OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A Democratic state representative bent on occupying the congressional seat of Republican Tom Coburn is beating his opponents in the contest to raise campaign funds.
State Rep. Bill Settle of Muskogee reported raising $138,120 for the first quarter of the year. That's double the amounts raised by fellow Democrat Brad Carson and top money-raising Republican, Andy Ewing, who is Coburn's hand-picked successor.
Coburn has decided not to run for re-election, and Settle is giving up his state post to seek the seat.
In his FEC report, Settle is shown to have the most cash in hand among 2nd District hopefuls and was the only one to get significant money from special interest groups, with his campaign emphasizing that most of his contributions came from Oklahoma.
But cash on hand appears abundant in the race to take over the seat of retiring Republican Rep. Tom Coburn.
Things are especially green on the Republican side of that contest. While Ewing has virtually been hand-picked by Coburn to win the GOP nomination, his three opponents have each taken out six-figure loans to boost their campaigns.
Jack Ross reported lending his campaign $125,000 and Eric Troutt listed a loan of $150,000. A summary of Republican Steve Money' sFEC report indicated it had borrowed $150,000 after having paid off a previous $130,000 loan.
The 2nd District race has taken on national prominence, as its outcome could very well help determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives next year.
The district is also the best chance for Democrats to break what will be a 4-year-old Republican monopoly in the state's congressional delegation.
Republicans are running for re-election in the state's five other congressional districts, and neither of Oklahoma's U.S. senators is up for re-election.
Records show Rep. J.C. Watts led the way for fund raising among Republican incumbents, raising $278,150 in the first quarter for a campaign total $575,188.
Rep. Wes Watkins led the way in political action committee donations, garnering $65,500 in the first quarter, according to records. That was about 60 percent of the $108,450 he raised for the quarter.
Rep. Steve Largent reported that 73 percent of the $42,729 he raised for the quarter came from special interests.