OKLAHOMA CITY — Plumbing company owner Markwayne Mullin holds a significant financial advantage over his opponents in the race for the open 2nd Congressional District seat, fueled largely by personal loans to his campaign, according to new fundraising reports.
The latest campaign reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show Mullin topped $869,000 in total receipts through the end of June and has more than $150,000 in cash on hand. Mullin, the owner and CEO of Mullin Plumbing, has given his campaign a boost with more than $255,000 in personal loans to his campaign.
“We’re not taking anything for granted,” said Mullin’s campaign manager Tim Ross. “Money is just one benchmark for how a campaign is going, but we think all the benchmarks are pointing in our direction.”
The political newcomer topped the field in a six-way Republican primary on June 26 with 42 percent of the vote, but three-term state Rep. George Faught of Muskogee finished second with 23 percent, forcing an Aug. 28 runoff for the nomination.
Faught has raised more than $417,000 and had a little more than $30,000 on hand at the end of June, FEC reports show.
Faught’s campaign manager Elisha Krauss acknowledged Mullin’s money edge, but said she is confident the campaign can raise enough to compete in the primary runoff and reach voters through television and radio advertising.
“(Mullin’s) donations do not equal votes,” she said. “He outspent us in the primary, and we were able to make it into a runoff.”
The two Democrats in the race also are headed to a runoff, with longtime state and federal prosecutor Rob Wallace earning 46 percent of the vote in a three-way Democratic primary. He will face Wayne Herriman, the owner of a Muskogee-based seed company, who finished with 42 percent.
Wallace raised more than $530,000 through June and ended the period with a little more than $50,000 in cash on hand. Herriman loaned his campaign $220,000, bringing his total receipts to more than $337,000, FEC reports show. Herriman ended the reporting period with a little more than $8,000 in his campaign coffers.
The winners of the Aug. 28 primaries will face independent Michael Fulks of Heavener in the November general election. Fulks did not report raising or spending enough to meet the $5,000 threshold that requires a filing with the FEC.
All the candidates are seeking to replace current Democratic U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, who announced last year that he would not seek a fifth term to the district that covers 26 counties in eastern Oklahoma and stretches from the Kansas border in the northeast to the Red River border with Texas.