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Markwayne Mullin

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Markwayne Mullin
Official portrait, 2022
United States Senator
from Oklahoma
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Serving with James Lankford
Preceded byJim Inhofe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 2nd district
In office
January 3, 2013 – January 3, 2023
Preceded byDan Boren
Succeeded byJosh Brecheen
Personal details
Born (1977-07-26) July 26, 1977 (age 46)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Cherokee Nation
Political partyRepublican
Christie Rowan
(m. 1997)
EducationMissouri Valley College
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (AAS)
WebsiteSenate website

Markwayne Mullin (born July 26, 1977) is an American businessman and politician who has served as the junior United States senator from Oklahoma since 2023. A member of the Republican Party, he was elected in a special election in 2022 to serve the remainder of Jim Inhofe's term. Mullin is the first Native American U.S. senator since Ben Nighthorse Campbell retired in 2005.[1] He is also the second Cherokee Nation citizen elected to the Senate; the first, Robert Latham Owen, retired in 1925.[2] Before being elected to the Senate, Mullin served as the U.S. representative for Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2023.

Early life, education, and businesses[edit]

Mullin was born on July 26, 1977, in Tulsa, Oklahoma,[3] the youngest of the seven children of Jim Martin Mullin and Brenda Gayle Morris Mullin, of Westville, Oklahoma.[4] His first name is a tribute to two of his paternal uncles, Mark and Wayne; his mother put both names on his birth certificate, intending to later shorten his name to one of the two, but ultimately never did.[5][6][7]

He graduated from Stilwell High School in Stilwell, Oklahoma.[8] He attended Missouri Valley College in 1996, but did not graduate.[3] In 1997, at age 20, Mullin took over his father's business, Mullin Plumbing, when his father fell ill.

In 2010, Mullin received an associate's degree in construction technology from Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.[3][9] He is the only currently serving senator without at least a bachelor's degree.[10]

At the time he was first elected to Congress in 2012, Mullin hosted House Talk, a home improvement radio program syndicated across Oklahoma, on Tulsa station KFAQ.[11][12][better source needed]

When elected to Congress, Mullin owned Mullin Properties, Mullin Farms, and Mullin Services, in addition to Mullin Plumbing.[13] In 2012, he reported between $200,000 and $2 million in income from two family companies, and another $15,000 to $50,000 from shares he held in a bank.[14]

At the end of 2021, Mullin's reported assets increased to a range of $31.6 million to $75.6 million, compared to a range of $7.3 million to $29.9 million at the end of 2020.[15] The increase was from the sale of his plumbing-related companies to HomeTown Services, a multi-state residential heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical company.[15] Mullin said that the sale happened in early 2021, while Mullin was serving in the House of Representatives.[16]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), along with two of the other (at the time four) Native American Members of Congress, Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Sharice Davids (D-KS), testified in front of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measurers, March 4, 2020



In June 2011, incumbent U.S. Representative Dan Boren announced that he would retire at the end of 2012 from his 2nd Congressional District seat.[17] In September 2011, Mullin declared his candidacy for the seat.[18] He branded himself as an outsider; his campaign slogan was "A rancher. A businessman. Not a politician!"[19][better source needed] In the six-candidate Republican primary, Mullin finished first with 42% of the vote; state representative George Faught ranked second with 23% of the vote.[20] As a majority is required to win a congressional nomination in Oklahoma, a runoff was held; Mullin defeated Faught, 57%–43%.[21]

The district had historically been a "Yellow Dog" Democratic constituency, but had steadily trended Republican as Tulsa's suburbs spilled into its northern portion.[citation needed] For this reason, Mullin was thought to have a good chance of winning the election.[citation needed] He defeated the Democratic nominee, former district attorney Rob Wallace, 57%–38%.[22] Mullin was the first Republican to represent the district since Tom Coburn in 2001.[23]


In 2014, Mullin was reelected with 70% of the vote, defeating Democrat Earl Everett, who got 24.6% of the vote.[24]


In the June 2016 Republican primary, Mullin defeated Jarrin Jackson by 27 percentage points.[25] In the November general election, he defeated Democrat Joshua Harris-Till by 47 percentage points.[26]


When he first ran for Congress in 2012, Mullin promised to serve only three terms (six years), but in July 2017 he released a video announcing that he would run for a fourth term in 2018, saying he was ill-advised when he made the promise to only serve three terms.[27] After he reneged on this promise, former U.S. senator Tom Coburn said he would work to oust Mullin from office.[25] Mullin won a four-way Republican primary with 54% of the vote, and was reelected in November with 65% of the vote.[28][29]


In 2020, Mullin won the Republican primary with 79.9% of the vote, and was reelected in November with 75% of the vote.[30][31]


Mullin during the
113th Congress

In April 2017, Mullin drew criticism when he was recorded during a town hall meeting telling his constituents that it was "bullcrap" that taxpayers pay his salary. He said, "I pay for myself. I paid enough taxes before I got here and continue to through my company to pay my own salary. This is a service. No one here pays me to go."[32] As of 2022, Mullin still collects the U.S. Congress base salary of $174,000.[33]

In a 2018 report,[34] the U.S. House Ethics Committee said that "Mullin made a good faith effort to seek the Committee's informal guidance on numerous issues with respect to his family business." But the committee noted that Congressional ethics rules state that members of Congress should not endorse products or services, particularly if they personally benefit financially from the endorsement.[16]

Along with all other Senate and House Republicans, Mullin voted against the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.[35] In August 2022, he came out against President Joe Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, but subsequently received criticism after the White House Twitter account pointed out that Mullin had benefited from $1.4 million of federal PPP loan forgiveness.[36][37][38][39][40][41] Mullin also voted against the TRUTH Act (H.R. 6782), a bill that would have required public disclosure of companies that received funds through the bailout program.[42][43]

In 2022, Mullin introduced resolutions to remove the first and second impeachments of President Trump from the Congressional Record.[44] House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik supported the resolution.[45] At the time, the House had a Democratic majority and the resolution did not pass.[46]

January 2021 Capitol attack[edit]

During the January 6 United States Capitol attack, Mullin and Representatives Troy Nehls (a former sheriff and Army veteran) and Pat Fallon (an Air Force veteran) helped U.S. Capitol Police build barricades and protect the doors to the House Chamber from the rioters. He and many of his colleagues were later ushered to a secure location, where he declined offers to wear a mask, in violation of House rules.[47][48] Mullin said that he witnessed the shooting of Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt during the attack, which occurred after she climbed through a barricade leading toward the House Chamber; Mullin said the Capitol police officer "didn't have a choice" but to shoot, and that this action "saved people's lives", with members of Congress and their staff "in danger" from the "mob".[49][50][51]

August 2021 Afghanistan plan[edit]

In August 2021, during the final days of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Mullin and several other Americans flew to Greece and asked the U.S. Defense Department for permission to continue to Kabul, Afghanistan. Mullin planned to rent a helicopter to fly an unidentified family of U.S. citizens out of Afghanistan. At that time, the U.S. was in the process of evacuating 124,000 people out of Afghanistan as Taliban forces retook the country. The Defense Department refused Mullin's group's request.[52][53][54] On August 30, Mullin telephoned the U.S. embassy in Tajikistan and asked officials there for immediate assistance in entering Dushanbe, Tajikistan, for the same purpose. Dushanbe is 150 miles (242 km) north of Kunduz, Afghanistan. Because Mullin planned to bring in a large sum of money for the helicopter rental, the plan was deemed in violation of Tajikistan's currency importation restrictions. Embassy staffers therefore refused to help. Mullin's group ultimately did not visit the region.[citation needed]

The U.S. State Department had warned Mullin not to try to rescue Americans in Afghanistan, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy had both urged members of Congress to avoid travel to Afghanistan during the final days of the U.S. military presence.[55]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

U.S. Senate[edit]

In February 2022, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe announced he would resign from his seat at the end of the 117th United States Congress on January 3, 2023, necessitating a special election to fill the remainder of his term. Mullin announced that he would run in the special election.[60]

In a field of 13 candidates that included Scott Pruitt and Nathan Dahm, Mullin received the most votes, with 44%, but short of the 50% required to avoid a runoff. He faced former state House Speaker T. W. Shannon, who received 18%, in the runoff election on August 23.[61] Mullin defeated Shannon in the runoff,[62] and faced the Democratic nominee, former 5th District Congresswoman Kendra Horn, in the November 8 general election; Mullin defeated Horn with 61.8% of the vote.[63]

Sean O'Brien[edit]

On March 8, 2023, Mullin accused Teamsters president Sean O'Brien of "intimidation" during a Senate HELP Committee hearing on the PRO Act, claiming that O'Brien was forcing union members to pay dues and alleging that union leaders had attempted to unionize his plumbing business. When Mullin asked about O'Brien's salary and compared it to what he claimed UPS drivers made, on average, in 2019, O'Brien responded, "that's inaccurate", and told Mullin he simply "negotiates the contract". O'Brien then said that Mullin's questioning was "out of line", to which Mullin responded, "shut your mouth". O'Brien went on to mock Mullin, calling him a "tough guy" and "greedy CEO" before committee chair Bernie Sanders ended the spat by banging the gavel and instructing Mullin to "stay on the issue".[64][65]

On June 26, Mullin challenged O'Brien to a fight for charity via Twitter in response to an earlier tweet by O'Brien.[66] On November 14, when O'Brien again appeared before the committee, Mullin challenged him to fight, saying, "you want to run your mouth? We can be two consenting adults, we can finish it here" and demanding that O'Brien "stand [his] butt up". This came after Mullin read aloud a tweet of O'Brien's, posted in June, in which he called Mullin a "cowboy", told him to "quit the tough guy act", and invited Mullin to find him "anyplace, anytime"; after Mullin stood up from his seat and began moving toward O'Brien, Sanders broke up the argument, saying: "no, no, sit down! Sit down! You're a United States senator".[67]

On November 15, Mullin justified his actions in an interview, saying: "It's silly. It's stupid. But every now and then, you need to get punched in the face".[68][69] When asked whether any Senate rules allow for "two consenting adults" to "duke it out", Mullin claimed that lawmakers used to be able to "cane", referring to Representative Preston Brooks's 1856 beating of Senator Charles Sumner.[68][69] Mullin also referenced former President Andrew Jackson's duels, saying:

You got to remember that President Andrew Jackson challenged nine guys to a duel and won nine times? At the White House one time, a guy was mouthing him at the end of the table. Jackson jumped, literally ran across the table, and knocked the guy out.[68]

There is no historical evidence that Jackson ever knocked someone out while president. According to The Hermitage, Jackson was involved in only one duel where shots were fired.[70]

Political positions[edit]

Regulation of mixed martial arts[edit]

Mullin wants to extend federal boxing regulations to the practices of mixed martial arts businesses such as Ultimate Fighting Championship.[71] His 2016 proposed legislation would have forced the UFC to share financial information with fighters and create an independent ranking system.[72] Mullin reportedly planned to reintroduce the Ali Expansion Act as a senator in 2023.[73][needs update]

2020 presidential election results[edit]

In December 2020, Mullin was one of 126 Republican members of the House of Representatives to sign an amicus brief in support of Texas v. Pennsylvania, a lawsuit filed at the United States Supreme Court contesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump.[74] The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution to challenge the results of an election held by another state.[75][76][77]

When campaigning for the 2022 United States Senate special election in Oklahoma, Mullin supported the claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.[78]


Mullin supports making abortion illegal in all circumstances, including cases of rape, incest, or if the mother's life is at risk. During the 2022 Republican runoff debate, he claimed that if his wife's life were at risk during a pregnancy, neither he nor his wife would want to get an abortion.[79]

LGBT rights[edit]

On December 10, 2020, Mullin and Representative Tulsi Gabbard introduced the Protect Women's Sports Act, a bill to define Title IX protections on the basis of an individual's biological sex, making it a violation for institutions that receive federal funding to "permit a person whose biological sex at birth is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for women or girls". This bill would effectively ban many transgender athletes from participating in programs corresponding with their gender.[80][81][82]

Personal life[edit]

Mullin and his wife, Christie Renee Rowan, live in Westville, a few miles from the Arkansas border, and have six children,[3] including twin girls adopted in August 2013.[4]

Between November 2006 and April 2007, Mullin fought in three mixed martial arts fights, winning all three.[83][84]

Mullin is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation.[85] He is one of five Native Americans serving in the 118th Congress.[a] He is the first Native American senator elected to Congress in nearly two decades,[88] and the second Cherokee Nation citizen elected to the Senate, after Robert Latham Owen, who was a senator for Oklahoma from 1907 to 1925.[2]

In 2021, Mullin reported that his personal assets were between $31.6 million and $75.6 million.[89]

Electoral history[edit]


Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, 2012[citation needed]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin 143,701 57.3
Democratic Rob Wallace 96,081 38.3
Independent Michael G. Fulks 10,830 4.3
Total votes 250,612 100.0
Republican gain from Democratic


2014 Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district general election[90]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin (incumbent) 110,925 70.0
Democratic Earl Everett 38,964 24.6
Independent Jon Douthitt 8,518 5.4
Total votes 158,407 100.0
Republican hold


Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, 2016 [26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin (incumbent) 189,839 70.6
Democratic Joshua Harris-Till 62,387 23.2
Independent John McCarthy 16,644 6.2
Total votes 268,870 100.0
Republican hold


Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, 2018[citation needed]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin (incumbent) 140,451 65.0
Democratic Jason Nichols 65,021 30.1
Independent John Foreman 6,390 3.0
Libertarian Richard Castaldo 4,140 1.9
Total votes 216,002 100.0
Republican hold


Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district, 2020[citation needed]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin (incumbent) 216,511 75.0
Democratic Danyell Lanier 63,472 22.0
Libertarian Richie Castaldo 8,544 3.0
Total votes 288,527 100.0
Republican hold


2022 Oklahoma United States Senate Republican special primary[91]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin 156,087 43.62%
Republican T. W. Shannon 62,746 17.53%
Republican Nathan Dahm 42,673 11.92%
Republican Luke Holland 40,353 11.28%
Republican Scott Pruitt 18,052 5.04%
Republican Randy J. Grellner 15,794 4.41%
Republican Laura Moreno 6,597 1.84%
Republican Jessica Jean Garrison 6,114 1.71%
Republican Alex Gray (withdrew) 3,063 0.86%
Republican John F. Tompkins 2,332 0.65%
Republican Adam Holley 1,873 0.52%
Republican Michael Coibion 1,261 0.35%
Republican Paul Royse 900 0.25%
Total votes 357,845 100.0%
2022 Oklahoma United States Senate Republican special primary runoff[92]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Markwayne Mullin 183,118 65.08%
Republican T. W. Shannon 98,246 34.92%
Total votes 281,364 100.0%
2022 United States Senate special election in Oklahoma[93]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican Markwayne Mullin 710,643 61.8%
Democratic Kendra Horn 405,389 35.2%
Libertarian Robert Murphy 17,386 1.5%
Independent Ray Woods 17,063 1.5% N/A
Total votes 1,150,481 100%
Republican hold


  1. ^ The others are Tom Cole (Chickasaw Nation),[86] Josh Brecheen (Choctaw Nation),[87] Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk Nation), and Alaska Native Mary Peltola (Yup'ik).


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External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 2nd congressional district

Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
(Class 2)

Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Oklahoma
Served alongside: James Lankford
Most recent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas United States Senator from Missouri Order of precedence of the United States
as United States Senator from Oklahoma

since January 3, 2023
Succeeded byas United States Senator from Nebraska
Preceded by United States senators by seniority
Succeeded by