Former President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the BOK Center in Tulsa on June 20, 2020.

With less than five months until Oklahoma’s presidential primary elections, former President Donald Trump has built a significant fundraising advantage among Republican candidates. 

Oklahoma donors gave $617,565 to Trump’s presidential campaign fund between January 2022 and September 2023, more than three times what any other candidate received, according to campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission on Sunday.

More than 6,600 individuals contributed to Trump’s campaign, with an average donation amount of $49.37. Four donors gave the maximum allowable contribution of $3,300. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ranked second among Republican presidential candidates over the 21-month period, raising just over $204,000. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott trailed behind Trump and DeSantis.

President Joe Biden led fundraising among Democratic candidates over the reporting period, receiving $67,701. Donors gave $42,011 to Independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine author and activist who dropped his Democratic primary bid on Oct. 9. 

Polling shows Trump’s popularity remains strong in Oklahoma, where he carried all 77 counties in 2016 and 2020. Half of likely Republican voters who responded to an Amber Integrated survey in August said Trump is their top choice in the presidential primary. 

But the race could heat up as Trump faces criminal charges and influential Oklahoma Republicans distance themselves from the former president. 

Gov. Kevin Stitt endorsed DeSantis during a campaign stop in Tulsa on June 11. Twenty state lawmakers, including House Minority Floor Leader Jon Echols, R-Oklahoma City, signed a statement in early June formally pledging their support to DeSantis. In interviews with The Tulsa World, some of those lawmakers said they’re backing DeSantis because he’d be eligible to serve two terms and doesn’t carry the legal baggage that Trump does. 

Oklahoma’s presidential primary date for registered Republicans and Democrats is set for Tuesday, March 5. Unaffiliated voters can opt to receive a Democratic ballot. Local issues may appear on the ballot in some jurisdictions. 
The voter registration deadline for the March 5 presidential primaries is Feb. 9. To check your voter registration status or register to vote online, visit the OK Voter Portal.

Keaton Ross covers democracy and criminal justice for Oklahoma Watch. Contact him at (405) 831-9753 or Follow him on Twitter at @_KeatonRoss.

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