Six Republicans want a chance to be the party’s nominee for Oklahoma’s Fifth Congressional District. The seat is being vacated by Congressman James Lankford who is running for the U.S. Senate. Fox 25 sat down with all six candidates as they head into the June primary.
The order of the candidate profile stories was randomly selected.
“We need someone with demonstrated conservative voting record as well as leadership skills as well as someone that's not afraid to get their hands dirty and ferret out bureaucrats gone wild,” Mike Turner told Fox 25.
Turner is a relative new-comer to the Oklahoma political scene as he just finished his second session in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Despite the short time in elected office Turner says his voting record will show voters what kind of congressman he will be if elected to represent the 5th district.
“I actually have a demonstrated track record as being a conservative; it's not just a bunch of talk, there's actually proof to it.”
Turner’s campaign is unlike his other 5th district opponents because he has promised not to take money from lobbyists or special interest groups.
“I’m not beholden to them,” Turner said, “I am beholden to the constituents and actual voters.”
However, according to federal election records, Turner still holds one of the top spots for campaign cash. That election war chest is due in part to Turner’s personal half-a-million dollar investment into his campaign. “That’s because we need demonstrated conservatives who are willing to invest in this county,” Turner said of his personal investment to his campaign.
This is Turner’s first federal campaign and it has hit some bumps along the way. A missed filing deadline led to a federal campaign complaint and investigation. “There is an unquestionable hug learning curve,” Turner said of running a campaign for federal office, “They make it very, very hard for outsiders to actually get involved. They don’t want people who are going to ruffle feathers.”
Turner is no stranger to ‘ruffling feathers,’ he drew opposition from even some Republican-led groups over his bill that allowed utility companies to charge more to customers who install rooftop solar panels or wind turbines and want to send excess electricity back through the grid.
Turner said his legislation was about removing subsidies and believes the fight prepared him for the 5th district.
“I’m not afraid to go and investigate and say this is what we need to cut. I’m not there to increase the size of government…everybody else is.”
Ultimately Republican voters will have the final say if Turner is the GOP choice to head to the November ballot. Turner faces five other challengers in the June 24th State Senator Clark Jolley, Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, Harvey Sparks, former State Senator Steve Russell, and former Representative Shane Jett.