Edmondson and Stitt raise millions in final weeks of campaign
Democrat Drew Edmondson and Republican Kevin Stitt have raised a combined $5.6 million over the last 11 weeks and both report nearly $1 million on hand to spend in the final days of the gubernatorial election.
From Aug. 14 through Oct. 22, Stitt raised a total of $3.6 million, which includes another $1.5 million in personal loans, according to finance reports filed Monday. Stitt has now loaned his campaign a total of $4.8 million.
"I've been matching dollar-for-dollar (of what comes into our campaign) because if you rely on special interests then you have a lot of favors to repay, and I think that's an important issue with our campaign," Stitt said.
Stitt spent $3.1 million during the 10-week reporting period and had $815,000 in his campaign account on Oct. 22.
Stitt has raised at least $174,150 since Oct. 22, according to daily contribution reports.
Edmondson's campaign raised $1.9 million between Aug. 14 and Oct. 22, a similar amount of donor contributions as Stitt.
Edmondson spent $3 million during that period and had $912,000 in his campaign account on Oct. 22. He has since raised at least $48,350, according to daily reports.
"I'm pleased with where we stand going into the final week," Edmondson said.
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All gubernatorial candidates combined this election cycle had spent more than $21 million through Oct. 22.
Monday's financial report was the last comprehensive disclosure of contributions and expenses before the Nov. 6 election. Candidates are still required to post daily contribution reports for any donation over $1,000.
The next full disclosure of candidate contributions and expenses won't be due until Jan. 31.
Since he began raising money last year, Stitt's campaign has received more than $10 million in contributions, nearly half of it personal loans, which is more than double the previous record spent on a gubernatorial campaign.
Edmondson's campaign has raised a total of nearly $4 million, just $60,000 of it from personal loans.
Edmondson, a former state attorney general, received many of his largest individual donations from attorneys, along with hundreds of contributions from educators.
Stitt, the former CEO of Gateway Mortgage in Tulsa, has received many individual donations from business owners, real estate agents and bankers.
Stitt also received personal donations from several leaders in the oil and gas sector, including Larry Nichols, the co-founder of Devon Energy, and Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources.
A relatively small amount of funding for both candidates came from political action committees, which can donate $5,000 to a candidate per primary, runoff and general election cycle, for a total of $15,000.
Edmondson's campaign has received $100,000 from political action committees, many representing teacher, construction and autoworker unions.
Political action committees have donated $186,000 to Stitt's campaign, much of that coming from organizations representing home builders, agricultural interests, and energy companies.
Both candidates have funneled some of their funds into an onslaught of attack ads.
“If I could turn off my television until Tuesday I would,” said Richard Johnson, a professor of political science at Oklahoma City University. “Both parties are hitting each other with attack ads and it's a sign that this is a close race down the stretch.”
Johnson said the negative ads aren't a good look for politics, especially when viewed as a professor who tries to convince students to consider a career in public service.
“But this is politics in America and (the commercials) can have an impact,” Johnson said.