With Sen. Joseph Silk (R-Broken Bow) challenging U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) in eastern Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District this election cycle, his State Senate seat is left up for grabs. Five candidates (two Democrats and three Republicans) will vie to replace Silk, who has become known statewide as a staunch supporter of banning abortion.
Nearly 70,000 Oklahomans live in Senate District 5, which Silk has represented since winning a special election in 2014. The seat represents the area surrounding Broken Bow, including all of McCurtain, Choctaw and Pushmataha counties and parts of Atoka and Le Flore counties.
The following overview of the candidates for the seat is derived from publicly available information. Voting in the primary races will take place June 30.
Senate District 5 at a glance
- Outgoing office holder: Sen. Joseph Silk (R)
- ZIP codes represented: 74521, 74523, 74525, 74536, 74540, 74543, 74549, 74553, 74555, 74557, 74558, 74560, 74562, 74563, 74567, 74569, 74571, 74574, 74576, 74577, 74722, 74724, 74727, 74728, 74734, 74735, 74736, 74738, 74740, 74743, 74745, 74750, 74754, 74755, 74756, 74759, 74760, 74761, 74764, 74766, 74935, 74937, 74939, 74940, 74942, 74949, 74953, 74957, 74963, 74966
- Counties represented: McCurtain, Choctaw, Pushmataha, Atoka, Le Flore
George Burns (R)
Profession: Partial owner of engineering and construction firm, former electric cooperative president
Platform: Burns’ website states that he will represent “honest, conservative values,” including protecting Christianity and working for jobs, infrastructure and rural education. He cites experience in a local electric cooperative as important in his mission to “root out corruption” at the State Capitol. His website mentions his support of Donald Trump multiple times and likens Burns to the president.
Links: Website | Facebook
Justin Jackson (R)
Profession: In 2015, Jackson told NonDoc he was a professional fundraiser.
Platform: In a video posted on his Facebook page, Jackson said he is running to create jobs and allow Oklahomans to enjoy the state’s natural resources. He also promised to “protect our way of life.” In a separate post, he wrote: “I believe in, and will advance America First in everything, including #FromFarmToFork.” In 2015, Jackson was a staunch supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump, writing a song encouraging other Oklahomans to get on the “Trump train.”
Jimmy Westbrook (R)
Town: Broken Bow
Profession: McCurtain County commissioner
Platform: In a campaign announcement published in the Heavener Ledger, Westbrook wrote that he has been a public servant for 18 years. He lists his priorities as jobs, education, health care, transportation, safety and well-being, though did not offers specifics on those issues. His campaign Facebook page mainly contains videos of people endorsing his candidacy and doesn’t have any information about his platform. He is currently the president of the Association of County Commissioners of Oklahoma.
Randy Coleman (D)
Town: Broken Bow
Platform: Coleman’s Facebook page contains little information about his platform. He promises to “vote for the party of common sense.”
Bevon Rogers (D)
Town: Oklahoma City? Hugo?
Profession: Rogers has worked in oil and gas, commercial food distribution, and human capital management.
Platform: Rogers originally filed federal paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate, and his website still refers to him as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, with statewide platforms. But during April’s filing period with the Oklahoma State Election Board, Rogers ultimately filed for Senate District 5 instead. His website, which includes a series of economic plans for all 77 Oklahoma counties, describes his desire to make Oklahoma an “industrial gem.” Rogers created a committee with the Federal Election Commission for the U.S. Senate, and he was interviewed about his candidacy for that position. Rogers’ filing with the State Election Board lists an OKC address, though it appears he has been registered to vote in Hugo. His eligibility was not challenged during the board’s allotted time frame.
Links: Website | YouTube