Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Cole wins Republican primary for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R) won the Republican primary election for Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District on June 18, 2024. Cole received 64.6% of the vote. Paul Bondar (R) finished in second place with 25.8%. Nick Hankins (R), Rick Harris (R), and Andrew Hayes (R) also ran in the primary. Cole and Bondar led in campaign finance and media attention.

According to Aidan Quigley of Roll Call, “Not long after rising to one of the most influential positions in Washington, House Appropriations Chairman Tom Cole, R-Okla., is facing a surprisingly lively primary against a deep-pocketed challenger. Paul Bondar, a businessman largely self-financing his campaign, is portraying himself as the true conservative and the real ‘Trump Republican’ in the race, despite former President Donald Trump’s endorsement of Cole.”

As of June 10, 2024, Cole raised $1.9 million in campaign finance, and Bondar raised $5.2 million.

Cole criticized Bondar for running in the district while maintaining residence in Texas. Cole said, “I think it’s unusual for somebody to come into a district and run when they’ve never voted in that state before. They don’t know the district.” While Bondar confirmed that he owned property in and most recently voted in Texas, he criticized Cole and media outlets, claiming they paid too much attention to his Texas residency.

Cole was elected to represent Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District in Congress in 2002. Cole served as Oklahoma Secretary of State and was a member of the Oklahoma Senate. Cole’s professional experience included working as a history and politics professor, owning a political research firm, and working for former Gov. Frank Keating (R) as a chief legislative strategist and liaison to the state’s federal delegation.

Cole’s campaign website said that to ensure economic growth, “it takes smaller, less intrusive government, cutting burdensome red tape, lowering taxes and stopping out-of-control spending and that’s what Tom is fighting for everyday in Washington.” Cole also said he would support measures that reduce the national debt, limit immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, increase the quality of life for veterans, support gun ownership, and oppose federal funding for abortion. Former Pres. Donald Trump (R) endorsed Cole.

Bondar’s professional experience included owning an insurance company and working as an assistant city manager in Marquette, Michigan.

Bondar said, “I am committed to working tirelessly to lower federal spending, curb inflation, and ensure a brighter, more prosperous future for all Americans. Together, we can restore fiscal sanity to Washington and secure a strong economic foundation for generations to come.” Bondar also said he supported limiting illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border, reducing federal aid for Ukraine, and preventing the government from using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to gain data on citizens.

The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the district as a safe or solid Republican district.