Politics

Tom Cole wins crowded GOP primary to fight for 12th term in November

Longtime House Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., won his Tuesday night primary and is on track to clinch his 12th term in the House of Representatives this November.

Cole, who currently serves as chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, was facing a crowded GOP led by opponent Paul Bondar. Bondar is a political outsider and a businessman who has poured millions of his own dollars into the race.

The senior Republican has represented Oklahoma’s 3rd congressional district since January 2003. The district encompasses part of Oklahoma City and the city of Norman.

Cole had been expected to get at least a plurality of the vote, given his deep ties to Oklahoma GOP politics, but his reputation for working across the aisle has earned him challenges from his right flank.

Bondar has tried to style himself as a more conservative alternative to Cole, bashing the congressman for being willing to work with Democrats on issues like government funding and Ukraine aid. Cole’s campaign has in turn styled Bondar as a carpetbagger trying to buy the race. 

Cole also came into the Tuesday election armed with an endorsement from former President Trump, who won the district by double digits in 2020.

‘Tom Cole is a fantastic Representative for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District. As Chairman of the POWERFUL Appropriations Committee, Tom is fighting hard to Secure the Border, Stop Migrant Crime, Strengthen our Military/Vets, Support our Great Law Enforcement, and Protect our always-under-siege Second Amendment,’ Trump wrote on Truth Social in May. 

‘He has almost always voted with me, including on both Impeachment Hoaxes. Tom Cole has my Complete and Total Endorsement – He will not let you down!’

In addition to supporting Trump, Cole has also been a staunch ally of House GOP leadership. He previously served as head of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), House Republicans’ campaign arm, and before taking the Appropriations Committee gavel he served as the top Republican on the House Rules Committee.

Other Republican hopefuls who ran to unseat Cole on Tuesday night are Nick Hankins, Rick Harris and Andrew Hayes.

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