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Kevin Hern
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Assumed office
January 3, 2023
Preceded byJim Banks
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 1st district
Assumed office
November 13, 2018
Preceded byJim Bridenstine
Personal details
Born (1961-12-04) December 4, 1961 (age 62)
Belton, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Tammy Hern
(m. 1994)
EducationArkansas Tech University (BS)
Georgia Institute of Technology
University of Arkansas, Little Rock (MBA)
WebsiteHouse website

Kevin Ray Hern (born December 4, 1961) is an American businessman and politician from Oklahoma. A Republican, he is a member of the United States House of Representatives for Oklahoma's 1st congressional district. Born in Missouri and raised in Pope County, Arkansas, Hern graduated from Arkansas Tech University in 1986 and briefly attended the Georgia Institute of Technology before returning to Arkansas to work for McDonald's the following year. In 1997 he bought his first McDonald's franchise and in 1999 he earned his MBA degree from the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. After moving to Oklahoma in 1999, Hern expanded his McDonald's franchises, eventually owning 18 franchises in the Tulsa metropolitan area. In 2018, he ran his first campaign for office and was elected to the United States House of Representatives.

Hern was a leading figure in attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 United States presidential election.[1] In December 2020, Hern signed 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. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case on the basis that Texas lacked standing under Article III of the Constitution.[2][3][4]

Hern became the chair of the Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative Republicans in the House, in 2023. In the January 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election, Hern was nominated for Speaker of the House as a protest candidate against Kevin McCarthy. During the October 2023 Speaker of the United States House of Representatives election Hern initially announced he would seek the nomination, before withdrawing from the race against Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan. On October 20, 2023, he again announced his candidacy for Speaker of the House after the withdrawal of Scalise and Jordan.

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Early life and education

Born on an Air Force base in western Missouri, Hern moved to Pope County with his mother, Freda Flansburg,[5] and younger brother after his parents separated.[6] He graduated from Dover High School in 1980 and Arkansas Tech University in 1986 before working at Rockwell International while pursuing a PhD in astronautical engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He left his degree program without finishing after the Challenger disaster [why?] in 1986.[7]

Hern received his MBA from University of Arkansas, Little Rock, in 1999.[8]


McDonald's franchises

In 1987, Hern moved to Arkansas and went to work for McDonald's; within a few years, he was an operations manager for several McDonald's franchises in the Little Rock area.[6] In January 1997, he bought his first McDonald's, in North Little Rock. He sold that franchise in 1999 to move to Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he bought two franchises. He expanded his business to 18 franchises in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area.[7] In 2018, during his first campaign for office, The Frontier coined the nickname "McCongressman" for Hern in reference to his McDonald's franchises.[9] The nickname was subsequently picked up by other outlets after his election.[10][11] He sold his last McDonald's franchise in 2021.[12]

Current businesses

In addition to his restaurant holdings, Hern started a number of other business enterprises in Oklahoma, including a hog farm, a community bank, and several high-school sports publications. In 2019, he owned a company that manufactured decor and furniture for some of the largest U.S. fast-food restaurant companies and was the wealthiest serving congressman from Oklahoma.[6][13] In 2023 he had assets worth between $36 million and $110 million.[14]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hern's KTAK Corporation received between $1 million and $2 million in federally backed small business loans from American Bank and Trust as part of the Paycheck Protection Program. KTAK stated it would retain 220 jobs. The loan was seen as notable since Hern is a vocal opponent of deficit spending; in 2018, discussing a balanced budget, he said, "While there is no easy fix to this, the first step is clear: stop adding to it." In 2020, he said, "This isn't a bailout. It's a repayment of what the government has taken away from American workers and businesses."[15][16][17] KTAK operates franchises. During the Paycheck Protection Program negotiations, Hern pushed to increase the amount of aid going to franchises.[17] Hern was ranked number 7 in the United States House of Representatives by total number of stock trades while in office between January 2020 and January 2022 and violated the STOCK Act in 2021.[18]

U.S. House of Representatives



After Jim Bridenstine resigned from the United States House of Representatives in 2018 to become administrator of NASA, Hern ran to succeed him in Oklahoma's 1st congressional district in the 2018 elections. Hern advanced to the runoff,[19][20] where he defeated Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris.[21] He then advanced to the general election, where he defeated Democratic nominee Tim Gilpin.[22] Outgoing Governor Mary Fallin then appointed Hern to serve the rest of Bridenstine's third term. She was able to do so because under Oklahoma law, if a House seat falls vacant in an even-numbered year and the incumbent's term is due to end the following year, the governor can appoint someone to serve the remainder of the term. Accordingly, Hern was sworn into the House on November 13.[23][24]


Hern defeated Democratic nominee Kojo Asamoa-Caesar and Independent Evelyn L. Rogers in the November 2020 general election.[25]


Hern ran for a third term in 2022, despite speculation that he might run for the open Senate seat being vacated by Jim Inhofe.[26] Hern defeated Democratic nominee Adam Martin and Independent Evelyn L. Rogers in the November general election.[27]


Hern ran for a fourth term in 2024 facing a primary challenge from Paul Royse.[28]


In December 2020, Hern 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 prevailed[29] over incumbent Donald Trump. 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.[2][3][4] He also was among 147 congressional Republicans who voted to overturn the 2020 election results.[1] In 2022, Hern was one of 39 Republicans to vote for the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022, an antitrust package that would crack down on corporations for anti-competitive behavior.[30][31] In 2023, Hern was among 47 Republicans to vote in favor of H.Con.Res. 21 which directed President Joe Biden to remove U.S. troops from Syria within 180 days.[32][33] He was later among 71 Republicans who voted against final passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023.[34] In July 2021, Hern voted against the bipartisan ALLIES Act, which would increase by 8,000 the number of special immigrant visas for Afghan allies of the U.S. military during its invasion of Afghanistan, while also reducing some application requirements that caused long application backlogs; the bill passed in the House 407–16.[35]

January 2023 Speaker election

On the eighth ballot of the 2023 Speaker of the House of Representatives election, Hern received two votes, from Representative Lauren Boebert and Representative Josh Brecheen. Hern himself voted for Kevin McCarthy.[36] He was officially nominated by Boebert on the ninth ballot and received three votes.[37] He was again nominated by Boebert on the tenth ballot,[38] and received seven votes.[36] On the 11th ballot, Representative Bob Good of Virginia nominated Hern and he received seven votes.[39][40] After the votes, Hern told The Frontier he was not ruling out a run for the Speakership and he would "think and pray about [it] before deciding."[36] The next day, Kevin McCarthy secured the votes to win the election.[41]

October 2023 Speaker election

On October 4, 2023, he announced his campaign for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives after McCarthy was removed by a motion to vacate.[42] He suspended his campaign on October 7, saying a three-way speaker race was not in the interest of the party.[43] On October 11, he announced that he would seek the House Majority Leader post vacated by Steve Scalise;[44] the same day he voted for Scalise to be Speaker of the House during the Republican house caucus vote.[45] During his candidacy, Hern received news coverage for serving McDonald's breakfast sandwiches to the Republican conference.[46][47] After Scalise dropped out of the race, Hern then supported Jim Jordan for the nomination during the first three votes.[48] On October 20, after Jim Jordan failed to be elected Speaker, Hern announced his reinstated candidature.[49][50] He lost the conference vote on October 24 to Tom Emmer after being eliminated in the third round of a four round vote.[51] The same day he suspended his campaign and endorsed Mike Johnson in the race.[52]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Political positions

During his political career Hern has positioned himself as close to Donald Trump and emphasized his own business experience.[14]


Hern has called current welfare spending "tragic". He is a strong supporter of work requirements for welfare programs and credits his support of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to its work requirement.[54]

Personal life

Hern and his wife, Tammy, have three children and two grandchildren.[55] It is his second marriage.[6]

Hern is Protestant.[56][57]

Electoral history

Republican primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tim Harris 28,392 27.5
Republican Kevin Hern 23,425 22.7
Republican Andy Coleman 22,584 21.9
Republican Nathan Dahm 20,843 20.2
Republican Danny Stockstill 8,086 7.8
Total votes 103,330 100.0
Republican primary runoff results
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern 40,373 54.9
Republican Tim Harris 33,138 45.1
Total votes 73,511 100.0
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2018
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern 150,129 59.3
Democratic Tim Gilpin 103,042 40.7
Total votes 253,171 100.0
Republican hold
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2020[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern (incumbent) 213,700 63.70
Democratic Kojo Asamoa-Caesar 109,641 32.68
Independent Evelyn L. Rogers 12,130 3.62
Total votes 335,471 100.0
Republican hold
Oklahoma's 1st congressional district, 2022[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Kevin Hern (incumbent) 142,800 61.16
Democratic Adam Martin 80,974 34.68
Independent Evelyn Rogers 9,721 4.16
Total votes 233,495 100.0
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b Yourish, Karen; Buchanan, Larry; Lu, Denise (January 7, 2021). "The 147 Republicans Who Voted to Overturn Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  2. ^ a b Liptak, Adam (December 11, 2020). "Supreme Court Rejects Texas Suit Seeking to Subvert Election". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Order in Pending Case" (PDF). Supreme Court of the United States. December 11, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Diaz, Daniella. "Brief from 126 Republicans supporting Texas lawsuit in Supreme Court". CNN. Archived from the original on December 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Hern honors late mother on U.S. House floor". Fox 23. January 10, 2023. Retrieved January 11, 2023.
  6. ^ a b c d Lockwood, Frank E. (February 25, 2019). "Multimillionaire burger maker with Arkansas roots ready to legislate in Congress". Arkansas Online. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Hardiman, Samuel (August 5, 2016). "5 Questions with Kevin Hern, McDonald's franchisee | 5 Questions". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Dover native receives Congressional GOP nomination in Oklahoma". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  9. ^ Goforth, Dylan (June 25, 2018). "The McCongressman? Out-of-state McDonald's money flows into the campaign of Tulsa restaurateur Kevin Hern". The Frontier. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  10. ^ Gray, Sarah (September 16, 2021). "All Five Oklahoma Congressional Reps Stand Behind Anti-Semite, 9/11 Denier Rep. Marjorie Greene". The Black Wall Street Times. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  11. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (July 7, 2020). "'McCongressman' Gets a Large Order of PPP". Bloomberg News. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  12. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (May 14, 2021). "First District Congressman Kevin Hern gets out of the hamburger business". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  13. ^ Casteel, Chris (January 27, 2019). "Hern worth more than rest of state's congressional delegation combined". The Oklahoman. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g Krehbiel, Randy (October 6, 2023). "Who is Oklahoma Congressman Kevin Hern?". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  15. ^ Hamburger, Tom; Gregg, Aaron; Narayanswamy, Anu (July 8, 2020). "After railing against federal spending, GOP lawmakers, conservative groups benefit from government aid program". Washington Post. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Syed, Moiz; Willis, Derek (July 7, 2020). "KTAK CORPORATION I - Coronavirus Bailouts - ProPublica". ProPublica. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "Treasury, SBA data show small-business loans went to private-equity backed chains, members of Congress". The Washington Post. 2020.
  18. ^ Kight, Stef W.; Olde, Thomas (February 9, 2022). "The House's top stock traders". Axios. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  19. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (June 27, 2018). "Tim Harris, Kevin Hern headed to 1st Congressional District runoff; Democrats also going to second round". Tulsa World. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  20. ^ "Rare runoffs to decide 1st Congressional District nominees | Homepagelatest". August 26, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  21. ^ "Kevin Hern beats Tim Harris for Congressional 1st District Republican nomination". August 28, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
  22. ^ "Kevin Hern beats Tim Gilpin to replace Jim Bridenstine in Congress". Tulsa World. November 6, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  23. ^ Sweeney, Catherine (November 8, 2018). "Hern taking office ahead of freshman congressional class". The Journal Record.
  24. ^ "New 1st District Congressman Kevin Hern sworn in | Government". January 1, 1970. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  25. ^ a b "November 3, 2020 - Official Results". Oklahoma State Election Board.
  26. ^ Gorman, Reese (April 14, 2022). "Catching up with Congress: Kevin Hern passes on a run for open U.S. Senate seat". The Frontier. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  27. ^ a b "November 8 2022 Oklahoma Official results". Oklahoma State Election Board. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  28. ^ Patterson, Matt (April 6, 2024). "Corporation Commission seat draws 5, congressional incumbents find opponents". NonDoc. Retrieved June 2, 2024.
  29. ^ Blood, Michael R.; Riccardi, Nicholas (December 5, 2020). "Biden officially secures enough electors to become president". AP News. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  30. ^ "House passes antitrust bill that hikes M&A fees as larger efforts targeting tech have stalled". CNBC. September 29, 2022.
  31. ^ "H.R. 3843: Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act of 2022 -- House Vote #460 -- Sep 29, 2022".
  32. ^ "H.Con.Res. 21: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of … -- House Vote #136 -- Mar 8, 2023".
  33. ^ "House Votes Down Bill Directing Removal of Troops From Syria". Associated Press. March 8, 2023.
  34. ^ Gans, Jared (May 31, 2023). "Republicans and Democrats who bucked party leaders by voting no". The Hill. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  35. ^ Quarshie, Mabinty (August 17, 2021). "These 16 Republicans voted against speeding up visas for Afghans fleeing the Taliban". USA Today. Retrieved August 18, 2021.
  36. ^ a b c Krehbiel, Randy (January 5, 2023). "Kevin Hern gets votes for House speaker on third day of fight in D.C." Tulsa World. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  37. ^ Chasmer, Jessica (January 5, 2023). "McCarthy set to lose 9th speaker vote, as Donalds and Hern split GOP votes". Fox News. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  38. ^ Astor, Maggie (January 5, 2023). "Who is Kevin Hern? More about one of the rebels' protest candidates". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2023.
  39. ^ Gold, Michael (January 5, 2023). "House Speaker Vote: Updates". The New York Times. Retrieved January 5, 2023. As we enter the 11th ballot, we're not done with speaker nominations yet. Bob Good of Virginia, after a long wind-up speech, is putting forward Kevin Hern as a candidate.
  40. ^ Dorn, Sara (January 5, 2023). "McCarthy Falls Short Again In Chaotic House Speaker Race—As Voting Stretches Past 11 Rounds For First Time In 163 Years". Forbes. Retrieved January 6, 2023.
  41. ^ Mascaro, Lisa; Amiri, Farnoush (January 7, 2023). "Kevin McCarthy wins House speaker in 15th round of voting". Tulsa World. Retrieved January 7, 2023.
  42. ^ Peterson, Kristina (October 4, 2023). "Rep. Kevin Hern to Run for Speaker". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved October 4, 2023.
  43. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (October 7, 2023). "Kevin Hern backs off U.S. House speaker bid". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 9, 2023.
  44. ^ "Speaker Election: Update from Robert Jimison". The New York Times. October 11, 2023. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 13, 2023.
  45. ^ Keyes, Maddy (October 11, 2023). "Lucas, Hern back Scalise as other delegation members remain mum". Enid News & Eagle. Retrieved October 12, 2023.
  46. ^ Metzger, Bryan (October 12, 2023). "A former McDonalds franchise owner dubbed 'McCongressman' wants to be the GOP's next House Majority Leader — and he's handing out McGriddles to win his colleagues over". Business Insider. Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  47. ^ Ferris, Sarah (October 12, 2023). "Kevin Hern is making a special pitch in his House majority leader bid — McGriddles delivered to GOP offices". POLITICO. Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  48. ^ Maupin, Jennifer (October 20, 2023). "Rep. Hern announces run for Speaker of the House". KJRH-TV. Retrieved October 23, 2023.
  49. ^ Gabbatt, Adam; Yang, Maya; Stein, Chris (October 20, 2023). "Jim Jordan no longer Republican speaker candidate after losing secret ballot – US politics live". The Guardian. At 19:31 in live report,
  50. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (October 20, 2023). "Kevin Hern says he's back in House speaker race". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 20, 2023.
  51. ^ Krehbiel, Randy (October 24, 2023). "Hern's speaker bid stalled". Tulsa World. Retrieved October 24, 2023.
  52. ^ "U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern drops back out of speaker's race". Tulsa World. October 24, 2023. Retrieved October 30, 2023.
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  55. ^ "Quick 5: Congressional District 1 candidates answer questions". Muskogee Phoenix. October 31, 2018. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
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External links

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

Party political offices
Preceded by Chair of the Republican Study Committee
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
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