Clinton Tops Candidates In Oklahoma Fundraising

Monday, October 22nd 2007, 9:21 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has raised more money in Oklahoma than any other presidential candidate, and Democratic presidential candidates have nearly doubled the amount raised by their Republican counterparts in the state. Of the nearly $2 million given by Oklahoma donors to the presidential candidates, almost $1.3 million has gone to Democrats, according to Federal Election Commission reports.

The top three Democratic candidates -- Clinton, former Senator John Edwards and Senator Barack Obama – each have raised more than the top Republican, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The $435,000 Clinton has raised in the state is a tiny fraction of the $90 million she has collected so far. As a group, the candidates have raised a staggering $420 million.

Most of the money is coming from Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and some business and civic leaders have already opened their checkbooks, though they may not be committed yet. Aubrey McClendon, chairman and CEO of Chesapeake Energy, donated to both Clinton and Giuliani, as did BancFirst executive H.E. Rainbolt.

Former Oklahoma City mayors Kirk Humphreys and Ron Norick have donated to Giuliani, while former Tulsa Mayor Susan Savage, now Oklahoma Secretary of State, has donated to Clinton.

Ivan Holmes, chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said he's been seeing high levels of enthusiasm for several of the party's presidential candidates. At every county meeting he attends, he said, at least four and sometimes more of the candidates have a base of support.

He said he does not think Republicans have settled on their candidates yet and that has kept donors from giving money.

"In our case, it's just the opposite," Holmes said.

A Democratic presidential candidate hasn't carried Oklahoma in a general election since 1964, when former President Lyndon B. Johnson won the state.

U.S. Representative Tom Cole, R-Moore, former chief of staff for the Republican National Committee, agreed with Holmes that the Republicans' relatively lackluster fundraising in the state likely means GOP donors haven't latched on to any of their candidates.

"I think the Republican field is much less clarified than the Democrats," Cole said.

Edwards was a candidate and the vice-presidential nominee in 2004, Clinton entered the race with "100% name identification," and Obama has been "a phenomenon," Cole said.

He said he thinks the Republican primary race is still very fluid in Oklahoma.

"I just think it's very wide open."