Republicans took in far more money from political action committees than Democrats in Oklahoma’s legislative races this year, a review of campaign finance data finds.
An Oklahoma Watch analysis of the latest Oklahoma Ethics Commission data, which includes contributions through Oct. 27, shows that more than $4.1 million has been spent by PACs since the start of 2020 on the 126 legislative seats up for election this year.
Of that amount, nearly $3.5 million, or 83% of the total, went to Republican candidates.
The state’s count of COVID-19 deaths is about 2,500 fewer than the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics death toll of 6,970 for Oklahoma.
The spending includes campaign contributions for the primary, runoff and general election.
More Republicans ran for legislative seats than Democrats this year as Republicans fielded at least one candidate in 95 of the 126 legislative races. Democrats, meanwhile, fielded at least one candidate in only 55 races.
But the campaign finance data still shows that Republicans were the biggest benefactors of the PAC money.
Almost all of the most active and most well-funded PACs in the state overwhelmingly were more likely to support Republicans.
Of the 20 PACs that spent the most money on legislative candidates this year, only one — the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, an organization that supports unions and labor groups — spent more on Democrats than Republicans.
The two most active PACs — organizations representing the Oklahoma Association of Realtors and Florida-based NextEra Energy — accounted for about 90% or more of the spending to Republicans.
Twenty-two legislative candidates, most of them incumbents, took in $50,000 or more from PACs. Jo Anna Dossett, who is running for the open Senate District 35 seat in Tulsa County, is the only Democrat in the group.
Senate President Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, Majority Floor Leader Rep. Jon Echols and Sen. Larry Boggs, R-Wilburton, raised the most from PACS in 2020. They all received more than $100,000.
Trevor Brown has been an Oklahoma Watch reporter since 2016. He covers politics, elections, health policies and government accountability issues. Call or text him at (630) 301-0589. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tbrownokc
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