Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2012, 1st term.

Born: June 15, 1975, Ann Arbor, MI

Home: Tulsa

Education: Rice University, B.A., 1998; Cornell University, M.B.A., 2009

Professional Career: Director, Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 2008-10; defense consultant, Wyle Laboratories, 2007-08

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Baptist

Family: Married (Michelle Ivory Bridenstine) , 3 children

Tea party-backed Jim Bridenstine scored a big upset in 2012 by knocking off 10-year veteran Rep. John Sullivan in the GOP primary. In the conservative district, Bridenstine’s general election victory was almost guaranteed.

The son of an accountant and a schoolteacher, Bridenstine was born in Ann Arbor, Mich. At age 4, he moved with his family to Arlington, Texas. When he was in high school, the family relocated again and settled in Jenks, a suburb of Tulsa, Okla. He began swimming competitively at age 12, went on to become captain of the Jenks High School swim team, and was named Oklahoma’s “Swimmer of the Year.” He attended Rice University in Houston on a partial swimming scholarship. But a shoulder injury forced him to leave the sport after his sophomore year, and he turned his focus to academics, triple-majoring in business administration, economics, and psychology.

After graduating from Rice in 1998, he joined the Navy and became a pilot of the E-2 Hawkeye, an airborne command and control plane. As a naval officer, he served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, flying combat missions and logging more than 1,900 flight hours. He transitioned to flying the F-18 Hornet with the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center in Nevada in 2004. During that time, he bought a small ranch in Nevada and began to raise alpacas, a small South American mammal that resembles a llama and produces fur used for knitted and woven items.

After leaving active duty in 2007, Bridenstine and his wife, Michelle, moved to Orlando, Fla., where he worked at defense consulting firm Wyle Laboratories. Simultaneously, he earned his M.B.A. from Cornell University, flying to New York every other weekend for classes. In 2008, Bridenstine and his family moved back to Tulsa, where he became the director of the city’s Air and Space Museum.

In September 2011, Bridenstine launched a long-shot primary campaign for Sullivan’s House seat. The incumbent had a very conservative voting record and had clocked at least 60% of the vote in his prior three reelection campaigns. Bridenstine painted Sullivan as an out-of-touch, career politician with a proclivity for missing votes. Sullivan had been admitted to a rehabilitation center to be treated for alcoholism after the death of his daughter, which he said explained his missed votes.

Sullivan accused Bridenstine of operating the Tulsa Air and Space Museum at a loss and putting it in financial jeopardy, a charge Bridenstine disputed, saying that his project to bring a space shuttle to the museum was a secure venture that raised the museum’s visibility. Sullivan outspent Bridenstine by 4-to-1, amassing $990,000 to Bridenstine’s $244,000. But Bridenstine won, 54% to 46%. “So many things came together in a perfect storm,” he told National Journal. “I think the electorate was looking for viable candidates who would oppose incumbents.”

In the general election, Bridenstine easily dispatched Democratic businessman John Olson. A strong believer in term limits, Bridenstine has vowed to serve no more than three terms in the House. He got off to an early start as a House rebel, casting his first vote in January 2013 for Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., rather than for returning Speaker John Boehner. Several House conservatives cast protest votes of Boehner’s willingness to negotiate legislative compromises with President Barack Obama.

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2211

(202) 225-9187

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 216
Washington, DC 20515-3601

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2211

(202) 225-9187

CHOB- Cannon House Office Building Room 216
Washington, DC 20515-3601

DISTRICT OFFICE

(918) 935-3222

(918) 935-2716

2448 East 81st Street Suite 5150
Tulsa, OK 71437-4250

DISTRICT OFFICE

(918) 935-3222

(918) 935-2716

2448 East 81st Street Suite 5150
Tulsa, OK 71437-4250

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(918) 877-0252

8086 South Yale Avenue PMB 230
Tulsa, OK 74136

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

8086 South Yale Avenue PMB 230
Tulsa, OK 74136

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Abortion

Megan Wenrich
Scheduler

Aerospace

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Agriculture

Mark Piland
Legislative Assistant

Appropriations

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Budget

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Education

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Energy

Joseph Kaufman
Chief of Staff

Environment

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Family

Megan Wenrich
Scheduler

Finance

Sheryl Kaufman
Communications Director

Foreign

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Health

Mark Piland
Legislative Assistant

Homeland Security

Mark Piland
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Intelligence

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Military

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Native Americans

Mark Piland
Legislative Assistant

Science

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Social Security

Mark Piland
Legislative Assistant

Tax

Sheryl Kaufman
Communications Director

Technology

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Telecommunications

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Transportation

Christopher Ingraham
Senior Legislative Assistant

Veterans

James Mazol
Legislative Director

Women

Megan Wenrich
Scheduler

Election Results

2012 GENERAL
Jim Bridenstine
Votes: 181,084
Percent: 63.47%
John Olson
Votes: 91,421
Percent: 32.04%
2012 PRIMARY
Jim Bridenstine
Votes: 28,055
Percent: 53.83%
John Sullivan
Votes: 24,058
Percent: 46.17%

To order a print copy of the 2016 edition of the Almanac of American Politics, click here. For questions about print orders, call Columbia Books at 1-888-265-0600 ext 0266 or email customer service.

For questions about the digital Almanac, please contact your Dedicated Advisor or Membership@NationalJournal.com.

×