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John Sullivan (Oklahoma)

John Sullivan
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
In office
February 15, 2002 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Steve Largent
Succeeded by Jim Bridenstine
Personal details
Born ( 1965-01-01) January 1, 1965
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Judy Sullivan
Residence Tulsa
Alma mater Northeastern State University
Occupation real estate broker
Religion Roman Catholic

John A. Sullivan (born January 1, 1965) is the former U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district (based in the Tulsa area). He was initially elected in 2002. He is a member of the Republican Party. On June 26, 2012, Sullivan lost renomination to political newcomer Jim Bridenstine in what was considered a major upset.[1]


  • Early life, education, and early career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • Personal life 3
    • Alcoholism 3.1
  • Electoral history 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life, education, and early career

Sullivan was born in Oklahoma City and graduated from Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa. He subsequently entered Northeastern State University, where he received a B.B.A. in marketing, in 1992. Prior to holding elected office, Sullivan worked in the private sector for Love Travel Centers as a regional sales manager and for BAMA Transportation as a fleet manager.

Sullivan was a Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 1995 to 2002, where he served as minority whip.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives


In 2002, incumbent Steve Largent resigned from Congress to focus on his campaign for governor. Sullivan entered the Republican primary for his seat running against the incumbent governor Frank Keating's wife, Cathy, in the Republican primary. Sullivan won the February special election and went on to hold the seat in the general election in November.


During the 2004 election campaign, Sullivan's police record became public. Local media concluded he had at least three arrests:[3][4] for assault and battery of an off-duty police officer in 1982, when he was 17 years old,[5] and for public intoxication and disturbing the peace in 1985, while still under-age. The most recent arrest, at age 27, was due to an outstanding bench warrant issued after he failed to appear in court for a traffic violation.

Sullivan voted to make the PATRIOT Act permanent, without any future option for Congressional review or revocation.[6]

In the 110th Congress, he served as an Assistant Minority Whip under then House Minority Whip Rep. Roy Blunt.[7] He held the same position in both the 111th and 112th Congress under Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy.

On October 3, 2008, Sullivan was one of two Oklahoma Republican congressmen to vote for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 which created the Troubled Assets Relief Program.[8] On December 9, 2008, Sullivan voted against a bailout of the automobile industry saying "taxpayers should not be asked to reward failure by subsidizing the very business practices that got them into this situation in the first place".[9] He also was a proponent of the 2009 Tea Party protests which condemned any bailouts, and also spoke at a rally in Tulsa.[10]

On December 16, 2010, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) named Sullivan as the vice chairman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.[11]

In December 2011, Sullivan was named a co-chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee's most significant fundraising effort of the 2012 election cycle, the annual March dinner.[12] The dinner was viewed as a tremendous success, drawing in a record breaking $12 million for republican Congressional candidates across the country. NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas praised Sullivan and the other co-chairman saying they did "a phenomenal job in their efforts to make this years event a huge success".[13]

Sullivan was tapped to serve on the House Energy and Commerce Leadership team for the 112th Congress.[14] He was the primary sponsor of H.R. 1380, the New Alternative Transportation to Give America Solutions (NAT GAS) Act of 2011, legislation designed to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil by encouraging more natural gas powered vehicles on American roads.[15]

He introduced legislation to study the cumulative economic impact of twelve significant EPA regulations which was passed by the House Energy and Power Subcommittee on May 24, 2011.[16] In February 2011, Sullivan offered an amendment to block the EPA's decision to sell a higher blend, E15, ethanol gasoline for late model cars which passed by a vote of 285-136.[17] Sullivan also sponsored the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act of 2011 (H.R. 2401), "to require analyses of the cumulative and incremental impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency, and for other purposes",[18] which has passed the House and will go on to the Senate.[18]

On February 22, 2012, at a town hall meeting in Bixby, Sullivan said shooting senators would be the only way to pass the Ryan Budget: "You know but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them." The next day he released an apology through his spokesperson.[19]

On June 26, 2012, Sullivan was defeated in the Republican primary election by Jim Bridenstine.[20]

According to the American Conservative Union, Sullivan was consistently among the most conservative members of Congress. He received a 100% rating from the organization in 2009 and 2010 earning their the "Defender of Liberty" award both years.[21] He is opposed to all legalized abortion, believes that life begins at conception, and opposes stem cell research on embryonic cells. He has been rated 100% by the Christian Coalition for his views.[22] He is opposed to gun control and has been commended by the National Rifle Association for his position.[23]

He supported a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning[24] and wishes to strip the independent judiciary of the ability to decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of the Pledge of Allegiance. He had been rated as 0% by the ACLU on civil rights issues.[25] He also supported continued U.S. military involvement in Iraq and opposed any "rapid troop pullout".[26]

Committee assignments

Personal life

He and his wife, Judy Beck, have four children.


On May 28, 2009, Sullivan entered the Betty Ford Center in California to receive treatment for his addiction to alcohol.[27]

Electoral history

Oklahoma's 1st congressional district: Results 2000�2010[28][29][30]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Dan Lowe 58,493 29% Steve Largent * 138,528 69% Michael A. Clem Libertarian 2,984 1%
2002 Doug Dodd 50,850 44% John Sullivan 61,694 54% Neil Mavis Independent 1,758 2% *
2002 Doug Dodd 90,649 42% John Sullivan 119,566 56% Joe Cristiano Independent 4,740 2%
2004 Doug Dodd 116,731 38% John Sullivan 187,145 60% John Krymski Independent 7,058 2%
2006 Alan Gentges 56,724 31% John Sullivan 116,920 64% Bill Wortman Independent 10,085 5%
2008 Georgianna Oliver 98,863 34% John Sullivan 193,361 66%
2010 John Sullivan 151,173 77% Angelia O'Dell Independent 45,656 23%

*The first 2002 election was the special election on January 8 to fill the remainder of Steve Largent's term upon his retirement. Write-in and minor candidate notes: David Fares received 388 votes in the 2002 special election.


  1. ^ Casteel, Chris (June 27, 2012). "Rep. John Sullivan loses seat to political newcomer Jim Bridenstine". Oklahoman. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Oklahoma Department of Libraries". Bio. Oklahoma Department of Libraries. 
  3. ^ "Truth Test: Sullivan's Arrest Record In Ads". October 21, 2004. 
  4. ^ Myers, Jim (October 22, 2004). "Sullivan ad claims only one arrest on his record".  
  5. ^ Myers, Jim (October 24, 2004). "Details emerge about hopeful's arrest record".  
  6. ^ "American Library Association". Archived from the original on February 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  7. ^ "Sullivan Tapped to Serve Oklahoma as Assistant Whip, on Policy Committee, and on Several Energy and Commerce Subcommittees". 
  8. ^ "Bailout Roll Call". 2008-10-03. 
  9. ^ Myers, Jim (10 December 2008). "Oklahoma delegates vote 4-1 against auto bailout". Tulsa World. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Congressman Sullivan speaks at Tulsa Tea Party rally". 2009-04-15. 
  11. ^ myers, Jim. "Sullivan named subcommittee vice chairman". 
  12. ^ Myers, Jim. "U.S. Rep John Sullivan tapped to co-chair GOP fundraiser". Tulsa World. 
  13. ^ Miller, Joshua. "NRCC Dinner Brings in $12 Million". Roll Call. 
  14. ^ Myers, Jim (17 December 2010). "Sullivan Gets position on energy panel". Tulsa World. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Myers, Jim (6 April 2011). "Sullivan, Boren reintroduce natural gas for transportation tax credit gas". Tulsa World. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  16. ^ Myers, Jim (25 May 2011). "Sullivan bill to study EPA regulations' impact advances". Tulsa World. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  17. ^ Myers, Jim (20 February 2011). "Boren, Sullivan see amendments passed". Tulsa World. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  18. ^ a b "H.R 2401: Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011". Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  19. ^ "GOP Rep: I�d Have To Personally Kill Some Senators To Get The Ryan Budget Passed (AUDIO)". TPM. Feb 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "OK Election Results". Jun 27, 2012. 
  21. ^ "2010 Combined Ratings". Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Project Vote Smart". Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  23. ^ "John Sullivan For Congress official website, Second Amendment section". Archived from the original on April 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  24. ^ "First Amendment Center". Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  25. ^ "American Civil Liberties Union National Scorecard". Retrieved 2008-01-17. 
  26. ^ "U. S. Congressman John Sullivan official website". Archived from the original on December 27, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  27. ^ "U.S. Rep. John Sullivan checks in to Betty Ford clinic". Tulsa World News. May 29, 2009. 
  28. ^ National Journal Almanac Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  29. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  30. ^ "Oklahoma 2002 Midterm election". The Green Papers. Retrieved 2008-01-16. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Steve Largent
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st congressional district

February 15, 2002 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Joe Wilson
R-South Carolina
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Rodney Alexander
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