SALLISAW – Retired Nike Golf executive Tom Stites has officially kicked off his campaign for Oklahoma House District 2, as hundreds gathered at a rally Monday night at the Sequoyah County Fair Barn to celebrate his candidacy. The Democrat announced earlier this year that he will make a second run at the seat currently occupied by State Representative John Bennett, who announced last month that he would not seek re-election.
Stites narrowly lost to Bennett in a 2016 challenge and had prepared for a second battle announcing that he would make the run before the incumbent made his decision to retire.
The candidate said Tuesday morning that he was excited about the momentum generated from the kickoff rally.
“What a crowd of enthused campaign rally supporters! The parking was full and around the building. The room was crammed full for over 2 hours as people came and went. We had over 400 attend. I’m told we fed 500 hot dogs and over 1000 drinks.” Stites noted. “It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at our fair barn. I cannot thank enough my supporters, the entertainers and volunteers who made this event happen. Now it’s hard work and on to victory in November!”
Stites is a Sallisaw native who resided in the Fort Worth, Texas area for several years where he was the Chief Club Designer for Nike Golf. He has overseen the design of clubs such as those of professionals like Tiger Woods. He returned to his hometown in 2013, but remained on board as a consultant for Nike.
He is the son of former State Representative J.T. Stites, who helped educate scores of Sequoyah County students as a teacher, coach, and educator before entering politics.