GOP Candidates Benefit From Late Money
By Curtis Killman/Tulsa World ~ Last-minute contributions totaling more than $1 million have poured into state candidate campaigns with Republicans collectively raising more than twice as much as Democrats, a Tulsa World analysis of computerized state Ethics Commission data shows.
The bulk of the last-minute money flowed toward GOP candidates, with Republicans reporting $907,798 in receipts compared to $365,760 given to Democrats. State law requires candidates and noncandidate committees to report contributions received after Oct. 18 as last-minute contributions.
The general election is Tuesday with all statewide offices on the ballot along with various state Senate, House, judicial and district attorney posts, 11 state questions and two city charter questions.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin raised the most in last-minute funding, reporting $142,900 as of Friday. Her Democratic challenger, Jari Askins, reported $124,525 in last-minute funding.
Askins has a slight edge in overall campaign funding with $4,051,206 received compared to $3,941,904 in collections reported by Fallin as of Friday.
More than a quarter of Askins' funding came from loans totaling $1,125,000 she has given her campaign.
Republican candidates are among eight of the top 10 campaigns that lead in last-minute fundraising.
Republican attorney general candidate Scott Pruitt ranks third in last-minute receipts among all candidates with $93,575 in collections.
Pruitt's Democratic opponent, Jim Priest, has reported $27,900 in last-minute funding.
Pruitt has collected $902,976 in total funding to his campaign, sixth among all candidates, and Priest has received $520,433.
Pruitt's campaign has benefited from another $150,000 in spending from a National Republican Party political action committee.
Another GOP group, the Republican State House Committee, has reported spending nearly $136,000 in independent expenditures in support of GOP House candidates or in opposition to their Democratic opponents.
In addition to Fallin and Askins, three other candidates for statewide posts have eclipsed the $1 million fundraising mark.
Both lieutenant governor candidates have raised more than $1 million for the campaigns.
Lieutenant governor Democratic candidate Kenneth Corn has raised $1,153,739, of which $22,025 is in last-minute funding.
His Republican challenger, Todd Lamb, has raised $1,096,201, which includes $58,500 in last-minute funds.
Janet Barresi, the Republican nominee for Superintendent of Public Instruction, has raised $1,158,465, which includes $18,250 in last-minute funding, for her campaign.
The bulk of Barresi's funding comes from the $731,345 she has lent to her own campaign.
Her Democratic opponent, Susan Paddack, has reported collecting $533,206 thus far, including $17,000 in last-minute funding. Paddack has not reported any loans to her campaign. [A large portion of her money, however, came via transfer from her state Senate campaign account.]
Meanwhile, those with energy and real estate interests lead the list of individuals contributing last-minute funds.
Joe Robson, the immediate past chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, has contributed $36,500 in last-minute funding to eight legislative Republican candidates and one judicial candidate, records show.
Robson is president of The Robson Companies Inc., a Tulsa-area firm.
A political action committee associated with Devon Energy in Oklahoma City has contributed $34,000 in last-minute funding.
Devon Energy PAC gave last minute donations ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 to 16 state legislative candidates.
All of the Devon-supported candidates were Republicans, with the exception of John Sparks, a Democratic candidate for the District 16 Senate seat, who received $1,000.
Last-minute money also has been pouring into various efforts associated with state ballot questions.
The group "Yes on 744" reported receiving $125,000 on Monday from the Oklahoma Education Association. The group has now reported receiving $4,030,574 in total funding in support of the controversial educational funding measure.
The anti-744 group One Oklahoma Coalition has reported receiving $160,511 in last-minute funding, bringing its total campaign funding to $2,093,080 as of Friday.
The State Chamber of Oklahoma reported giving $75,000 for television ads to voice support for state question 752. That measure, if approved, would change the membership of the state commission that nominates finalists for open judicial spots.
A Florida entity, Act for America, reported giving $33,750 in last-minute funds to pay for automated telephone calls and radio advertisements supporting State Question 755, a measure that would prohibit state judges from using international law, and specifically Shariah law, in making their decisions.
The Virginia group Citizens in Charge reported giving $42,000 in last-minute funds to Patrick Media of Missouri in support of state questions 747 and 750. State Question 747 would impose new term limits for many state offices.
State Question 750 would reduce the number of signatures needed on initiative petitions circulated in the two years after presidential elections
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