Justin Dine was hoping House District 12 incumbent Rep. Kevin McDugle (R-Broken Arrow) wouldn’t even be on the ballot for the Republican primary on June 30.
Dine, McDugle’s only challenger, contested the legislator’s candidacy in a bizarre hearing this April, claiming that McDugle didn’t actually live in the district. After testimony that at one point digressed into a description of “a rancid smell of urine,” the State Election Board ruled in McDugle’s favor.
McDugle, who has represented the Broken Arrow seat since 2016, serves as the chairman of the House Wildlife Committee and sits on the Appropriations and Budget, Energy and Natural Resources and Veterans and Military Affairs committees.
The Republican primary election between the two men will be held Tuesday, June 30. As no other candidates filed for the seat, the primary will decide the officeholder for the next term.
The following overview of candidates was derived from publicly available information.
House District 12 at a glance
Officeholder: Rep. Kevin McDugle
ZIP codes represented: 74014, 74036, 74337, 74352, 74403, 74429, 74434, 74446, 74454, 74458, 74467, 74477
Counties represented: Wagoner
Cities/municipalities represented: Broken Arrow, Coweta, Fair Oaks, Okay, Porter, Redbird, Tullahassee, Wagoner
Kevin McDugle (R, incumbent)
Town: Broken Arrow
Profession: Entrepreneur, marketing, retired Marine
Platform: McDugle’s website promises he will put “the people over politics.” In a video on his website, he touts the value of a “good word and a handshake” and describes HD 12 as “the real America.”
McDugle’s top priorities include education, fiscal responsibility, gun rights and veterans. According to his website, he supports ensuring competitive salaries for teachers without raising taxes, auditing the government to eliminate waste and bringing new business to Oklahoma to diversify the tax base. He supported constitutional carry, allowing Oklahomans to carry a handgun without a license or permit. His website also promises he will support veterans in issues of health care, homelessness and disability. McDugle’s legislative record can be found here.
His website also describes beliefs that marriage is between a man and a woman, that the private sector is best for economic development, that students should be able to pray in school and that abortion is against God.
In 2017, McDugle co-authored and helped pass a law extending the statutes of limitations for childhood sexual assault crimes and revealed his own abuse as a teenager, perpetrated by a minister in rural Oklahoma.
In 2018, McDugle caught heat for a Facebook video he recorded from the House floor during the teacher walkout, referencing that he had already voted to raise revenue and pass a historic teacher pay raise. “It took us a year and a half to pass it. And now, they come into this House, they want to act this way,” McDugle said. “I’m not voting for another stinking measure when they are acting the way they are acting.”
In 2019, McDugle was one of two House members accused of acting inappropriately toward a former female lawmaker in 2017. The lawmaker told conservative activist Al Gerhart that McDugle showed her porn on his phone. McDugle denied the anonymous allegation, saying the attack was politically motivated by Gerhart, who had previously been convicted of blackmailing a separate legislator. (That conviction was overturned on appeal.) An internal House investigation into the 2019 allegation was unable to substantiate the claims through interviews with the accused men and witnesses.
This February, an appellate court upheld a divorce court ruling that McDugle had committed “marital waste” because he spent over $6,000 of marital funds on another woman before his wife filed for divorce. McDugle maintained he and his wife were already separated when the purchases in question were made.
McDugle is a strong supporter of President Donald Trump and officially endorsed him on Facebook. Before Trump’s rally in Tulsa, he tweeted about protests in response to the rally, suggesting some protestors were actors paid by the DNC through donations to Black Lives Matter organizations.
*Remember perception is reality!*
When you see large crowds in protest, the perception is the people are upset ——but the reality is people don’t generally behave that way unless they are paid to show up and do so.
➡️So who is behind the unrest? Follow the money⬅️. pic.twitter.com/cqzTYNDlgM
— Representative Kevin McDugle (@kmcdugle) June 17, 2020
A retired marine, McDugle is part of the first Veterans Caucus at the State Capitol. He also has published a book about his time as a Marine drill instructor.
McDugle has been endorsed by the Oklahoma School 4 Day Coalition, the NRA, the Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, the Oklahoma Public Employees Association and Oklahomans for Health and Parental Rights, according to his Facebook.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Justin Dine (R)
Town: Broken Arrow
Profession: Media, business owner
Platform: Dine’s website describes him as “a Constitutional Conservative with a Christian view of the world.”
According to his website, Dine hopes to create an economy that encourages job creation and helps businesses succeed. He believes taxes should be raised rarely, and only with a balanced budget and government audits. His website also promises he will vote to protect gun ownership and the Second Amendment.
“Justin understands how decisions made at the State Capitol can affect the average person,” his website says. “Justin is a principled man who believes in doing the right thing all the time even if it costs him.”
In an interview with the Muskogee Phoenix, Dine referenced McDugle, promising his term would be relatively calmer than his opponent’s career.
“I will not be conspiring to have opponents removed from their jobs, doing shady things with other members while out on the town, or writing the local tabloids’ headlines,” Dine said.
Dine was endorsed by the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, according to the Wagoner County GOP website. A video interview he did with Red River TV can be found here.
Links: Website | Facebook