Congressmen Win Renomination in Primary Election
By: Constitution Staff
The U.S. Congress is composed of two chambers. Senators serve six-year terms with only a third of the seats up each election year. Each state has two seats in that upper chamber. All five Oklahoma seats in the U.S. House of Representatives were up each election year since they serve two-year terms. All five members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Oklahoma were challenged for renomination in the June 28 Primary Election. All won the Republican nomination for their seats.
U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe was re-elected two years ago and has four more years before his term expires. The U.S. Senate seat currently held by Senator James Lankford is up for election this year. Lankford won a special election in 2014 to fill the unexpired term of Senator Tom Coburn who decided to leave the Congress two years early. Because Coburn's seat was not up until 2016, the Special Election for the post was for a "short term" of just two years. The election this year is for a full six-year term.
U.S. Senator James Lankford, 48, of Edmond is running for reelection to the seat. After many years in church youth camp work, political novice Lankford surprised many observers with his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. He again surprised pundits with his win in the Senate race. Since he was the only Republican candidate to file for the post this year, he has secured the GOP nomination, but will face a Democrat, a Libertarian, and an Independent in the General Election.
Two Democrats filed for the Senate seat, but Steve Perry, 63, of Oklahoma City withdrew, giving the nomination to Mike Workman, 65, of Tulsa. Workman ran for the state Labor Commissioner post in 2014, losing to Mark Costello. Following a short career as a public school teacher from 1974 to 1976, in 1978 Workman founded Workman & Company, a political consulting company working to elect Democrats to office. He is known as a local community activist and helped organize Occupy Tulsa in the fall of 2011 as part of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Workman has had several skirmishes with the law including being forcibly removed from a Tulsa City Council meeting and driving with a invalid license. In 2011, the Tulsa County District Attorney filed Domestic Assault & Battery charges against Workman, but the charges were later dropped.
Two candidates ran for the Libertarian nomination. Dax Ewbank, 40, of Guthrie ran for governor in 2014 as a Republican and finished in third place. Robert T. Murphy, 68, of Norman is the other Libertarian candidate. He won the Libertarian nomination. He has run for various offices in the past, including several races for Congress. He ran as a Libertarian when the party previously had ballot status, and in later campaigns as an Independent. Murphy secured the Libertarian nomination with 59% of the vote in the primary election.
There will also be two Independent candidates on the General Election ballot: Sean Braddy, 44, of Norman and Mark T. Beard, 56, of Oklahoma City.
U.S. House -- Fist District
First District (Tulsa area) incumbent Republican Jim Bridenstine, 40, won the GOP nomination over two challengers with more than 80 percent of the vote. He is widely regarded as the state's most conservative congressman. Bridenstine, a Navy combat pilot who flew missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bridenstine served as executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and left in 2010 to concentrate on his career in the Naval Reserve. He defeated Congressman John Sullivan in 2012. He ran unopposed two years ago, but was challenged for the Republican nomination by two opponents this time. Tulsa attorney and oilman Tom Atkinson, 66, who considered making the race two years ago, made the race this time and finished second with 16 percent. Evelyn L. Rogers, 63, is a college librarian and perennial candidate. She ran for the U.S. Senate in 2008 and 2014, and five times for a seat in the U.S. House. She has also run for the Oklahoma Legislature. She received 3 percent of the vote. No Democrats filed for the post. David Matthew Hullum, 33, of Tulsa had filed as an Independent, but withdrew from the race in June. Therefore, Congressman Bridenstine has been reelected.
U.S. House -- Second District
Markwayne Mullin, 38, is running for a third term in the second district. He won renomination with 63 percent of the primary vote. Mullin owns Mullin Plumbing which spans much of the state, and has ranching operations in Adair and Wagoner counties. Two years ago, Mullin overcame a challenge for the Republican nomination, and went on to defeat Democrat, Earl Everett, 80, of Fort Gibson who died immediately before the November election due to injuries in a car accident. Mullin was challenged in the Republican Primary by Jarrin Jackson, 30, of Claremore. Jackson is an Afghan War Veteran and serves as an executive of a non-profit organization. He received 37 percent of the vote.
Two Democrats competed in the June Primary. Making a second try was Joshua Harris-Till, 28, of Tahlequah who lost the nomination in 2014 to Everett. He won the nomination this time with 60 percent of the vote. Paul E. Shiefelbein, 57, of Tahlequah received 40 percent of the primary vote.
Independent, John McCarthy, 46, of Afton will face Mullin and Harris-Till on the General Election ballot. The district covers 26 counties in eastern Oklahoma, stretching south from the Kansas state line to the Red River border with Texas. After the 2010 census and minor redistricting, the district remains the most Democratic in the state by registration.
U.S. House -- Third District
Long-time Third District Congressman Frank Lucas, 56, was first elected in a Special Election in 1994. He is the longest serving member among the current Oklahoma Delegation in the U.S. House. He was renominated with 78 percent of the vote. Lucas received accolades from many conservative Republicans when he was the lone member of the House of Representatives from Oklahoma to vote against the big bank bailout in 2008. But Lucas has angered many conservatives with some of his votes over the past several years. He was challenged for the Republican nomination by Desiree Brown, 32, of Hennessey who received 22 percent of the primary vote.
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Frankie Robbins, 70, of Medford in the General Election. Robbins lost to Lucas in 2008 and 2010. He also ran in 2012, but lost in the Primary Election. Robbins, a Civil Engineer, is retired from the U.S. Forest Service. The third district covers most of the north central and northwestern parts of the state, including the panhandle.
U.S. House -- Fourth District
Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole, 66, was first elected to Congress in 2002. While serving in the state Senate back in the 1989-90 time period, Cole compiled an 80% Oklahoma Conservative Index score, placing him in the Top Conservatives list. However, his record in Congress has been markedly less conservative. He was challenged for the Republican nomination by two conservative candidates, but survived with 71 percent of the vote. Dr. James Taylor, 57, of Norman finished second with 18 percent of the vote. Shawn M. Roberts, 34, of Lawton received 10 percent.
There were two Democrats competing for their party's nomination. Christina Owen, 32, of Norman won the nomination with 62 percent of the vote. Bert Smith, 68, ran for the 5th Congressional District three times (2004, 2006, 2008), then moved to Moore and ran for the 4th District in 2012 and 2014, losing both times in the Democrat Primary. He lost again, this time receiving 38 percent.
Sevier White, 67, of Norman filed as a Libertarian and will be on the General Election ballot. The district covers much of south central and southwestern parts of the state.
U.S. House -- Fifth District
The 5th District includes most of Oklahoma County, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties. With the decision by Fifth District Congressman James Lankford to run for the open U.S. Senate post two years ago, the congressional seat was open and attracted many candidates including six Republicans, three Democrats, and three Independents. Former state Senator Steve Russell won the GOP nomination and went on to win the seat in the November General Election. Russell, 52, of Oklahoma City was challenged for nomination this time, but won with 80 percent of the primary voted. Frank Volpe, 48, of Oklahoma City is a retired Naval Officer and received 20 percent.
The same three Democrats who ran for the seat in 2014 are again making the race. Tom Guild, 61, of Edmond was the only Democrat to file for the seat in 2012. He ran for the seat two years earlier, losing in the primary. He also lost the Democrat nomination in 2014. Guild taught political science and legal studies at the University of Central Oklahoma for 27 years and for three years at Oklahoma City University. Years ago, when he was a registered Republican, Guild made three races for a seat on the Corporation Commission, but lost in the Republican Primary the last two times. He even went so far as to put the word "Reagan" on his campaign signs, and claimed to be a conservative Republican. He now calls himself a Progressive Democrat.
Guild was defeated by State Senator Al McAffrey, 67, of Oklahoma City in the 2014 Democrat Primary, but was in a virtual tie with McAffrey this time, with each receiving 37 percent of the primary vote. McAffrey was first elected to the Oklahoma House in 2006, and reelected in 2008 and 2010. He won a special election to the state Senate in 2012. McAffrey had a cumulative average score of 14% on the Oklahoma Conservative Index. Guild and McAffrey are both activists for the "gay rights" agenda and will battle it out for the Fifth District Democrat nomination in the Runoff Primary in August. The third Democrat in the race was Leona Leonard, 45, of Seminole who received 26 percent of the primary vote. Leonard, the chair of the Seminole County Democratic Party, and also finished third in the 2014 Democrat Primary.
Zachary Knight, 35, of Edmond will be on the Libertarian line of the General Election ballot.
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