News Column

Oklahoma state schools superintendent loans campaign almost $1 million in last month

June 18, 2014

By Nolan Clay, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City

June 18--Behind in some polls, state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi has loaned her re-election campaign $909,848 in the last month, her latest campaign report shows.

She already had loaned her campaign $350,000 last year -- for a total of $1,259,848 in self-funding. As of June 9, she had only $222,155 in outside support.

The Oklahoma City Republican called the loans necessary to counter those who want to undermine her efforts to improve the lives of children.

"She has had to provide this funding because of the hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent by education bureaucrats, leaders of pro-Obama unions and even those under investigation for fraud who are trying to protect a status quo that has put the wants of education establishment adults above that of our state's children," said her campaign manager, Robyn Matthews.

"Janet is personally committed to helping improve the lives of children and education in Oklahoma," the campaign manager also said.

Her chief opponent, Joy Hofmeister, said the loans show the incumbent is "a frantic individual willing to buy an election to hold onto power."

"How much more will Janet Barresi spend to win re-election by slandering my name, smearing my reputation or by making deceptive claims that simply are not true?" asked Hofmeister, a Tulsa Republican.

"Personal fortune may buy political ads, but it doesn't buy leadership capacity. You can't lead if no one is following," Hofmeister said.

The primary election is next Tuesday.

Overall, Barresi, a dentist, has raised $1,482,013 as of June 9, her report shows.

Hofmeister has a total of $530,206 as of June 9, her report shows. She said the funds came from nearly 2,000 donors. She has loaned her campaign $28,953.

Hofmeister is a former public schoolteacher who operates a math and reading program for children in south Tulsa.

A newly formed organization called Oklahomans for Public School Excellence is getting involved in the race, spending $192,515 on television ads in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, according to records obtained by the Barresi campaign. The ads are to begin airing Wednesday.

Barresi's campaign expects the "Bad Apple" ads to be negative toward her. Her campaign manager said the ad campaign by a "dark money" group is another reason Barresi made the right call in funding her own campaign.

Another Republican candidate, Brian S. Kelly, of Edmond, has not filed a contributions report.

The latest campaign contribution reports were due Monday at the state Ethics Commission.

Four Democrats are seeking the schools superintendent position.

Raising the most so far among the Democrats is John Cox, of Peggs. His total -- as of June 9 -- is $225,084.

Also, as of June 9, Ivan Holmes, of Oklahoma City, raised $15,843; Freda Deskin, of Edmond, raised $205,954; and Jack Herron, of Norman, had $23,814.

Other races

In the governor's race, Gov. Mary Fallin, an Oklahoma City Republican, has raised $3,051,179 as of June 9, her report shows.

Fallin reported her first major expense of her re-election effort -- spending $266,950 on June 2 on media advertising.

One Republican challenger, Chad Moody, of Oklahoma City, has not filed a contribution report yet. The other Republican challenger, Dax Ewbank, of Guthrie, reported raising $3,751.

The only Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Joe Dorman, of Rush Springs, reported raising $386,715 as of June 9.

One independent candidate, Richard Prawdzienski, of Edmond, has raised $2,000 -- all from a personal loan. The other independent, Kimberly Willis, of Oklahoma City, did not file a report.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb, an Oklahoma City Republican, has raised $1,176,634 as of June 9, his treasurer said.

His Democratic challenger, Cathy Cummings, of Oklahoma City, had not filed her latest report yet. She had raised $10,920 as of March 31.

Insurance Commissioner John Doak, a Tulsa Republican, has raised $486,846 as of June 9. His only challenger, Bill Viner, a Moore Republican, did not file a contributions report.

Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, an Edmond Republican, has raised more than $254,450, mostly from a personal loan last year.

His Democratic challenger, Mike Workman, of Tulsa, has not filed his latest report yet. He had raised $2,260 as of March 31.


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Source: Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City)

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