Republicans Bridenstine, Atkinson Fight For U.S. Congressional Seat

Sunday, June 19th 2016, 6:58 pm
By: News On 6

There is just a little more than a week to go until voters hit the polls for primary elections.  

Both candidates in the Republican race for Oklahoma’s first U.S. Congressional district are pushing hard to reach voters. 

Two-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine hopes you've supported his push to block executive orders and rein in spending, while challenger Tom Atkinson thinks it's time for a new approach to get work done in Washington.

Bridenstine wants to cut funds to Planned Parenthood and prevent the President's executive orders from taking hold, saying Obama's policies are damaging Oklahoma's economy. 

While Atkinson also objects to the executive orders, he thinks there's been too much talk, not enough action and an unwillingness to find common ground that is hurting the country.

Atkinson says he's not a politician.

“Obviously people are sick of politicians, they're sick of Washington D.C.,” Atkinson said. "They're fed up with excuses; they don't like the infighting."

While incumbent and 'freedom caucus' member Bridenstine wants conservatives to stay the course.

“We're moving the Republican majority in a more conservative direction, which is critically important at this point in American history,” Bridenstine said.

Both are veterans, object to the President's executive orders and want to repeal Obamacare.

“We being sworn to defend the constitution have an obligation to defund it,” Bridenstine said.

One major difference - Bridenstine voted against the Omnibus spending bill last December, unwilling to support spending measures from across the aisle.

But Atkinson says he would have supported the bill because it included 60 percent spending for the military.           

“[Atkinson] would support things like the Omnibus, which increase spending by $80 billion, which increase the deficit and the debt," Bridenstine said.

But Atkinson pushes back. He says he would have voted 'yes' since the bill funded military operations at the Tinker Air Force Base.

"How do you create an enemy out of a vote on a bill that includes 60 percent of spending on military installations?" Atkinson said.

"That omnibus bill authorized the expenditure,” Atkinson said. "I think he's looking for an enemy where there is no enemy.”

But Bridenstine says his focus is on lowering federal spending.

“We need to get to a balanced budget in this country, and we're going to continue working on that,” Bridenstine said.

Still Atkinson says about Bridenstine's track record has him feeling like Bridenstine can't work across the aisle to take conservatives in the right direction.

“Nothing he has introduced, authored or sponsored has been signed into law," Atkinson said.

Bridenstine: “It's just not the way that the founding fathers envisioned this country being governed.”

Atkinson: “You can't work well with others in Congress, how effective are you at getting those things unwound?”

According to The Oklahoman, Bridenstine and Atkinson have spent a combined $1 million over nine weeks.

"Atkinson, who entered the race less than three months ago, outraised Bridenstine — even when the $400,000 contributed by Atkinson in personal funds isn't counted — and outspent him from April 1 through June, according to new reports filed with the Federal Election Commission," The Oklahoman reports. "It is the only Oklahoma congressional race in which the fundraising is anywhere near competitive."

Both candidates have campaign rallies this week. 

Bridenstine’s will be held on Monday at 6:30 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center in Tulsa.  

Atkinson’s will be held on Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Riverside Airport, inside Christiansen Aviation.