Little Dixie, the swath of southeastern Oklahoma that makes up the bulk of the 2nd District, has long been Democratic in heritage, but Republican plumber Markwayne Mullin claimed an easy win here, capitalizing on discontent with the national Democratic Party. He beat former Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob Wallace to succeed retiring Rep. Dan Boren, one of the House's few remaining conservative Southern Democrats.
Mullin was born in Tulsa and grew up in Westville, a small town on the Arkansas line, as the youngest of seven children. His father ran a small plumbing business, which Mullin took over at age 19 after briefly attending Missouri Valley College. He expanded the company from six employees to more than 100. He also hosted a local talk show advising callers on home repair.
Mullin, a Cherokee, operates the Oklahoma Fight Club in Broken Arrow, a training center for jujitsu and mixed martial arts. He earned an associate's degree in business in 2010 from the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee.
Some of Mullin's business practices came under fire during the campaign. Based on a tip from an employee, federal agents raided Mullin Plumbing and discovered a stocked gun safe belonging to another employee, Tim Saylor, a convicted felon, who ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm. Mullin admitted he had not performed a background check on Saylor, who had worked for a company that Mullin bought, and that he had shot guns with him. Mullin also faced questions about whether he had illegally purchased a gun for Saylor, which he denied. In addition, Democrats alleged that Mullin omitted his association with the jujitsu center from a personal financial disclosure in 2012.