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Tom Cole Claims Victory in Crowded OK GOP Primary in Hopes of Securing 12th Term

 June 19, 2024

Longtime House Representative Tom Cole (R-OK) emerged victorious in a heavily contested GOP primary on Tuesday night.

Cole is now on track to secure his 12th term in the House of Representatives this November after defeating several opponents, including political newcomer Paul Bondar, as Fox News reports.

Currently serving as the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Cole faced a primary field led by businessman and political outsider Paul Bondar, who invested millions of his own money into the race, positioned himself as a more conservative alternative.

Victory Signals Stronghold in Oklahoma Politics

Having represented Oklahoma's 3rd Congressional District since January 2003, Cole was anticipated to receive at least a plurality of the vote, thanks to his deep-rooted connections within the Oklahoma GOP.

The district at issue, which includes parts of Oklahoma City and the city of Norman, has been a stronghold for Cole over the past two decades. His reputation for bipartisanship, however, has attracted significant challenges from more conservative elements within the party.

Bondar criticized Cole for collaborating with Democrats on key issues such as government funding and Ukraine aid. In contrast, Cole's campaign countered by portraying Bondar as a carpetbagger attempting to buy the race.

Trump's Endorsement Plays Role

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Cole, a factor that may have significantly influenced the voting in this predominantly conservative district. Trump had previously expressed his support on Truth Social in May.

“Tom Cole is a fantastic Representative for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District," Trump stated. "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 continued, “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!”

Cole’s Extensive Political Career

In addition to his current chairmanship, Cole has held significant positions within the House GOP leadership. He formerly served as the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee and was the top Republican on the House Rules Committee.

Throughout his tenure, Cole has demonstrated a consistent alignment with House GOP priorities. His steadfast loyalty has earned him a reputation as a stalwart ally of the party's leadership.

Additionally, his extensive political career includes a history of working on bipartisan initiatives, an attribute that has both bolstered and complicated his standing within the party.

Other Candidates Fail to Unseat Cole

Apart from Bondar, other Republican hopefuls, including Nick Hankins, Rick Harris, and Andrew Hayes, also sought to challenge Cole's incumbency but were unsuccessful. Despite their efforts, Cole’s experience and endorsements likely played a pivotal role in securing his victory.

Cole’s campaign emphasized his long-standing dedication to his constituents and his record of delivering results in Congress. His strategic focus on key issues such as border security, military support, and the Second Amendment resonated with many voters. With his victory in the primary, Cole is now poised to continue his legislative efforts in the House of Representatives if he succeeds in the general election this November.

Looking Ahead to November

As Cole prepares for his 12th term in office, his campaign will likely continue to highlight his achievements and leadership roles. Given Trump's significant influence in the district, the former president's endorsement could remain a crucial factor in the general election.

Paul Bondar’s campaign, despite his financial investment and positioning as a staunch conservative, was unable to overcome Cole’s widespread support and established political presence. The primary results suggest that voters favored Cole’s experience and established track record over Bondar’s new and aggressive platform.

Cole’s Path Forward

Looking forward, Cole will need to navigate the complexities of a changing political landscape while maintaining his bipartisan approach to governance. His ability to balance party loyalty with bipartisan collaboration may continue to attract both support and criticism from different factions within the GOP.

In summary, Tom Cole’s victory in the crowded GOP primary sets the stage for his potential 12th term in the House of Representatives, reflecting his enduring influence and the support he commands within Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District.

This primary win positions Cole strongly for the upcoming general election in November, where his extensive experience and high-profile endorsements will be pivotal elements of his campaign strategy. Overall, the primary results underscore Cole’s significant standing within the Oklahoma GOP and the broader political arena, as he continues his long-term service in Congress.

Tom Cole’s primary triumph, supported by key endorsements and a robust track record, highlights his resilience and consistent appeal among voters in his district. As he advances toward the general election, his focus will remain on addressing critical issues and maintaining his role as a dedicated representative of Oklahoma’s 3rd Congressional District.