Senate Race Funding Is Close

Randy Krehbiel
Tulsa World

Fundraising is as close as the race itself in the campaign to succeed U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, according to first-quarter reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

According to the reports, net contributions to 5th District U.S. Rep. James Lankford were $827,190 for the first three months of 2014, while former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon took in $807,952.78.

Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, generally considered the third favorite in the seven-way Republican primary, reported net contributions of $114,130 and cash on hand of $92,016.19.

Contributions to Lankford’s campaign included $109,350 from political action committees, including $10,000 each from the FAA Managers PAC and the Desert Caucus, an Arizona-based organization devoted entirely to U.S.-Israeli relations.

The largest share of Lankford’s contributions appeared to come from Oklahoma City-area interests, including energy titans Larry Nichols and Aubrey McClendon.

Tulsa-area donors included City Councilor G.T. Bynum ($2,600), Arby’s franchisee Jeff Davis ($5,200), Charles and Julie Sublett ($5,200), John and Hannah Robson ($5,200) and state Sen. Gary Stanislawski ($500).

Lankford began the quarter with $514,505.46 from his U.S. House campaign fund and spent $333,306.03, leaving him with just over $1 million in cash on hand.

Contributions to Shannon’s campaign included $45,850 from political action committees. That included $10,000 from Express Scripts, a mail-order prescription service, and $10,000 from the Senate Conservatives Fund.

The latter PAC also collected an additional $61,367 on Shannon’s behalf.

Like Lankford, most of Shannon’s money came from within the state, but he also reaped a significant amount in South Florida.

Sunshine State donors included Maximo and Esther Alvarez ($5,200), Ron and Sharon Clapper ($5,200), Miguel and Constance Fernandez ($15,600), and Arthur and Belinda Keiser ($7,700).

Campaign expenditure reports show at least four South Florida hotel charges, totaling more than $1,600, between March 20 and March 31.

Shannon also received significant support from the medical field. Besides Miguel Fernandez, CEO of a string of Medicare plans under the umbrella of MBF Healthcare, Shannon received $5,000 from Robert Mayo, vice president of Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and lesser amounts from others associated with the Schuamburg, Ill.-based specialty hospitals.

A member of the Chickasaw Nation, Shannon received a total of $14,200 from seven tribes.

The Chickasaws did not contribute directly to Shannon’s campaign, although the tribe’s commerce secretary, Bill Lance, gave $5,200, and other Chickasaw officials and employees gave lesser amounts.

Shannon also received at least $17,600 from various gaming interests, and current and former colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives chipped in $11,250.

Shannon’s Oklahoma donors of note included Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett ($2,600), Oklahoma City’s Central Liquor ($7,800), Greg and Tom Love ($2,600 each), Tulsan Joseph Moran ($5,200), Tulsan Jim Richie ($5,200), former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer ($1,000) and BancFirst executives H.E. and David Rainbolt ($2,600).

Shannon reported expenditures of $304,971.58 and cash on hand of $502,981.22.

For federal elections, donors are allowed to give as much as $2,600 per candidate per election, including primaries, runoffs and general elections.

Money contributed for elections not held must be refunded to the donor.

The next FEC deadline is June 12.

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