Tom Cole

(Editor’s note: In this cheat sheet, NonDoc seeks to provide a digest of candidate information that filters publicly available resources. The following candidate profiles, listed alphabetically and using public-facing photos, serve as a preliminary resource for voters to conduct their own research.)

Five Congressional hopefuls filed to seek the ouster of Oklahoma’s longtime 4th Congressional District Rep. Tom Cole.

With four Democrats vying in the primary, sentiment to flip the seat from red to blue seems high. Meanwhile, only one GOP candidate filed to face the incumbent, but it won’t be his first time doing so.


CD 4 basically includes several of Oklahoma’s larger municipalities except those of Oklahoma City and the greater Tulsa metropolitan areas.

The primaries for both parties will be held June 26. A runoff-primary election will be held Aug. 28 between the top two vote-getters on the Democrat ticket if no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the popular vote. A runoff is not possible in the GOP primary.

Tom Cole (R), 68, Moore

Rep. Tom Cole

Incumbent Republican Tom Cole has held the CD 4 seat since 2002. Recently, Cole expressed opposition to the ongoing policy of separating the children of illegal immigrants from their families, but also added that people who enter the country illegally “run that risk.” Cole keeps a semi-regular blog on his website and also posts a monthly list of books he’s reading.

Committee memberships:

  • Committee on Appropriations
    • Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies (Chair)
    • Subcommittee on Defense
    • Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
  • Committee on the Budget
  • United States House Committee on Rules

In June, Cole voted in favor of the following bills (among others):

  • H.R.2851: Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act
  • H.R.5735: would establish a five-year demonstration program for nonprofit organizations to provide low-income rental-assistance vouchers to individuals recovering from an opioid or other substance-use disorder
  • H.R.5788: Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act
  • H.R.5891: Improving the Federal Response to Families Impacted by Substance Use Disorder Act
  • H.R.5890: Assisting States’ Implementation of Plans of Safe Care Act

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

James Taylor (R), 59, Norman


Profession: U.S. history teacher, pastor
Experience: 41 years of ministerial experience; authored a book intended to guide “… Christian voters on how to vet political candidates …”
Platform: Taylor’s political platform posits limited government, local control of education, limiting the government’s role in the economy and a pro-life stance as major tenets. During a 2016 bid against Cole, he appeared on Steve Bannon’s Breitbart radio show, according to this tweet.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Mary Brannon (D), 66, Washington


Profession: Retired; former teacher and school counselor
Experience: Taught and served as a school counselor for more than 25 years
Platform: According to her Issues page, Brannon lists Medicare, education and veterans’ concerns as chief priorities under her potential leadership. Government transparency also ranks high for Brannon, “so voters know what is going on in Washington D.C.,” as stated on her website.
Links: Website | Facebook

Fred Gipson (D), 81, Norman


Profession: Army captain (retired), lawyer, college teacher and small-business owner
Experience: Legislative assistant to former U.S. Sen. Fred R. Harris (D-Okla.), chief counsel to the University of Oklahoma; former mayor of Seminole. Earlier in June, he filed an Open Records Act lawsuit against the OU Foundation.
Platform: Gipson’s website states a belief in the banning of “weapons of war” and that reasonable gun restrictions should be enforced. Public education, ethics and campaign finance also constitute various legs of his platform.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Roxann Klutts (D), 49, Moore


Profession: Educator
Experience: More than 20 years of classroom experience
Platform: Klutts’ website cites the environment, education and health care of major areas of her political focus. It also states: “The only way for a democracy to be effective is to have a highly educated electorate.”
Links: Website | Facebook

Mallory Varner (D), 28, Midwest City


Profession: Unclear from public-facing sources
Experience: Unclear from public-facing sources
Platform: Varner’s campaign seems largely inactive, in that her campaign’s Facebook page has posted only five times between April 11 and 13. Further, her page lists “Candidate for OK, State Senate, 4th District”.
Links: Facebook