A 27-year-old first-term Republican state representative from Oklahoma City who put $500,000 of his own money into his campaign has amassed the biggest war chest in the race to succeed U.S. Rep. James Lankford in the 5th Congressional District, federal campaign finance reports show.
Documents provided by Republican state Rep. Mike Turner's campaign on Wednesday show he spent about $170,000 during the reporting cycle that ended March 31, and finished the period with more than $333,000 in cash on hand. Most of Turner's expenditures went to a television ad buy in the Oklahoma City market and on targeted cable channels.
Federal campaign finance reports covering fundraising and expenditures during the first quarter of 2014 were due by midnight Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission.
Turner, whose family owned Turner Bros Trucking for four generations, said self-funding his campaign allows him not to take political contributions from lobbyists or political action committees.
“We have too many foxes guarding the taxpayers’ hen house in politics today — people who raise money from those they regulate and then return those favors when in office,” Turner said in a statement. “By largely self-funding, I can be an unbiased watchdog for taxpayers.”
The 5th Congressional District, which includes nearly all of Oklahoma County, along with Seminole and Pottawatomie counties to the east, is the state's only open congressional seat on the ballot in 2014, and three Democrats, three independents, and six Republicans are vying for the post. Lankford announced in January that he was stepping down to run for U.S. Senate.
Reports show GOP Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas raised the second most among the 12 candidates, with more than $400,000 in total contributions and more than $372,000 in cash on hand at the end of the period.
Among the other Republicans, state Sen. Clark Jolley reported raising $178,000, followed by former state Sen. Steve Russell with $107,000 raised, former state Rep. Shane Jett with $43,800, and Oklahoma City minister Harvey Sparks with about $17,800.
Among the Democrats, state Sen. Al McAffrey, of Oklahoma City, reported raising about $50,000 during the first quarter. Retired university professor Tom Guild, who got in the race before Lankford announced he was stepping down, reported raising a total of $43,740, although only $5,300 was raised during the reporting period. A third candidate, Leona Leonard, of Seminole, did not file a report with the FEC.
Candidates are only required to file a report with the FEC if they raise or spend more than $5,000.
None of the three independents in the race had filed reports with the FEC for the first-quarter period.