Six Republicans want a chance to be the party's nominee for Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District. The seat is being vacated by Congressman James Lankford who is running for the U.S. Senate. Fox 25 sat down with all six candidates as they head into the June primary.
The order of the candidate profile stories was randomly selected.
"I decided rather than staying out there and complaining about the problems that I would come back here and try to do something about it," Harvey Sparks told Fox 25.
If you follow politics at all in Oklahoma, you're probably wondering 'Who is Harvey Sparks?' Sparks has never run for public office and but his entire background is in service. First in the ministry and then he moved to Washington D.C. to work for Congressman Jim Bridenstine. Sparks believes the biggest issue facing Congress is the fiscal situation. He believes it will take tough choices and possibly unpopular votes to fix the nation's finances.
"I will not vote for any continuing resolution, any budget any debt limit increase that does not include a plan to get us back to balance"
Sparks says if he is elected and you don't like him as a congressman you will definitely get the chance for a change soon. He has promised to serve only three terms and then step down to let someone else take over. "There are a lot of great people in Oklahoma," Sparks said, "Nobody has a monopoly on the great ideas."
Sparks says those specific pledges set him apart from the other politicians seeking the fifth district nomination. "There are a lot of people when they hear my background they seem to resonate with that it seems as though they're looking for something different, someone that doesn't have a political pedigree someone that is coming from the outside."
That is a position that puts him in the company of another political outsider that many of the political insiders didn't think would survive the primary - Congressman James Lankford. And like Lankford's first campaign, Sparks is nowhere near the top of the fundraising pack. "Hopefully there is more to it than that there is a place for hard work, we're knocking on doors we're making phone calls we're using social media we're trying to be smart with what we have and I think that is a good model to follow when we go to Washington."Ultimately Republican voters will have the final say if Sparks is the GOP choice to head to the November ballot. Sparks faces five other challengers in the June 24th primary, State Senator Clark Jolley, Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, State Representative Mike Turner, former State Senator Steve Russell and former Representative Shane Jett.