Candidates Dustin Rowe (left), Dakota Wood, Markwayne Mullin, Dwayne Thompson, George Faught and Wayne Pettigrew take part in the 2nd Congressional District Republican debate at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee on Tuesday evening. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
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OKMULGEE - The six Republican candidates in the 2nd Congressional District got together Tuesday night for one last time before the June 26 primary.
Speaking to about 75 people, they answered questions for more than an hour in a crowded room at the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.
The six have met throughout the width and breadth of the sprawling district during the past several months, each trying to persuade the relatively few people eligible to vote in the Republican primary - registration is still overwhelmingly Democratic or independent - that he's the best man for the job.
The six more or less agree on the big issues: President Obama is bad; low taxes and less government are the solution to just about everything.
They differed Tuesday on only a few matters: term limits, which as one pointed out are not likely to ever be taken seriously in Congress anyway; and earmarks, on which the candidates fell into two camps - those who find earmarks inherently evil and those who think they're better than the alternative.
Still, the six have managed to differentiate themselves.
Dustin Rowe is the former mayor of Tishomingo who presents himself as the candidate who best understands small-town Oklahoma.
Dakota Wood is the retired Marine who talks a lot about the big picture and considering each issue in context.
Markwayne Mullin is the business owner who is raging against regulation.
Dwayne Thompson is the thunderous preacher who says good government comes down to moral courage.
George Faught is the state representative from Muskogee whose selling points include the proven ability to get elected in a heavily Democratic district.
Wayne Pettigrew is the ex-legislator who says his experience in the business and financial world make him uniquely qualified to address the nation's problems.
Interestingly enough, while all of them talked about saving America from calamity in Washington, none said much about the 2nd District itself, except to agree that it is very conservative.
Mullin, a Broken Arrow plumbing company owner who farms and ranches around Westville, spoke briefly about the people of the district. Pettigrew chastised the incumbent, Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., who is retiring, for helping the town of Roland get federal money for three police cars.
A runoff, if needed, is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Randy Krehbiel 918-581-8365
Original Print Headline: 2nd District GOP candidates agree
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