Lankford gains 2-1 victory in Fifth District Republican primary, faces Billy Coyle
By Patrick B. McGuigan
The momentum James Lankford gained in his narrow first-place showing on primary election night apparently never waned. In the Tuesday (August 24) runoff for the Republican nomination in the Fifth District Congressional, Lankford soared to 65.22% backing, a total of 29,814 votes. He will face Democratic nominee Billy Coyle in the general election.
Lankford actually gained roughly 11,000 votes between the primary and the runoff, and easily defeated former state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who garnered 15,899 votes, for 34.78%. Calvey’s support dropped by a little more than 2,000 votes between the two elections.
Calvey conceded early in the evening. In the process he issued a stirring endorsement of his opponent. He said Lankford has built “an enormously loyal network of people” around his church, and built more from there. Calvey said the victor “worked very hard. He has my support. I wish him well, He deserved to win. I will continue to pray for him and his family.”
The campaign had taken a provocatively negative turn in recent weeks, with Calvey charging Lankford with naivete about some issues. Lankford had rebutted Calvey’s accusations with his own strong defense in television and print advertising.
While Calvey had a strong financial advantage over the long course of the campaign, Lankford surged dramatically in late donations. The two men differed little on substantive policy matters, both running strongly conservative issues-driven campaigns.
Last weekend, veteran political reporter Mike McCarville reported over a four day period of late major contributions, Lankford had a total of $87,000 to Calvey’s $20,400 in the same time period.
The rancor of the closing days of the campaign was not in evidence on election night. Lankford told supporters he had received “a remarkably gracious call from Kevin.” Lankford praised his opponent, then went on to call upon his supporters to make “continued sacrifices of time and money.” He described the campaign as infused with “a passion for our God, our families and our country.”
Lankford said he and his supporters “want our children to have the kind of America that we grew up with.” He promised to fight to curb “a Congress that’s spending too much, taxing too much and cares about the next generation too little.”
Next to the initial introduction of Lankford and his family by businessman Frank McPherson, the largest cheer of the night came when Lankford said he would be part of an electoral revolution designed “to send Nancy Pelosi back to San Francisco.” When the raucous response died down, he added, “I’m really looking forward to her flyng coach.”
Lankford ended his campaign speech with a prayer, including calling for Divine blessings upon each of his original six opponents.
The Republican nomination for Commissioner of Insurance went to Tulsa businessman John Doak, who racked up 84,570 votes (70.55%) over former Commissioner John P. Crawford. Doak will challenge incumbent Democrat Kim Holland, who secured a major legal victory on Tuesday, winning her challenge to the constitutionality of the controversial health insurance claims tax.
In the Republican primary for state House District 100, the seat being vacated by incumbent Mike Thompson, Elise Hall garnered 2,150 (62.12%) to David Looby’s 1,306 (37.88%). No Democrat filed for the seat, so Hall’s victory makes her representative-elect. While not yet confirmed, some Republican sources say she will be the youngest elected state representative in the nation when she takes the oath of office this winter.
CapitolBeatOK will sort through November matchups in the weeks ahead, with additional reporting on some of the key primary and runoff contests.