The race for Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District promises to be a mad dash, with a grand total of 16 candidates throwing their hats in the ring before the filing deadline at 5 p.m. Friday.
The CD 2 seat is being vacated by U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, who has set his sights on the U.S. Senate, and it’s the only one of the state’s five congressional districts that won’t have an incumbent in the race.
CD 2 is also notable because it covers much of eastern Oklahoma and, consequently, many of the areas that have been affirmed as Indian Country reservations by McGirt v. Oklahoma and subsequent court decisions.
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who is also up for reelection this year, has been pushing to limit the ramifications of the SCOTUS decision — many of which, such as various tax and jurisdiction questions, are still up in the legal air — or to have the decision repealed entirely.
The future of state-tribal relations promises to feature heavily in the CD 2 race, where candidates include state legislators, the controversial head of the Oklahoma GOP, officials from tribal nations, members of law enforcement, several tribal citizens, political newcomers and a former professional boxer.
Though this year’s other congressional races might not promise quite as much drama as CD 2, the incumbents have all drawn multiple challengers. And with filing fees for congressional races at $1,000 a pop, this election season might be maddening, but it has at the very least been lucrative one for the state.
The following overview of Oklahoma’s 2022 candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives was gathered from publicly available information. Candidates are presented in alphabetical order.
U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, 60, Tulsa, Republican (incumbent) — Hern is running for his third term in CD 1. An aerospace engineer by training, Hern owns 24 McDonald’s franchises and has worked in various capacities in the McDonald’s system. First elected in 2018, Hern did not hold political office before representing CD 1 in Congress.
Adam Martin, 26, Tulsa, Democrat — Martin, an OSU graduate with a degree in history, is running for office for the first time. He is originally from Wagoner and has expressed aspirations to study law.
Evelyn L. Rogers, 69, Tulsa, independent — Rogers is a librarian at Tulsa Community College and has been active in the Republican Party. She has run for the Oklahoma Legislature, the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate multiple times in the past but has never held office.
Naomi Andrews, 39, Tulsa, Democrat — Andrews is the only Democrat in the race. She is the CD1 vice-chairwoman for the state Democratic Party. She has spent her career in communications and currently works as the director of marketing and development for the Kingsley-Kleimann Group and executive director for the Center for Plain Language.
Guy Barker, 32, Monkey Island, Republican — Barker is the secretary-treasurer of the Quapaw Nation, whose reservation was affirmed by the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals in 2021. He is a petroleum engineer by training and a graduate of Oklahoma City University School of Law. In a recent conversation with Reese Gorman, of The Frontier, Barker emphasized his support of tribal sovereignty, describing CD 2 as essentially “15 different sovereign nations.”
John Bennett, 47, Vian, Republican — Bennett is the current chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. A Marine Corps veteran, he represented HD 2 in the Oklahoma Legislature from 2011-2019. He is perhaps best known for statements he has made about Muslims being terrorists and calling Islam “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out.” In a highly unusual move for a state party official, he has publicly supported U.S. Sen. James Lankford’s challenger, Jackson Lahmeyer, citing Lankford’s vote to certify the 2020 presidential election results.
Josh Brecheen, 42, Coalgate, Republican — Brecheen represented SD 6 in the Oklahoma Senate from 2010 to 2018. He previously worked for former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, owned a quarter-horse breeding operation and ran a motivational-speaking company.
David Derby, 45, Owasso, Republican — Derby represented HD 74 in the Oklahoma House from 2006-2016. He is a pharmacist but started his career working as a forensic chemist, including for the Tulsa Police Department.
Rep. Avery Frix, 28, Muskogee, Republican — The youngest candidate in the race, Frix has represented HD 13 in the Oklahoma House since 2016. He works for Frix Construction, a business started by his great-grandfather. He is a citizen of the Choctaw Nation.
Pamela Gordon, 62, McAlester, Republican — Gordon is the former director of McAlester Defense Support Services and has worked as a school supervisor and crime scene investigator, according to her campaign website.
Rhonda Hopkins, 46, Rose, Republican — Not much background information is available online about Hopkins. She previously ran for CD 2 in 2020, receiving approximately 7 percent in the Republican primary. She also ran for the Oklahoma House in 2016 and 2018.
Clint Johnson, 49, Tahlequah, Republican — Johnson (not to be confused with the U.S. Attorney who shares his name) is a Marine Corps veteran who has worked as a Cherokee County Sheriff’s deputy. In previous elections, he has run unsuccessfully for Cherokee County Sheriff.
Wes Nofire, 35, Park Hill, Republican — Nofire is a member of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council. He has historically butted heads with Cherokee Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. over issues such as executive spending power and negotiations with the state in the wake of McGirt. Nofire is a former professional boxer who competed under the name The Cherokee Warrior.
Sen. Marty Quinn, 62, Claremore, Republican — Quinn has held SD 2 in the State Senate since 2014, and before that served four years in the House. He has spent his professional career in the insurance industry. A significant share of Republican voters in CD2 live in Quinn’s current district.
Rep. Dustin Roberts, 38, Durant, Republican — Roberts is finishing out his final term representing HD 21 the Oklahoma Legislature and is currently the deputy floor leader for the House. He is a Navy veteran and a citizen of the Choctaw Nation.
“Bulldog” Ben Robinson, 88, Muskogee, independent — Robinson is a former legislator who served in the Oklahoma Senate from 1989-2004, before being forced to retire by new term-limit restrictions. On the occasion of his departure, the Senate passed a resolution noting, “There will never be another ‘Bulldog,’ ever the thespian, with his unique combination of quixotic legislation, his ready quips and his Technicolor wardrobe.” He was a Democrat during his time in the Legislature.
Chris Schiller, 45, Muskogee, Republican — Schiller is a pharmacist and the owner of Economy Pharmacy. He is a former president of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association.
Johnny Teehee, 57, Vian, Republican — Teehee is the current chief of police in Muskogee and has worked in law enforcement for 35 years. He is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.
Erick P. Wyatt, 43, Kingston, Republican — Wyatt is a military veteran who served in the U.S. Coast Guard and the Army. Wyatt originally planned to run for the Oklahoma House in HD 21, but he shifted to a congressional campaign after Mullin announced he would not be running for reelection.
Wade Burleson, 60, Enid, Republican — Burleson is a Baptist minister and was the lead pastor of Emmanuel Enid for 30 years before retiring in February. He advocated against a mask ordinance in Enid in 2020 and called for the recall of a city commissioner who supported the ordinance.
Stephen Butler, 59, Yukon, Republican — Butler does not appear to have biographical information available online.
U.S. Rep. Frank D. Lucas, 62, Cheyenne, Republican (incumbent) — Lucas has represented CD 3 since 1994. Before entering Congress, he served five years in the Oklahoma House. He comes from a farming family, has a cattle ranch and is an influential member on the House Committee on Agriculture.
Jeremiah A. Ross, 38, Bristow, Democrat — Ross previously ran for Oklahoma House District 29 but lost in the Democratic primary.
Frank W. Blacke, 45, Oklahoma City, Republican — Blacke does not appear to have biographical information available online.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, 72, Moore, Republican (incumbent) — Cole has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002. Before his tenure in Congress, he was the state chairman of the Oklahoma GOP, a member of the Oklahoma State Senate and Oklahoma’s Secretary of State. He is a founding partner of CHS & Associates, a political consulting firm. He is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.
James Taylor, 63, Oklahoma City, Republican — Taylor was a teacher in Oklahoma City Public Schools before being fired along with five other district employees for refusing to comply with the district’s mask mandate. He is the senior pastor of Christ’s Church, in Norman. He ran for CD 4 in 2016, 2018 and 2020 but lost to Cole in the primary each time.
Mary Brannon, 70, Washington, Democrat — Brannon is a former school counselor and teacher. She has challenged Cole for CD 4 several times before, most recently in 2020, when received 28.8 percent of the vote.
Subrina Banks, 44, Edmond, Republican — Banks is a real estate agent in Edmond. She hosts a YouTube show called Me, Myself and Liberty.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice, 48, Edmond, Republican (incumbent) — Bice is running for her second term in Congress. She served in the Oklahoma Senate for six years before winning her seat in Congress in 2020. Before that, she worked in her family’s technology business and ran a marketing company.
David K. Frosch, 36, Oklahoma City, Independent — Frosch does not appear to have much information available online beyond a Twitter account.
Joshua Harris-Till, 32, Oklahoma City, Democrat — Joshua Harris-Till has spent his career in Democratic politics, working first for U.S. Rep. Dan Boren. He is a former president of the Young Democrats of America. Harris-Till ran unsuccessfully for Congress in CD 2 in 2014 and 2016. A cousin of the slain Emmett Till, he was elected president of the Young Democrats of America in 2019.
(Correction: This article was updated at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, to reference Dustin Roberts being in his final legislative term.)