OKLAHOMA CITY — A political newcomer from Tulsa who is running as a Republican for Oklahoma governor in 2018 says he’s amassed more than $1.6 million in his first quarter of fundraising, an amount that could help boost his name identification and make him more competitive in a crowded GOP field.
Republican Kevin Stitt said he raised $811,000 from more than 560 donors during the most recent fundraising quarter that ended Sept. 30. The 44-year-old mortgage company founder added $800,000 of his own money to his campaign war chest.
“I’ve never asked anyone to do anything I’m not willing to do, so I’m matching those contributions dollar for dollar,” Stitt told The Associated Press. “I just really want to put my money where my mouth is.”
Stitt, who formally launched his campaign on Monday with campaign events in Edmond, Jenks and Lawton, said he expects to spend about $2.5 million of his own money on the race. Quarterly campaign finance reports are due by Oct. 31.
“That’s a very large amount of money for someone who has never sought public office before,” said Chad Alexander, a former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party and GOP campaign strategist. “This is going to be by far the most expensive Republican primary in the history of the state of Oklahoma.”
In the previous campaign finance reporting period through June 30, Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb reported a campaign war chest of more than $2 million, including $1 million that was transferred from his lieutenant governor’s campaign. Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson announced last month he was putting $1 million of his own money into his bid for the GOP nomination, while Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett reported raising about $181,000 during the last cycle. Other GOP candidates include former state Rep. Dan Fisher and State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, a former chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party.