Republican Mike Christian is back in the race to reclaim House District 93’s seat from incumbent Democrat Mickey Dollens who has no intention of giving it up.
Christian represented the district from 2008 until 2016 but did not seek re-election in order to run for Oklahoma County Sheriff. He lost the race to Democrat John Whetsel who then retired a year later. P.D. Taylor, Whetsel’s undersheriff, won the special election.
Meanwhile, at-the-time newcomer Mickey Dollens won the house seat in 2016 when a diverse combination of voters on the south side turned to Democrats in several races. He has been representing the district since.
This particular election is a unique circumstance as both candidates have represented the district.
Even the word “incumbent” has created controversy. Dollens tweeted that Christian had allegedly been misleading voters by claiming that he was the incumbent.
Dollens is the incumbent and there can only be one. However, the tweet is just one example of the sometimes bizarre dynamic that this house race presents.
The following is a layout of each candidate’s policies based partly on a questionnaire Free Press sent to both of them and our research. For clarity, Dollens filled out the questionnaire and Christian did not.
Christian did not respond to our emails and the Oklahoma County Republican Party was asked to connect us with him but that effort was unsuccessful.
With less than a month left until the November elections, Free Press will be providing coverage of races in the Oklahoma City metro area in depth. By doing so, we hope that you, the reader, gain a better understanding of the choices you will have on November 3.
On his website, Dollens lays out in detail which bills he has authored and the issues they address. While his list of authored and co-authored bills are extensive, the majority of them have yet to be signed into law by the governor.
Dollens considers his most important issues to be education, mental health services, and workforce readiness programs.
Before the pandemic hit, he authored a bill, which passed in the house, that would help give tax incentives to manufacturers to hire apprentices. Dollens believes this will be extremely helpful for helping Oklahomans deal with the economic consequences of the pandemic.
Mental health is a particularly important issue for the representative because his brother committed suicide at the age of 18. That is why Dollens authored a bill that would require student IDs at public schools to have the suicide prevention hotline written on them.
Dollens also worked as a public school teacher at U.S. Grant High School, which influenced his support for a tax increase that would fund public education.
An Unforgettable Story
In terms of careers, Dollens wore many hats in his life. Starting out playing football at Southern Methodist University, he went on to be a member of the U.S. Bobsled Team and eventually returned to Oklahoma to work in the oil and gas industry.
When he was laid off from his job, he became a teacher and was laid off again due to budget cuts made by the state. That’s when he ran for office.
“Tragedy awakens resilience. More importantly, tragedy awakens passion,” Dollens said when explaining his life story.
While Christian did not respond to our survey, his campaign has a Facebook page and he has spoken to other outlets.
Christian was an Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper for 10 years before representing HD-93 and ran for Oklahoma County Sheriff twice without success after relinquishing House District 93’s seat.
In an interview with KOKC, Chrisitan said that he has been knocking on doors asking residents what they consider to be important issues, one of them being law enforcement.
Christian heavily advocated for law enforcement consolidation, which means putting multiple law enforcement agencies under one agency, while working as a representative. However, the bill that he authored never passed.
If elected, he plans to author and introduce a similar bill again as he believes that this type of law enforcement reform would save the state millions in taxpayer dollars.
He also is a passionate advocate for the death penalty. In one case, Christian launched an effort to impeach five Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices for delaying the death of a man who murdered a teenager.
During his time at the state Capitol, Christian authored bills that put Oklahoma in compliance with the Real ID Act, helped seniors receive more tax exemptions, and created new special emphasis weeks and days to bring awareness to particular issues such as County Government Week, National Prayer Day, and Police Week.
No stranger to controversy
In 2016, he made headlines for being accused of falsifying endorsements in his campaign mailers. Reportedly, Christian recognized the mistake and alleged that it was merely a misunderstanding.
However, during the following year, he used pictures of himself when he was working at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol during his second run for Oklahoma County Sheriff. This caused the state agency to clarify that they would not be endorsing the former highway patrolman.