Top candidates for Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's seat spent fast to get up to speed

U.S. Rep. James Lankford and state Rep. T.W. Shannon, both Republicans, spent more than $300,000 each between mid-January and the end of March to establish campaigns.
by Chris Casteel Published: April 30, 2014

— U.S. Rep. James Lankford and state Rep. T.W. Shannon each went through more than $300,000 in less than three months as they positioned their U.S. Senate campaigns for an intense fight in a compressed time frame.

Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, and Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, each raised more than $800,000 in a little more than two months after announcing their intent to run for the unexpired term of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who is stepping down.

Lankford started the race with a financial advantage: He could convert money from his U.S. House campaign to the U.S. Senate campaign since the same federal fundraising rules govern both. Lankford already had more than $500,000 in that House account.

Shannon couldn’t convert his state campaign money to a federal race. But he had an established base of financial support before he announced for Coburn’s seat and got resources quickly to buy advertising in the state’s two major media markets.

Lankford ended March with just more than $1 million in his campaign account, while Shannon had about $503,000.

Outside groups boosting either Lankford or Shannon have already spent more than the candidates themselves on television advertising, according to public documents. That trend could easily continue until a Republican nominee is chosen in the race.

Lankford spent most of his money on consultants, staff, travel and office supplies; while Shannon had those same expenses, he spent a better part of his funds on advertising.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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