2004 United States Senate election in Oklahoma

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Tom Coburn official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
BradCarson OfficialPortrait.jpg
No image.svg
Nominee Tom Coburn Brad Carson Sheila Bilyeu
Party Republican Democratic Independent
Popular vote 763,433 596,750 86,663
Percentage 52.8% 41.2% 6.0%

2004 United States Senate election in Oklahoma results map by county.svg
County results
Coburn:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%
Carson:      40–50%      50–60%

U.S. senator before election

Don Nickles
Republican

Elected U.S. Senator

Tom Coburn
Republican

The 2004 United States Senate election in Oklahoma took place on November 2, 2004. The election was concurrent with elections to the United States House of Representatives and the presidential election. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Don Nickles decided to retire instead of seeking a fifth term. Republican nominee Tom Coburn won the open seat.

Democratic primary

Candidates

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size[1]
Margin
of error
Brad
Carson
Carroll
Fisher
Jim
Rogers
Monte
Johnson
W. B. G.
Woodson
Undecided/
Other
SurveyUSA June 25–27, 2004 563 (LV) ± 4.2% 61% 15% 6% 4% 1% 13%
Wilson Research Strategies May 20–21, 2004 300 (RV) ± 5.7% 45% 7% 3% 45%

Results

Democratic primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Brad Carson 280,026 79.37%
Democratic Carroll Fisher 28,385 8.05%
Democratic Jim Rogers 20,179 5.72%
Democratic Monte E. Johnson 17,274 4.90%
Democratic W. B. G. Woodson 6,932 1.96%
Total votes 352,796 100.00%

Republican primary

Candidates

Campaign

Humphreys, the former Mayor of Oklahoma City, ran for the United States Senate with institutional conservative support, namely from Senators Don Nickles and Jim Inhofe, as well as former Congressman J. C. Watts. However, Coburn received support from the Club for Growth and conservative activists within Oklahoma. Humphreys noted, "[Coburn is] kind of a cult hero in the conservative portion of our party, not just in Oklahoma. You can't get right of the guy."[3] Much of Coburn's celebrity within the Republican Party came from his tenure in Congress, where he battled House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who he argued was moving the party to the center of the political spectrum due to their excessive federal spending.[4] Coburn's maverick nature culminated itself in 2000 when he backed conservative activist Alan Keyes for President rather than George W. Bush or John McCain.

Ultimately, Coburn triumphed over Humphreys, Anthony, and Hunt in the primary, winning every county in Oklahoma except for tiny Harmon County.

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size[1]
Margin
of error
Tom
Coburn
Kirk
Humphreys
Bob
Anthony
Jay Richard
Hunt
Linda
Murphy
Undecided/
Other
SurveyUSA July 23–25, 2004 517 (LV) ± 4.4% 54% 25% 13% 8%
SurveyUSA July 16–18, 2004 436 (LV) ± 4.8% 46% 32% 12% 10%
Club for Growth (R) July 11–12, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 51% 22% 8% 19%
Consumer Logic July 8–12, 2004 291 (RV) ± 5.9% 37% 34% 7% 1% 21%
SurveyUSA June 25–27, 2004 408 (LV) ± 5% 38% 34% 16% 12%
CMA Strategies (R) June 6–8, 2004 400 (LV) ± 5% 34% 36% 10% 20%
Wilson Research Strategies May 20–21, 2004 300 (RV) ± 5.7% 21% 21% 11% 5% 42%
Consumer Logic Mar 26–Apr 5, 2004 ± 5.9% 34% 22% 12% 32%

Results

Republican primary results[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Coburn 145,974 61.23%
Republican Kirk Humphreys 59,877 25.12%
Republican Bob Anthony 29,596 12.41%
Republican Jay Richard Hunt 2,944 1.23%
Total votes 238,391 100.00%

General election

Candidates

Campaign

Carson and Coburn engaged each other head-on in one of the year's most brutal Senate contests. Coburn and the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked Carson for being too liberal for Oklahoma and for being a vote in lockstep with John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy. To drive the point home, one television advertisement aired by the Coburn campaign accused Carson of being "dangerously liberal" and not supporting the War on Terrorism.[6] Coburn was aided in this effort by the fact that the Kerry campaign did not contest the state of Oklahoma and that incumbent President George W. Bush was expected to win Oklahoma comfortably. This was compounded by the fact that Vice-President Dick Cheney campaigned for Coburn and appeared in several television advertisements for him.[7] Carson countered by emphasizing his Stilwell roots[8] and his moderation, specifically, bringing attention to the fact that he fought for greater governmental oversight of nursing home care for the elderly.[9] Carson responded to the attacks against him by countering that his opponent had committed Medicaid fraud years prior, in an event that reportedly left a woman sterilized without her consent.[10] Ultimately, however, Carson was not able to overcome Oklahoma's conservative nature and Senator Kerry's abysmal performance in Oklahoma, and he was defeated by Coburn by 11.5%. As of 2022, the result remains the closest the Democrats have come to winning a Senate election in Oklahoma since David Boren won a landslide reelection victory in 1990.

Predictions

Source Ranking As of
Sabato's Crystal Ball[11] Lean R November 1, 2004

Polling

Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size[1]
Margin
of error
Tom
Coburn (R)
Brad
Carson (D)
Sheila
Bilyeu (I)
Undecided/
Other
SurveyUSA October 28–30, 2004 656 (LV) ± 3.9% 47% 39% 8% 6%
Sooner Poll October 27–28, 2004 498 (LV) ± 4.4% 44.4% 35.1% 4.2% 16.3%
Wilson Research Strategies October 22–24, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.5% 41% 38% 6% 15%
Sooner Poll October 20–21, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 38.0% 36.8% 5.8% 19.4%
Rasmussen Reports October 20, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.5% 48% 43% 9%
SurveyUSA October 18–20, 2004 625 (LV) ± 4% 47% 41% 8% 4%
Global Strategy Group (D) August 18–20, 2004 600 (LV) ± 4% 44% 45% 11%
Consumer Logic October 14–19, 2004 750 (RV) ± 3.6% 40% 47% 13%
Wilson Research Strategies October 15–17, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 42.2% 39.0% 3.6% 14.4%
Sooner Poll October 14, 2004 300 (LV) ± 5.7% 40.6% 43.3% 2.0% 14.1%
Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass & Associates (R) October 10–11, 2004 500 (RV) ± 4.3% 46% 41% 3% 10%
Wilson Research Strategies (p. 2) October 8–10, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.5% 37.8% 40.0% 7.2% 15.0%
Sooner Poll October 7, 2004 330 (LV) ± 5.4% 39.2% 39.8% 21.0%
SurveyUSA October 4–6, 2004 609 (LV) ± 4.1% 46% 44% 5% 5%
Wilson Research Strategies (p. 2) October 1–3, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.5% 41.2% 42.6% 2.4% 13.8%
Sooner Poll September 28–29, 2004 553 (LV) ± 4.1% 37.2% 44.1% 18.7%
Basswood Research (R) September 27, 2004 ± 4.4% 41.0% 39.6% 2.4% 17.0%
Wilson Research Strategies (p. 2) September 24–26, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.5% 39.2% 44.2% 3.2% 13.4%
Global Strategy Group (D) September 24, 2004 600 (LV) ± 4% 40% 44% 16%
Sooner Poll September 22, 2004 394 (LV) ± 4.9% 37.0% 39.8% 23.2%
SurveyUSA September 20–22, 2004 610 (LV) ± 4% 45% 45% 6% 4%
Wilson Research Strategies September 17–19, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 40% 41% 2% 17%
Sooner Poll September 15, 2004 412 (LV) ± 4.8% 35% 42% 23%
Wilson Research Strategies September 10–12, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 37% 39% 6% 18%
Wilson Research Strategies September 3–5, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 42% 36% 5% 17%
Westhill Partners September 1–2, 2004 400 (LV) ± 5% 42% 44% 1% 13%
SurveyUSA August 16–18, 2004 586 (LV) ± 4.1% 47% 43% 10%
Wilson Research Strategies August 15–18, 2004 300 (LV) ± 5.6% 46% 37% 2% 15%
Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass & Associates (R) August 10–12, 2004 500 (RV) ± 4.3% 47% 39% 14%
Global Strategy Group (D) August 8–11, 2004 600 (LV) ± 4% 45% 43% 12%
Basswood Research (R) July 29, 2004 600 (LV) ± 4% 43.5% 31.8% 24.7%
Consumer Logic July 8–12, 2004 825 (RV) ± 3.4% 39% 42% 21%
Wilson Research Strategies June 28–29, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 37% 35% 1% 27%
Wilson Research Strategies May 20–21, 2004 500 (RV) ± 4.4% 41% 39% 20%
Consumer Logic Mar 26–Apr 5, 2004 825 (RV) ± 3.4% 35% 37% 28%
Hypothetical polling
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size[1]
Margin
of error
Kirk
Humphreys (R)
Brad
Carson (D)
Sheila
Bilyeu (I)
Undecided/
Other
Consumer Logic July 8–12, 2004 825 (RV) ± 3.4% 38% 47% 15%
Wilson Research Strategies June 28–29, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 34% 41% 2% 23%
Poll source Date(s)
administered
Sample
size[1]
Margin
of error
Bob
Anthony (R)
Brad
Carson (D)
Sheila
Bilyeu (I)
Undecided/
Other
Wilson Research Strategies June 28–29, 2004 500 (LV) ± 4.4% 34% 39% 2% 25%

Results

2004 United States Senate election in Oklahoma[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Tom Coburn 763,433 52.77% −13.62%
Democratic Brad Carson 596,750 41.24% +9.97%
Independent Sheila Bilyeu 86,663 5.99%
Majority 166,683 11.52% −23.58%
Turnout 1,446,846
Republican hold Swing

See also

Notes

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Key:
    A – all adults
    RV – registered voters
    LV – likely voters
    V – unclear
  2. ^ a b "Oklahoma State Election Board - Primary Election 2004". Archived from the original on 2010-08-30. Retrieved 2012-12-27.
  3. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (19 September 2004). "A Senate Race in Oklahoma Lifts the Right". The New York Times.
  4. ^ "Tom Coburn–The real maverick in the Senate | Political Realities". Archived from the original on 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  5. ^ Krehbiel, Randy "Former Oklahoma City TV journalist Abby Broyles files to take on Sen. Jim Inhofe" Tulsa World Apr. 9, 2020 Accessed Oct. 11, 2021.
  6. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Tom Coburn 2004 U.S. Senate "Dangerously Liberal"". YouTube.
  7. ^ http://www3.nationaljournal.com/members/adspotlight/2004/10/1007oksen1.htm[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Brad Carson U.S. Senate 2004 "Stilwell"". YouTube.
  9. ^ "Carson's First Stand Should Feds Examine Nursing Homes? | News OK". newsok.com. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  10. ^ "Okla. Senate Candidate Is Accused of Fraud (washingtonpost.com)". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "The Final Predictions". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  12. ^ http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/electionInfo/2004election.pdf[bare URL PDF]