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Oklahoma Republican candidates vie for backers in 5th District

CHRIS CASTEEL, Washington Bureau Published: September 6, 2009
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WASHINGTON — With more than 10 months before the primaries, two Republicans hoping to succeed Rep. Mary Fallin in Congress are already scrambling to raise money and line up prominent supporters.

Oklahoma state Rep. Mike Thompson and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey have each raised more than $200,000 for the primary campaign that kicked off early because of Fallin’s decision to run for governor.

Calvey, of Del City, announced last week that he surpassed 1,000 donors in August for his second campaign for the seat. Calvey ran in 2006 when Fallin won the open seat. Thompson, meanwhile, announced a list of supporters that includes Devon Energy chief Larry Nichols, banker David Rainbolt and former Oklahoma City Mayor Ron Norick.

"I feel very positive about the direction our fundraising is going,” said Thompson, of Oklahoma City, who raised nearly $219,000 in the second quarter of the year and got the $2,400 maximum primary contribution from some individuals. "We still have a lot of work to do.”

Calvey, whose honorary campaign chairman is former astronaut Tom Stafford, said most of his money had come from "small-dollar donors” reflecting grass-roots support.

Three other candidates have joined the 5th Congressional District race in recent weeks: Dr. Johnny Roy of Edmond, who also ran in 2006; Rick Flanigan of Bethany; and James Lankford of Edmond. The three have not been in the race long enough to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission. No Democrats have emerged in the race for the seat that represents most of Oklahoma County and has been won by Republicans since 1976.

Elaine Dennis, the 5th District chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party, said all five candidates are highly-qualified conservatives who "adhere to Republican principles.


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