The election will replace term-limited Republican Sen. Jim Reynolds, who was elected as treasurer in Cleveland County last November.
The district covers part of eastern Oklahoma County and goes into northern Cleveland County, encompassing parts of Oklahoma City, Del City, all of Valley Brook and part of Moore.
However, Senate District 43 is facing redistricting this year and will move south in November to include all of McClain County, most of Stephens County and parts of Grady and Garvin counties, putting both candidates’ current residences outside its boundaries.
The Republican candidate in the race, Greg Childers, 41, of Del City, defeated fellow Republican Theresa Nelson in the August primary election. The Democratic candidate, Kenneth Meador, 30, of Moore, was unchallenged after a primary challenger dropped out before the election.
For both candidates, it is their first time to run for office.
Childers is married with three children and formerly worked at Norman’s postal training center for 20 years. He taught classes at the University of Oklahoma for the past eight years.
The self-described “conservative Republican” said he chose to run for state Senate because he is disturbed by the way the country is going and hopes to make a difference.
“I look at the state of things today and I look at our children today and they do not have the same opportunities we had, and that scares me to death,” Childers said. “I want these kids to have the same opportunities that we had as far as their education, the ability for jobs, those kinds of things.
Childers said he does not have a specific piece of legislation he would like to introduce if elected, but would focus on senior citizen issues and job creation.
He said the best thing to come out of the Legislature in the last session was the body’s commitment to job creation.
I really don’t have anything I specifically want to throw out there in a newspaper.
As far as the worst thing to come out of the Legislature in the previous session, Childers would not say.
“I really don’t have anything I specifically want to throw out there in a newspaper,” he said.
Meador is married with one child, and from 2002 to 2009 served as an combat medic in the U.S. Army, overseeing a clinic in Fort Sill and an emergency room in Iraq during his three tours of the country. He is currently pursuing a political science degree from Oklahoma City Community College.
Meador said he wants to run for District 43 to continue his service to the public.
“Public service is very important to me,” he said. “I learned what it was like to serve and represent my country as a soldier in the U.S. Army. When the Senate seat came open, I saw it as an opportunity to serve the great people of this Senate district.”
Meador said, if elected, he would look at introducing legislation that would incentivize businesses to hire Oklahomans.
“Tax cuts and tax breaks are a great thing, but we need to make sure they’re going to companies that are hiring Oklahomans,” Meador said. “Incentivize Oklahomans helping Oklahomans.”
Meador said the current Legislature has shown that it is business-friendly, but tempered those remarks with its need to focus on education.
“I think we do a good job of being a very business-friendly state, but we do fall short in one thing in one area that we could make ourselves more business- friendly, and that is public education,” he said. “When you look at research and polling that’s done, we always top the list in business friendliness and we’re always at the bottom of the list in terms of public education. People aren’t going to bring their companies here if we don’t have a good, strong public education system. We’ve got a lot of work to do in that area.”
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
According to the most recent campaign filings with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, Childers leads Meador in fundraising.
As of July 31, the Meador campaign had raised $7,170 and spent $4,805. However, additional contributions show he also raised $5,450 after that.
Most of Meador’s donors were individuals, with Oklahoma City attorney Robert Lemon giving the most ($3,500), Tulsa oil producer George Krumme donating $2,000, and Oklahoma City resident Babu Peringol giving $1,000. Meador had one $500 donation from a political action committee called Transform OK, which also has donated to candidates such as Brittany Novotny, Dana Orwig and Amy Corley.
As of Aug. 1, Childers had raised $10,250 and had spent $4,608. After that, records show he raised an additional $14,250, plus a $1,000 loan he made to his campaign. Major individual contributors to Childers’ campaign were Susan Rogers of Oklahoma City ($4,000) and Charles Wilson of Norman ($2,000).
Childers also had several political action committees donate to his campaign, such as Oklahoma Beverage Industry PAC ($1,000); Greater OKC Chamber PAC ($1,000); Chesapeake Oklahoma PAC ($1,000); Oklahoma Public Employees Association PAC ($2,500); OKC Retired Firefighters PAC ($2,500); and VIP PAC ($1,500).
VIP PAC is a committee established by Assistant Senate Floor Leader Clark Jolley, according to Internet domain name registration records. The PAC’s donors include The Chickasaw Nation, several political consultants and lobbyists. The PAC donated only to Republican freshmen in the Senate elected in 2010, such as Kim David of Wagoner, Frank Simpson of Carter County and Eddie Fields of Wynona.