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NEWS COMMENTARY: Bringing in the Sheaves for 2022: The governor, the junior senator, Hizzoner – and the guy from Tulsa

Patrick B. McGuigan

Oklahoma City – What do a first-term governor who wants another term, a multi-term member of Congress seeking six more years, the mayor of this fair city, and a guy from Tulsa who wants to be attorney general (the second-time candidate, not the appointed incumbent) have in common?

There are shades of difference in their policy perspectives, to be sure, but each person in this bushel basket bunch shares at least this much: An ability to bring in massive early contributions in the initial stages of Campaign 2022.

The wonderful old song of faith, “Bringing in the Sheaves” uses Scriptural allusions drawn from both the Old (Psalm 126) and New Testaments – and the Parable of the Sower.

Not to mix the spiritual with the profane over-much, but: Early financial returns make it easy to believe that someone(s) in each campaign might have taken a moment to hum, “We shall come rejoicing – bringing in the sheaves.”

On July 28, Governor Stitt’s campaign said they had a fine second quarter, indeed: Raising $773,432.26 in the second quarter of this year. They ended the three months with $1.2 million on hand for what might, or might not, be a bruising campaign over the next 16 months.

Always a foe of invidious stereotyping, your humble servant hastens to point out information helpfully provided in the chief executive’s campaign release: “More than 2,000 individuals donated during the second quarter, of which 65 percent were low-dollar donations of $100 or less from Oklahomans across the state.”

Stitt wants to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state, and is still celebrating the economic growth that permitted a generous disbursement of taxpayer money this spring.

He said:

“By working together with Oklahomans from across the state, we have built the largest savings account in Oklahoma’s history, funded education at historic highs, cut taxes for all, and protected both public health and our economy through an unprecedented pandemic. Oklahoma’s turnaround is well underway thanks to common-sense conservative principles. With one more term, we will be able to accelerate our efforts and deliver lasting change for the better of all 4 million Oklahomans.”

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As for James Lankford, the junior senator now at a seasoned age where slight touches of gray speckle that top of red hair, he’s no slouch in the fundraising department: He garnered contributions from all 77 counties – in the Second Quarter $663,758.68, for an Inhofe-ian total of $1,628,207.73 in cash on hand.

Lankford reflected in his recent release celebrating the totals: “My daily service to Oklahomans is not possible without the strong support from Oklahomans in every part of the state. Cindy and I are grateful to everyone who has already supported the campaign financially, as a volunteer, or through our prayer team. As our families stand together, we can ensure that our Oklahoma values will be clearly represented in Washington, DC.

Lankford has endorsements from 80 state leaders, every statewide elected official, former NASA administer (and Congressman) Jim Bridenstine, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich.

U.S. Senator James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, is proving his fundraising prowess in the walk-up to the 2022 election season.

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Which brings us to the lanky Hizzoner – Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. There is nothing skinny about his prowess in the fundraising category: He’s brought in $545,090.35 in the first two quarters, for $496,326.59 cash-on-hand.

Holt has surpassed his 2018 campaign total already and, in fact, the only campaign ever to raise more money in an Oklahoma City race is Mick Cornett in 2014.

Elected with 78 percent backing in 2022, Holt said, “It is certainly heartening to see the positive polls and the donations.

“Visiting with residents the past few months, it is clear they are pleased with what our city has accomplished and where we are heading. We have worked together as ‘One OKC’ to create one of the nation’s strongest economies with one of the lowest unemployment rates, to launch MAPS 4, to improve our streets, and to strengthen public safety. Our residents clearly want to continue this momentum.”

With the 2022 mayor election set for February 2022, incumbent Mayor David Holt has raised more than a half-million dollars this year. He won his first term with 78 percent backing.

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As for the man who wants to be Oklahoma’s next elected attorney, Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond is one of those guys who could self-fund a lot of his 2022 campaign, if he chooses. He was not a fund-raising slouch in 2018, when he narrowly lost the Republican primary to an appointed attorney general.

This time, Drummond has taken a different tack. The campaign told The City Sentinel that $542,334.44 had (by late July) been raised from over 300 individuals – with zero personal loans form the candidate at this point. Cash on hand? That’s a tidy $524,734.14.

Drummond raised this initial wave of cash in 33 days, not a full quarter. And, an aide told me, “It is the most money that any candidate for Attorney General has ever raised in a quarter.”

The official report should be available soon, around the time this newspaper’s print edition hits the racks. To be sure, the recently appointed Attorney General, John O’Connor is a successful attorney who, like Drummond, can “self-fund.”

But Drummond has run for statewide office before.

Having barely lost, and clearly being a guy who likes to win, he has certain advantages from the git-go. 

Gentner Drummond, a Tulsa attorney, raised an impressive $542,000+ in just 33 days this summer. Having narrowly lose the 2018 Republican runoff to an appointed attorney general, Drummond aims to win the nomination and the general election in 2022.
Pat McGuigan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Oklahoma politics, policy, culture and legal trends for most of his life. File photo