WASHINGTON — Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas raised far more money than the rest of the many candidates vying for the Oklahoma City-area congressional seat, according to campaign finance reports filed this week.
Douglas, an Edmond Republican, reported raising $404,537 from late January through March. Douglas tapped a network of donors in Edmond, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and other cities for a war chest twice as big as any other in the race.
The 5th District seat is open for the second time in four years because Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee. The district includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole Counties.
A parade of candidates sought the seat the last time it was open, in 2010, including well-known state legislators with strong financial backing. But Lankford, a political newcomer who had run a Baptist youth camp and had relatively little money, won the seat.
This year, several current and former office holders also are running for the seat.
Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, raised nearly $178,000 for his campaign, getting donations in a few cases from some of the same people who gave to Douglas.
Former U.S. Army Ranger Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, who served a term in the state Senate, raised nearly $107,000 for his campaign. And former state Rep. Shane Jett, R-Tecumseh, raised nearly $44,000.
State Rep. Mike Turner, R-Edmond, did not file a report — and may not have been required to since he didn’t declare his federal candidacy until mid-March — but he has raised enough money to purchase television time.
The sixth Republican in the race, Harvey Sparks, of Oklahoma City, reported raising nearly $18,000. Sparks is a minister and former congressional staffer.
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Al McAffrey, of Oklahoma City, raised $50,530, while former college professor Tom Guild, of Edmond, raised $17,166.
The primary elections will be held June 24, with run-offs scheduled for Aug. 26 in races where one candidate doesn’t win more than 50 percent of the vote.
Incumbents are running in the other four U.S. House districts in Oklahoma. Freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, didn’t draw an opponent in the 1st District. And none of the other incumbents has drawn a challenger who had raised a significant amount of money through March — or in some cases, any money.
In the 2nd District, freshman Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, collected $194,214 from January through March and had nearly $420,000 in his campaign account on March 31.
Mullin reported paying $25,000 in legal fees in the quarter to the Washington, D.C., law firm representing him in the ethics review conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics and the House ethics committee. Mullin’s continued activity in his plumbing business prompted the review. Incumbents are allowed to use campaign funds to pay legal fees for purposes related to their office.
Professional angler and businessman Darrel Robertson, of Jay, reported raising $22,865 through March. Robertson, a Republican, is challenging Mullin.
In the 3rd District, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, raised $132,259 and had $712,492 in his account at the end of March. Tea Party candidate Robert Hubbard, a Republican and Yukon businessman, raised $12,380 for his challenge.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, collected $119,750 in the first quarter and had $1.2 million in his account at the end of March.