House Appropriations Chair Tom Cole Survives Primary Challenge

The Chair of the House Appropriations Committee is likely to win an eleventh term on Capitol Hill after Oklahoma voters endorsed him in a June 18 primary.

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, is likely to secure another term in Congress after winning his district’s Republican primary on June 18.

Mr. Cole, who’s represented Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District since 2002, won his primary contest over four GOP contenders. The Associated Press called the race a little more than a half hour after polls closed at 7 p.m. Central Daylight Time.

According to the unofficial results published by the Oklahoma State Election Board, Mr. Cole defeated his main Republican rival, Paul Bondar, and three other candidates —Andrew Hayes, Nick Hankins, and Rick Whitebear Harris— by a significant margin. As of about 8 p.m. CDT, with more than 25 percent of all precincts reporting, Mr. Cole had captured 66.2 percent of the vote.

As of publication time, neither Mr. Cole nor Mr. Bondar had released an official statement on the election results.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) issued a congratulatory statement on Tuesday night.

“There is no one better suited to fight for this district than Congressman Cole,” NRCC spokeswoman Delanie Bomar said in a release. “We are confident the voters will re-elect Tom to Congress this November.”

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With this win, Mr. Cole will go on to face either Mary Brannon or Kody Macaulay, who are running in the June 18 Democratic Party primary. Independent candidate James Stacy will also feature in the November general election.

If Ms. Brannon prevails, she will square off against Mr. Cole for the fourth time since 2018. Mr. Cole is seeking his eleventh term in Congress to serve the heavily Republican district.

Mr. Bondar, an entrepreneur and political neophyte, largely self-financed his campaign. According to Federal Election Commission records, Mr. Bondar’s principal campaign committee, Elect Paul L. Bondar, received more than $5 million in loans from Mr. Bondar’s personal funds in the final months of the contest.

In campaign materials, Mr. Bondar said he made his money through the sale of an insurance company he founded. His financing strategy, he said, underscored his political independence.

Mr. Bondar faced questions about his residency in Oklahoma. The candidate is originally from Wisconsin and spent years in Texas before arriving in the Sooner State. Campaign finance forms list his address in Norman, Oklahoma.

Mr. Cole, as chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, oversees bills related to government spending. In his more than 20 years on Capitol Hill, he has also chaired and served as the ranking member of the House Rules Committee and the NRCC.

Before his first election to the House, Mr. Cole was Oklahoma’s secretary of state.

Mr. Cole seems poised to win again in November. The south-central Oklahoma 4th Congressional District elected Republicans in every Congressional contest since 1994.

Along with his long track record in Washington, Mr. Cole brought numerous endorsements to voters ahead of the primary contest. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Mr. Cole in May.

“As Chairman of the POWERFUL Appropriations Committee, Tom is fighting hard to Secure the Border, Stop Migrant Crime, Strengthen our Military/Vets, Support our Great Law Enforcement, and Protect our always-under-siege Second Amendment,” former President Trump wrote in a Truth Social post.

Mr. Cole is also endorsed by the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and Oklahoma statewide agriculture and business associations.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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