A Republican candidate emerged today (Wednesday, October 26) seeking to replace incumbent Sen. Steve Russell, an Oklahoma City Republican, in Senate District 45. Russell announced earlier this month he would not seek a second term next year.
A retired lieutenant colonel (U.S. Army), Russell is the author of “We Got Him,” a memoir of his unit’s role in the capture of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Russell spoke at the community “Salute the Troops” event held in September.
Kyle Loveless, the businessman and conservative political activist Russell defeated in the August 2008 GOP runoff, plans to seek the party’s nod again next year.
Russell replace term-limited Senator Kathleen Wilcoxson. She will host a campaign kick-off event for him next month, Loveless said.
That 2008 race to replace Wilcoxson was highly competitive with five Republicans and no Democrats or Independents going into the primary for the open seat which covers areas of Moore and South Oklahoma City.
Loveless made his announcement at the weekly luncheon of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC), which had backed him in the 2008 election.
Following the announcement, Loveless told CapitolBeatOK, “The issues that I want to work on, basically, the economy and creating a pro-business atmosphere in the state…as well as education reform.”
He also said the state’s infrastructure would be a priority as the issues of roads, bridges and transportation impact business and the economy in the state. He cited his experience with working with Congressman Ernest Istook in the past. “When he was Chairman of (the Committee on) Transportation, that gave me a little bit of perspective on the needs of Oklahoma,” he said.
It was his work as campaign manager for Ernest Istook’s Congressional re-election in 2004 which resulted in a Federal Election Commission audit of the campaign. The audit indicated, among other things, that both Istook and Loveless used campaign funds for personal use. Both paid fines and reimbursed the campaign coffers.
Loveless is involved in the family-owned Loveless Custom Boots and Shoes which has been in business for more than 60 years. “You only remain in business that long when you do things well, work hard, and have good customer service and I take that same attitude toward my ideals and campaign,” he said.
Loveless is the first to publicly announce a campaign for S.D. 45, and said he hasn’t yet heard of anyone else yet considering a run. He said that doesn’t deter him. “That doesn’t change … I’m in it 100 percent.”
In a follow-up email to CapitolBeatOK, Loveless said he supported “lawsuit reform” efforts Russell had opposed in the Legislature. He also contended that “on collective bargaining, he sided more with unions than I would have.”
Note: Editor Patrick B. McGuigan contributed to this report. Rodely is an award-winning journalist whose news reports often appear on CapitolBeatOK and in The City Sentinel, a weekly newspaper.