An advocacy group for the wind industry reported spending $178,693 in support of state legislative candidates.
Most of the 15 candidates are on primary election ballots Tuesday.
American Wind Action (AWA) spent the money June 14 on radio and digital ads independent of the candidates’ efforts, its expense report shows.
The majority of the money went to help state representatives and senators who have been supportive of the wind industry. The rest went to help candidates running for open seats.
It spent $30,035, for instance, on ads in support of Rep. Harold Wright, R-Weatherford, according to its report to the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.
Wright debated in April against ending a wind industry tax incentive. “Going back on our word will have a negative impact on future economic development and growth,” he said.
The proposal to end the incentive passed the House but failed in the Senate.
Getting the most support – $38,037 – was Chuck Hall, a Republican state Senate candidate from Perry.
“I have not been outspoken on wind-related issues, although I certainly agree their industry is a critical part of our economy here in District 20,” he told The Oklahoman on Sunday.
“As I drive from one end of the district to the other, I can clearly see sizable investment in all kinds of commodities such as crops, livestock, oil and gas exploration/production, and wind energy,” he said. “All of these industries contribute significantly to our local economy and have a positive impact on our cities, counties and schools.”
American Wind Action was formed in 2016 in Washington, D.C. It has been active in Oklahoma politics before, most recently in support of a legislator from the Panhandle.
It spent $$40,000 on independent radio and digital ads in December in support of Casey Murdock, who at the time was a state representative running for the District 27 Senate seat that became open because of a sex scandal.
Murdock won the Senate seat in a special general election in February.
In a mission statement, AWA it said it engages in electoral activity “in multiple states where wind energy is important.” It also is spending heavily this month on a congressional race in Colorado, records show.
In Oklahoma, its independent expenditures June 14 were in support of 11 state representatives, one senator and three other legislative candidates.
Rep. John Pfeiffer, $28,228
House candidate Brad Raven, $19,424
Rep. Harold Wright, $30,035
Rep. Karen Gaddis, $2,418
Rep. Greg Babinec, $2,558
Rep. Rhonda Baker, $2,567
Rep. Carol Bush, $3,023
Rep. Chad Caldwell, $2,271
Rep. Tommy Hardin, $2,106
Senate candidate John Michael Montgomery, $2,611
Rep. Scooter Park, $1,985
Rep. Steven Vaughan, $2,371
Sen. Kim David, $4,620
Rep. Scott Fetgatter, $36,439
Senate candidate Chuck Hall, $38,037
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