Five industries have driven most of the donations to candidates for Oklahoma’s next governor, an analysis by The Frontier of campaign donation data shows.
And those donations are mostly clustered around four candidates — three Republicans and one Democrat, according to the data.
Oklahoma voters will decide the candidates who will be on November’s ballot for governor on Tuesday, barring a run-off election. Though many of the candidates have self-funded their campaign through loans — some of which have been upwards of seven figures — to boost their coffers, the outside donations from individuals and political action committees shows a close competition in the money race.
The data shows that current Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, a Republican, is thus far leading in outside donations, accounting for nearly 31 percent of all money given to gubernatorial candidates, not counting donations from family members or a candidate giving to their own campaign.
However, Lamb is closely trailed by two other Republicans in the outside money race — Tulsa mortgage broker Kevin Stitt and former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, who are neck and neck in outside donations, the data shows.
Though Stitt has the largest campaign war chest, with around $4.8 million, nearly 60 percent of those funds came from money he loaned to his campaign or donations from family members. And although Cornett trails both Lamb and Stitt in fundraising, there is also a Super PAC that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars aiding him in the race.
Democrat candidate Drew Edmondson, Oklahoma’s former attorney general, trails the three top Republicans in campaign donations overall, but has a comfortable lead over his primary opponent, former state senator Connie Johnson, the data shows.
By industry, the largest amount donated to candidates for governor came from individuals and political action committees in the banking, finance and financial services sector, which includes bankers, investors and financial advisors, the data shows.
The top five industries funding this year’s governor’s race have been:
- Banking, finance and financial services
- Retail and services industry
To analyze the data, each industry was further broken down into sub-categories. For example, the category Banking Finance & Financial Services had sub-categories including banking & mortgage services, investing & financial advising, and lending & payday loans.
Combined, the top five industries made up about 50 percent of all outside campaign donations given, according to the data, though between and even within those industries there were often vast differences in which candidates got the lion’s share of donations.
A donor category could not be identified for around 5.6 percent of the money donated in the governor’s race.
Lamb’s campaign by far has received the most contributions with about $3.6 million.
About $1 million of those funds are from Lamb’s prior campaign committee for his 2014 run for lieutenant governor, the office Lamb holds currently.
The largest contributor of Lamb’s gubernatorial campaign — about 11 percent of his donations — was the health industry with about $412,000.
Doctors donated about $115,000. People who worked in hospitals or clinics donated about $108,000.
Lamb, 46, has previously said he opposes Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma and was critical of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2012, calling for its repeal.
Lamb’s campaign has received about $277,000 from people working in the energy sector, mostly in oil and natural gas.
People in the farming, ranching and agriculture industry have given about $210,000 to the campaign. Ranchers contributed about $75,000, and agriculture workers donated about $71,000.
One of the pillars of Lamb’s campaign has been the need to diversity the state’s economy, with energy and agriculture remaining as the backbone.
Lamb’s campaign received about $248,000 from people working in the banking, finance and financial service industry. Out of those donations, about $104,000 came from contributors in investing and financial advising.
Of the gubernatorial candidates, Lamb had the most contributions from political action committees with $178,000. The oil and natural gas industry gave the most with $42,500. Groups within the health industry gave almost $39,000.
Republican Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City’s former mayor, has raised about $1.9 million.
The bulk of the contributions, about $330,000, came from the banking, finance and financial services industry. Of that $139,000 came from people working in finance and investing.
Cornett, 59, served as Oklahoma City’s mayor for 14 years and during his gubernatorial campaign has maintained that he’s the budget-savvy governor Oklahoma needs, pointing to his time as mayor.
The retail and service industry is another top contributor to Cornett’s campaign.
People working in that industry gave about $245,000, the majority coming from service companies and retail stores.
Cornett has taken credit for much of Oklahoma City’s economic growth and says he would push to create new jobs in Oklahoma.
Another main contributor to his campaign: The energy industry, which gave about $229,000. More than $209,000 of that was from people working in oil and natural gas.
Republican Kevin Stitt, a Tulsa businessman who has marketed himself as a political outsider, has amassed about $4.9 million for his campaign.
However, more than half of that — $2.86 million — Stitt loaned his campaign. Outside of that, Stitt’s largest giver was the banking, finance and financial services industry.
Stitt founded Gateway Mortgage, a private mortgage lender group, in 2000. People in that industry gave Stitt’s campaign about $353,000, and $205,000 of that came from banking and mortgage workers.
People in the retail and service industry gave Stitt’s campaign about $227,000. Almost half of those donations came from service companies, such as equipment suppliers and land surveyors.
Republican Gary Jones has been the state auditor and inspector since 2010. His gubernatorial campaign has raised just under $100,000.
Jones’ largest contributor was the banking, finance and financial services industry with $9,500, followed by the real estate industry, which gave $6,950.
Jones loaned his campaign $10,000.
On the Democratic side, former Oklahoma attorney general Drew Edmondson has raised more than $1.5 million in monetary and in-kind donations.
Edmondson, 71, is vying for the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primaries, along with Constance Johnson. However, Edmondson is pegged to win due to his higher name recognition and financial standing. Johnson’s campaign has raised just under $70,000.
About $513,000 of Edmondson’s donations have come from attorneys, the largest category of contributors in his campaign. That should come to no surprise, as Edmondson served as Oklahoma’s Attorney General from 1995 to 2010, winning four races for the office.
As attorney general Edmondson helped negotiate a settlement with tobacco companies in 1998 that paid several states millions of dollars each year. The Oklahoma Tobacco Trust Fund is also known as TSET.
Edmondson’s campaign received more than $100,000 in contributions from people working in education. Most of those donations, about $71,000, came from higher education and about $28,000 came from common education.
Education has been a major platform of Edmondson’s campaign. He has advocated for a series of pay raises to teachers and an end to cuts to higher and common education.
Healthcare workers have donated almost $119,000 to the campaign. More than $74,000 came from doctors.
Oklahoma is one of roughly 20 states that chose not to expand Medicaid. Edmondson has said as governor he would aim to reverse that decision.
Edmondson loaned his campaign $60,000.
About $236,000 in donations to Edmondson’s campaign came from contributors who did not list their occupations.
Republican candidate Gary Richardson, an attorney in Tulsa, had about $1.24 million contributed to his campaign. However, most of those funds — $1 million — Richardson loaned to himself.
The majority of the campaign’s contributions, $45,000, have come from attorneys.
Another $34,000 came from contributors working in the health industry. Richardson, 77, has said little about health care reform during his campaign, with the exception of stating he is against abortion.
About $19,000 came from the banking, finance and financial services industry.
Richardson, in his second run for governor, has been vocal about making turnpikes free, while selling red Trump-esque hats that read “Make turnpikes free roads again.”
He has also called for an audit on the state’s education spending to ensure funds are being properly distributed.
Top 10 Industries driving the election
The following analysis comes from campaign data filed with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission between Jan. 1, 2017 and June 20, 2018. The full data set and breakdown of what candidates received money from what industries can be viewed here.
Though more than a quarter of all funds in this year’s governor’s race comes from candidate loans to their campaigns or from candidate family members, outside groups have contributed more than $8.7 million total to the candidates.
Below are the 10 industries that are driving this year’s governor election and the candidates who received the most from them in the money race.
1. Banking, Finance & Financial Services
Total donations: $1.05 million
Industry Fundraising Winner: Kevin Stitt
> Banking & Mortgage
> Credit & Credit Card Services
> Debt Collection Services
> Investing & Finance
> Lending & Payday Loans
> Payroll Services
Overall, donations from the banking and financial services industry made up more than 12 percent of all donations given during the governor’s race — more than $1 million combined — the largest share of any industry in the data.
Stitt has received the most money from this industry, though he is closely trailed by Cornett, the data shows.
Much of Stitt’s support comes from individuals and groups in the banking and mortgage services industry, while much of Cornett’s donations from this industry came from the investing and financial services sector. In total, Stitt raised around $353,000 from this group, compared to Cornett’s more than $329,000, according to the data.
Total donations: $989,000
Industry Fundraising Winner: Todd Lamb
> Eye Care
> Hospitals & Clinics
> Long-Term & Home Care
> Medical Equipment & Services
> Mental Health
> Public Health
By far, most donations from the health field and its various associated groups went to Lamb, including the two largest donor groups in the category — doctors and hospitals/clinics. Combined, the health field accounted for a little more than 11 percent, or just under $1 million, of all outside donations given in the race, the data shows, and Lamb has gotten around 42 percent of that.
The only exception was donor group and individuals in the mental health field, the data shows. Edmondson got around 42 percent of those donations, according to the data, though the total amount donated by that group only came to about $23,000.
More than 56 percent of the approximately $906,000 donated in the governor’s race by attorneys and legal groups went to Edmondson, who served as the state’s Attorney General for 16 years.
All told, donations from legal groups and attorneys accounted nearly one-third of Edmondson’s total campaign cash, more than twice the amount of any other industry that donated to his campaign, according to the data.
Combined, donations from attorneys who did not identify as working for a company that would be classified in another industry made up slightly more than 10 percent of all donations given in the race.
Donations stemming from the energy industry totaled nearly 9 percent of all money given thus far in the governor’s race, nearly $770,000. And of that amount, almost all comes from donors associated with the oil and natural gas industry.
About 37 percent of the donations from oil and natural gas went to Lamb’s campaign, about 29 percent went to Cornett’s and 26 percent went to Stitt, according to the data. Cornett received the most donations from the solar and wind industries as well as money from the energy transmission and distribution fields, while Stitt received the most from the coal industry. But it was not enough to edge out Lamb, who has received more than $270,000 from oil and natural gas interests.
5. Retail & Service Industries
Total donations: $637,000
Industry Fundraising Winner: Mick Cornett
> Big Box Stores
> Convenience Stores
> Hotel Services
> Online Retail
> Retail Stores & Sales
> Service Companies
> Temporary Employment & Recruiting
Combined, donors in the retail and service industries gave a little more than 7 percent of all donations in the governor’s race, or about $637,000, according to an analysis of the data. Within that category, individuals and groups from the service industry donated the most, and the candidate who benefited the most from those service-industry donations was Stitt, the data shows. Stitt also received the most from those classified as working in online retail and temporary employment/recruitment services.
However, the next highest amount of donations from a group within the category — retail stores & sales went to Cornett, along with donors classified as being associated with restaurants, hotel services, convenience stores. The only group that was not dominated by Cornett or Stitt were donors classified as being associated with big-box stores, such as Wal-Mart or Hobby Lobby. Those groups favored Lamb, according to the data.
6. Building, Construction & Contracting
Total donations: $549,000
Industry Fundraising Winner: Todd Lamb
> Architecture Services
> Construction Equipment & Materials
> Engineering Services
> General Construction
> General Contracting
> Residential Construction
> Road Construction
A third of all donations from the building, construction and contracting category went toward Lamb’s campaign, though Stitt was a close second with 30 percent of donations from that category. Cornett came in third with about 23 percent of the donations.
7. Real Estate
Total donations: $530,000
Industry Fundraising Winner: Mick Cornett
> Investment & Commercial Properties & Development
> Property Management
> Real Estate Agents and Services
> Title Companies
Cornett received the most from groups within the real estate category, mostly from developers and real estate services individuals and groups, though Lamb receive the most from property management and title company groups.
Total donations: $378,000
Industry Fundraising Winner: Todd Lamb
> Auto Makers & Parts
> Auto Sales & Rentals
> Aviation & Aircraft
> Public Transportation
The data shows Lamb handily received the most from the three biggest donor groups in the transportation category — Auto Sales & Rentals, Aviation & Aircraft, and Trucking, taking nearly 40 percent of all donations in the transportation industry.
Lamb swept this category, receiving more than 60 percent of donations from each of the groups within the Farming, Ranching & Agriculture category.
One of only two industry categories in the top ten contributors in the governor’s race to go to a Democrat, donations from individuals and groups identifying themselves as being in the education field accounted for about 3.4 percent of all outside donations in the governor’s race.
Fully a third of all donations from the education sector went to Edmondson, though he was trailed closely by Lamb, who had about 32 percent of donations from the education field.
While most of Lamb’s donations from the field came from individuals and groups that were identified as being associated with common education — which consists of kindergarten through 12th grade — more than 50 percent of all donations from those associated with higher education went to Edmondson, the data shows.
Meanwhile, Stitt drew about 46 percent of the donations from those identified as being associated with private education, such as home school parents and private schools, while the candidate with the most donations from vocational education individuals and groups was Cornett, according to the data.
The data shows that most donations that fell into the government employees category were split between Lamb, who received around 37 percent of donations from this group, and Edmondson, who received about 35 percent of the donations.
While Cornett received close to a third of the donations from municipal employees, it was not enough to overcome the amounts raised by Lamb from federal and county employees or by Edmondson from state employees.
Republican candidate Dan Fisher got nearly 48 percent of all donations from military members, families and groups, according to the data.
Fisher, who has run on a campaign platform of abolishing abortion and has targeted churches in his campaign, also drew the highest percentage of donations from those primarily associated with religious organizations, which fell under the category of Nonprofit & Religious Organizations. However, the data shows that Cornett pulled more money from philanthropic and social services and welfare groups, putting him ahead in funding from that category.
Edmondson and Lamb were also close in donations from the Tribal Affairs & Gaming category, with Lamb pulling in the most from donors identified as being from the gaming operations industry and Edmondson pulling in the most of any candidate from those who were associated with American Indian tribes.
Finally, Cornett, who is a former television sportscaster and has worked in the advertising industry, received the most money of any candidate from donors who fell in the Media & Communications category, mostly from donors who fell into two camps — Advertising & Marketing (29 percent of donations) and Newspapers & Publishing (60 percent of donations). Meanwhile Stitt garnered about 57 percent of donations from those associated with broadcast media (radio and television), according to the data.