By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer
Republican Markwayne Mullin snagged a victory in the 2nd Congressional District race for the Grand Old Party in a hard-fought battle for the state’s last Democratic stronghold.
Mullin, who owns a Broken Arrow plumbing services company, outpaced Democratic nominee Rob Wallace by a 19 percentage point margin. Michael G. Fulks, who campaigned as an independent, attracted the support of about 11,000 voters, for 4.3 percent of the vote.
Mullin credited his message of easing the regulatory burdens on business for his decisive victory. He said government regulations burden small-business owners and undercut job creation.
“Regulations are killing our economy, and we’ve got to get the government out of our way,” Mullin said after declaring victory. “We stayed focused on us, we had a good plan and stuck with it.”
Wallace said that although the election “didn’t turn out the way we would have liked,” he was pleased with the team he assembled for the race. He cited frustration and anger with President Barack Obama as a drag on the Democratic ticket in the 2nd District race.
“I staked out positions early on — on Social Security, Medicare, water rights and education — that are important to the people who live and work in eastern Oklahoma, and I was consistent on those positions throughout the race,” Wallace said. “The turnout we had today reflected the anger with the president we see here in Oklahoma.”
Fulks said he was disappointed with Tuesday’s outcome in the race to fill the congressional post held eight years by U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, a Muskogee Democrat. Still, he was pleased with the number of votes he picked up.
“I look at those who thought I was the right choice, and that made my efforts worthwhile,” he said. “What floors me is the number of people who went for Markwayne Mullin. Moderates have had some success tonight, and nationally we’ve had some good results I hope will overshadow the disaster we saw in the 2nd District.”
Fulks was the only candidate in what began as a field of 10 who accepted no campaign contributions. The Heavener independent said he was the only candidate beholden to no special interests.
Wallace credited Fulks for bringing the issue of special interest funding to the race, which attracted last-minute spending by Americans for Prosperity. The so-called super political action committee bombarded local airwaves with television ads blasting Obama’s economic agenda. Although those ads could not legally support Mullin’s candidacy, they tended to have that effect.
Mullin, however, said his win was more about people “picking somebody with common sense who represents their values.”
Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot
2nd Congressional District
With 530 of 530 precincts reporting:
• Rob Wallace, (D) 95,609, 38.3 percent.
• Markwayne Mullin, (R) 143,059, 57.4 percent.
• Michael G. Fulks, (I) 10,777, 4.3 percent.