Lankford's House campaign got early help from Baptist church connections

Wife now primary breadwinner as first-time candidate James Lankford runs for Oklahoma's 5th District seat in Congress.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: August 15, 2010
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— James Lankford's strong connection to Baptist and other churches in Oklahoma helped him raise money at the outset of his congressional campaign and gave him a network of volunteer workers.

And his wife's income has allowed him to campaign full time without a job.

Lankford, of Edmond, is facing Kevin Calvey, of Oklahoma City, in the Aug. 24 runoff for the Republican nomination for the 5th District congressional seat. The winner will face Democrat Billy Coyle, of Oklahoma City, and independents Clark Duffe and Dave White, both of Edmond, in the general election.

Lankford spent 13 years as director of the Falls Creek summer youth camp, being paid by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

According to financial disclosure forms filed by Lankford with the U.S. House of Representatives, he made just more than $68,000 in salary from the convention in 2008 and about $57,000 last year. Lankford has been able to supplement his salary by giving sermons and talks at Baptist churches across the state. In 2009, he made $9,700 in honoraria from churches.

Lankford resigned from the Baptist General Convention last year but had received $2,700 in consulting fees from the organization for his help on Falls Creek matters, according to Lankford and a financial report filed in May. He also had received about $7,400 in honoraria from churches and the Baptist General Convention of Texas through April 30.

Most of the honoraria, Lankford said, came from filling in at churches for pastors who were away. Individual churches decided how much would be paid. The payments range from $200 — a common amount — to $4,000 from the Texas organization. Lankford said the Texas figure covered a series of events in multiple cities.

"I do not have a standard speech," he said. "I speak on either the biblical passage selected by the pastor, or he allows me to select the biblical passage for the day. ... When I speak in churches, it is solely focused on biblical teaching, not politics."

Lankford said that his wife, Cindy, a speech pathologist, is now the "primary source" of income for the family, which includes two children. When they made the decision last year that Lankford would run for Congress, they put aside some savings, refinanced the $235,000 mortgage on their Edmond home at a lower interest rate and began living more frugally to get ready to go to one income, he said.

Cindy Lankford had been working part time as a speech pathologist and part time as a preschool teacher; she now works full-time as a speech pathologist, Lankford said. Their two daughters were in private school last year; now one is in public school.



"I do not have a standard speech. I speak on either the biblical passage selected by the pastor, or he allows me to select the biblical passage for the day. ... When I speak in churches, it is solely focused on biblical teaching, not politics."
James Lankford, candidate in the Aug. 24 runoff for the Republican nomination for the 5th District congressional seat


Going to the polls on Aug. 24

Oklahoma voters will go to the polls Aug. 24 to determine the winners of several political primary races in the state. Voters also can cast their ballots early in the runoff elections, which are being held for several statewide and county offices. In partisan elections, only registered Republicans and Democrats may vote.


Early voting

Early voting, or in-person absentee voting, will take place Friday, Saturday and Aug. 23. Ballots can be cast at county election boards from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 23.


Regular absentee voting

Those wanting to vote by regular absentee ballot in the runoff elections must submit their absentee ballot application to their county election boards by 5 p.m. Wednesday. Their completed ballots must be received by mail at the county election board by 7 p.m. Aug. 24.


Regular voting

The official election day is Aug. 24. Ballots can be cast from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at local voting precinct sites.

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