskin, D-Vinita: $39,639

Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa: $37,832

Senate Republicans
Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman: $200,340

James Halligan, open Stillwater seat: $197,397

Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa: $124,923

Jim Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City: $97,070

Clark Jolley, R-Edmond: $93,356

Senate Democrats
Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa: $368,988

Susan Paddack, D-Ada: $354,929

Nancy Riley, D-Tulsa: $141,501

Charlie Laster, D-Shawnee: $127,237

Richard Lerblance, D-Hartshorne: $103,035

Note: Rep. Rob Johnson transferred $164,300 from his House committee to another for his state Corporation Commission race.

Source: The Oklahoman analysis of Ethics Commission data

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