Primary election to decide GOP nomination for Corporation Commission


Oklahoma’s primary election day on Tuesday pits three men in the race for the Republican nomination for Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The winner of the only statewide race in the Tuesday election will compete against a lone Democrat and a Libertarian in the general election because they face no primary competition. However, a runoff in the GOP nomination is a possibility. If none of the three receives 50% plus one vote, an Aug. 27 runoff between the top two candidates will be necessary.

The three hoping to claim the GOP nomination are Brian Bingman, Justin Hornback and Russell Ray.

Bingman who is the former secretary of state who resigned from the position last fall to announce his candidacy. He also ran in 2018 in a challenge to Bob Anthony, the Corporation Commissioner who is term limited and must leave office after being a state regulator for 36 years since being first elected in 1988.

Bingman, 70, served one term in the state House of Representatives before being elected to the state Senate where he eventuallly became President Pro tempore of the Senate. He also received the endorsement of Gov. Kevin Stitt the same day that he announced his candidacy. Former Gov. Frank Keating, according to campaign records, was also a supporter and contributor.

As reported this week by OK Energy Today, Bingman’s campaign contributions totaled nearly $399,000 (he spent nearly $388,000) and nearly $43,000 came from executives and a PAC at Oklahoma Gas and Electric. Sixteen executives including Company president Sean Trauschke supported Bingman.


Justin Hornback, age 40, the former pipeline welder and pipeline inspector-turned union representative raised more than $26,000 in campaign funding as of early June. He spent $9,567 on his campaign.

Hornback made it clear from the start of his campaign that he would not accept contributions nor endorsements from political action committees . He said it was part of his pledge to the importance of transparency and open and honest communications with the public.

In announcing his candidacy in May, Hornback called himself a “seasoned energy industry veteran” who spent 20 years “immersed in the complexities and challenges of the energy sector.” He said at the time of his announcement that his experience as an energy worker set him apart from his opponents.

It is the second election campaign for Hornback, an organizer with Local Union 798 in Tulsa. He ran unsuccessfully two years ago for the Corporation Commission seat vacated by Dana Murphy and eventually won by former state senator Kim David.

The third candidate for the GOP nomination is longtime energy journalist Russell Ray, 55, who attempted to set himself apart from Corporation Commissioners Todd Hiett and Kim David who face no election this year.

Ray told OK Energy Today in an April interview he believed in more openness on the commission, more accountability of utilities, more protection for ratepayers and no more career politicians on the commission. Hiett and David are both former legislative leaders.

“There are some pretty scary issues surrounding the Corporation Commission that I think should be pretty disturbing to all Oklahomans,” said Ray.

“Quite frankly I think the credibility of the commission is at stake and I think adding another member of the political establishment to the commission will make things only worse.”

He went on to warn voters that the Corporation Commission, with Hiett and David and the possibility of Bingman too, “an extension of legislative leadership—something every Oklahoman should be concerned about.”

“I think if you are a career politician who has worked for years for the energy industry, I think you’re obligated to favor the business over the consumers on every single vote.”

Ray’s first attempt at politics stumbled out of the starting gate when days within declaring his candidacy, he suffered a heart attack. His fund-raising, according to reports on file with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, hardly registered a bounce. He started his campaign with $2,702.50 in contributions but no other reports have been filed.

If a runoff is not necessary, the winner will go into the Nov. 5 general election against Democrat Harold Spradling, 89 and Libertarian Chad Williams 43.

Spradling ran two years ago but as a Republican.

Williams was chairman of the Libertarian Party of Oklahoma and sat on the Choctaw City Council.