WASHINGTON — Sen. Jim Inhofe and other members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation got busy in the past three months raising money for the 2014 elections, and freshmen Rep. Markwayne Mullin made a dent in his campaign debts from last year.
Inhofe, R-Tulsa, facing his first reelection campaign since 2008, raised nearly $180,000 from January through March, with more than $107,000 of that coming from political action committees representing a wide range of interests, including energy companies, banks and defense contractors.
Inhofe, who has been in the Senate since 1994, had $748,330 in his campaign account at the end of March, according to a campaign finance report filed this week.
Mullin, R-Westville, collected $143,150 in his first three months in Congress, with much of that earmarked to retire the considerable debt he accumulated in winning the only congressional seat in the state that had been held by a Democrat.
Mullin paid down tens of thousands of dollars owed to consultants but still has $228,000 in outstanding personal loans to the campaign, according to his new campaign finance report. Federal law allows candidates and officeholders to collect campaign contributions to retire debts, including those from personal loans.
Mullin ended the quarter with $71,103 in his account.
The other Oklahoma freshman, Tulsa Republican Jim Bridenstine, didn't make fundraising as high a priority as his colleagues and raised less than $20,000 in the first quarter. He finished March with $17,251.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, led all the Oklahomans in fundraising in the first quarter, collecting $232,739 in contributions, with nearly $191,000 coming from political action committees; much of the PAC money came from agriculture, finance and energy groups.
Lucas finished the quarter with $285,590.
Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, raised nearly $43,000 in the quarter and had $303,421 in his campaign account.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, raised $66,750 and finished the quarter with about $798,000 in his account.