WASHINGTON — Markwayne Mullin spent nearly $1.6 million to win the eastern Oklahoma congressional seat and wound up with more than $327,000 of debt, according to a new campaign finance report that shows about $99,000 owed to political consultants.
The Adair County Republican, who won all 26 counties in the 2nd congressional district last month in defeating Democrat Rob Wallace and Independent Michael Fulks, will replace retiring Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, in January.
Loans are legal
Mullin, the owner of a plumbing company, loaned his campaign $255,750, and he paid himself back $22,000 from campaign funds on Nov. 24, less than three weeks after the election.
It is legal — and not unusual — for candidates to repay personal campaign loans with money raised from donors. Mullin had made an earlier payment of $5,750 toward the personal loans.
In addition to the personal loans, Mullin's campaign accrued $99,237 in debt from Oct. 18 to Nov. 26, with most of that owed to Oklahoma-based consultants.
Mullin's campaign had $33,509 in the bank on Nov. 26, according to a report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.
Tim Ross, Mullin's campaign manager, said Friday, “Our fundraising efforts are ongoing, and we continue to reach out to donors as we close down the 2012 campaign.”
Wallace, of Fort Gibson, spent nearly $1.2 million on his race and ended with less than $7,000 in the bank. He reported no debts.
Republican Jim Bridenstine, who ousted incumbent Rep. John Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican, and then defeated Democrat John Olson to claim the 1st District congressional seat, spent nearly $717,000 on his campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Bridenstine's latest report to the FEC shows that he spent about $156,000 from Oct. 18 to Nov. 26 and ended the period with $38,927 in his campaign account.
Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, spent $802,000 on his first re-election campaign and had $440,000 in his campaign account after defeating Democrat Tom Guild, of Edmond. Guild spent $151,000 on his campaign, which ended up with a zero balance and $100,099 in debt to Guild for personal loans.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, spent nearly $754,000 in the two-year election cycle, and had more than $812,000 in his account at the end of last month, according to the election commission; Cole easily defeated Democrat Donna Bebo and independent R.J. Harris, each of whom spent negligible amounts of money.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, spent more than $1.6 million for his race against Democrat Timothy Murray, who spent $198. More than $1 million of Lucas' donations came from political action committees, and a large portion of the money he spent went to other Republican candidates.