Senate District 28
Three men will vie for the vacant seat in Oklahoma's Senate District 28. (NonDoc)

Rep. Zack Taylor (R-Seminole) hopes 28 is his lucky number.

Taylor is running to represent Senate District 28, primarily on his experience from representing the House district of the same number. He will compete for the seat alongside electrician Christian Ford and pastor Mike Haines. As all are Republicans, the next senator from SD 28 will be decided in June 30 primary if any candidate gets a majority of the vote.

Taylor was first elected to represent House District 28 in a 2017 special election after former Rep. Tom Newell stepped down almost immediately after winning the 2016 election. Taylor is currently the chairman of the House Rules Committee.

Senate District 28 has been vacant since former Sen. Jason Smalley stepped down two weeks before the most recent session to accept a job with Motorola Solutions Corp. Prior to his resignation, Smalley served as the Senate’s majority caucus chairman.

The following overview of candidates has been derived from publicly available information. The primary will be held on Tuesday, June 30.

Senate District 28 at a glance

Officeholder: Vacant
ZIP codes represented: 73045, 73054, 74023, 74026, 74059, 74079, 74801, 74804, 74824, 74830, 74832, 74834, 74837, 74840, 74851, 74852, 74854, 74855, 74857, 74859, 74864, 74868, 74869, 74873, 74875, 74881, 74884
Counties represented: Lincoln, Pottawatomie, Seminole

Christian Ford (R)

Christian Ford

Town: Chandler
Profession: Electrician
Platform: Ford is running to “take a stand for our God-given and constitutional rights,” according to his website. He emphasizes his experience with local and grassroots politics, claiming his past will help him make “biblical, conservative principles” heard at the State Capitol.

Ford’s platform includes supporting the Second Amendment, giving control of schools and education to local communities rather than state officials, shrinking the size of government — including reversing recent tax increases which he calls “unconstitutional” — ending abortion and assisting rural communities.

In a Q&A with The Countywide & Sun, Ford listed his top three priorities as to “end or abolish the holocaust known as abortion,” to “listen to grassroots Republicans,” and to “begin removing regulations that are unconstitutional.” He also implied many of the government responses to the current pandemic have been excessive and unconstitutional, and “we the people must be ever vigilant to always guard our God given constitutional rights as Americans and Oklahomans even during a ‘pandemic.'”

On his Facebook page, Ford shared a post showing he received an “A” rating from the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association. Ford also has been endorsed by Oklahomans United for Life, and he wrote a letter in response to opponent Haines’ statement that states cannot end abortion without the permission of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court has no right to deny these Americans of this right! THIS is why I totally support nullification. It is time for “we the people” of Oklahoma to abolish abortion,” the letter stated.

Ford served as the vice chairman of the Lincoln County Republican Party and helped draft the 2019 Oklahoma Republican platform, which he claimed was “one of the most conservative Republican platforms in the history of the state.” His website promises he will follow that platform if elected to office.

Links: Website | Facebook

Mike Haines (R)

Mike Haines

Town: Stroud
Profession: Pastor and founder of Well Checked Systems International, an oilfield services company
Platform: Haines promises “strong, faithful leadership” on his website. A page on his website lists his values, which include being pro-life, equality, religious freedom, gun rights, personal responsibility, capitalism, the sanctity of marriage and property rights.

Haines’ website promises “legislation that works,” which Haines defines as legislation that is functional, feasible and principled. “I will look past quick fixes and demand long term change to enrich our state and our people,” the site reads.

In a Q&A with The Countrywide and Sun, Haines listed his top priorities as rural health care, first responders, economic development and education. According to his website, Haines hopes to approach health care by providing further funding and resources to rural hospitals and programs combating addiction. He also wants to empower teachers and administrators.

In the same article, Haines suggested solving budget problems by eliminating agency slush funds and creating new industries. He characterized the state’s response to the pandemic as “government overreach and mismanagement.”

Haines has also released a policy on the concept of nullification, where states declare federal laws unconstitutional. Some who are opposed to abortion, including Haines’ opponent Ford, have suggested nullification of Roe v Wade by declaring abortion illegal at the state level. Haines denounced this concept, arguing states do not have the right to nullify laws.

Though not mentioned in his current platform, Haines advocated against State Question 788 that led to the legalization of medical marijuana, serving as the president of Vote No OK 788 when the question was on the ballot in 2018. According to an article by Cannabis Business Times, the group was not opposed to legalization in general, just the specifics of the state question, which they felt did not include enough regulation.

On his Facebook page, Haines has supported open carry for gun owners and increased funding for ambulance services.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Rep. Zack Taylor (R)

Zack Taylor

Town: Seminole
Profession: Owner of owns RKR Exploration, oil and gas operation; state representative in HD 28
Platform: “The Oklahoma turnaround has begun, and continuing our progress requires unwavering, conservative leadership that will streamline government and demand fiscal responsibility,” Taylor’s website reads.

His website cites his own experience in small business, as well as his time in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, as assets to those in his district. It also describes Taylor as a “Christian family man.”

Under a tab marked “priorities,” there is just one quote that reads “My values are my priorities. I’m a man of faith, family and freedom who believes traditional values are the foundation for a better Oklahoma.” No other information about his issue priorities appears on the website.

According to his Facebook, Taylor has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association. In another post, he promised to fight any repeal of the Second Amendment or constitutional carry. Taylor has co-sponsored bills to prevent red flag laws and authorize constitutional carry. More information on Taylor’s legislative record can be found here.

In a Q&A with The Countrywide and Sun, Taylor sad his top three priorities were decreasing regulations, decreasing wasteful spending and improving education. He described himself as “a common sense conservative focused on what is best for our area and for Oklahoma” and “100% pro life, A-rated with the NRA, and someone who will always work to defend the Constitution.”

Earlier this session, one of Taylor’s bills, HB 1556, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Reform Act, faced criticism from two corporation commissioners. The bill, which would have increased the oversight duties of the Commission passed the House but was not voted on in the Senate.

On May 28, he made a statement responding to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The three men will vie for the Republican nomination in the Senate District 28 primary election on June 30. If none of the three candidates tops 50 percent in the primary, a runoff election would be held Aug. 25.