Mike Synar (October 17, 1950 - January 9, 1996) was an American Democratic politician, who represented Oklahoma's 2nd Congressional district in Congress for eight terms. He was first elected in 1978 at the age of 28. He may be best known for his successful constitutional challenge to the Graham-Rudman Act. In the 1986 US Supreme Court decision Bowsher vs Synar, the Court struck down the law stating, in part, that the provision granting executive power to Bowsher, a legislative branch officer, did "violate the Constitution's command that Congress play no direct role in the execution of the laws." Synar was also an ardent foe of the tobacco industry.
In 1994, Synar was narrowly defeated in a Democratic primary run-off election by Virgil Cooper, a retired high-school principal. Though Cooper's campaign spent less than $20,000 itself, millions were spent by outside interests which were opposed to Synar, including the National Rifle Association, tobacco companies, and cattlemen.
Cooper won by just 2,609 votes out of 92,987 cast, a 51-49 margin. Cooper was subsequently defeated in the general election by Republican Tom Coburn by a 52-48 margin.
Synar died of a brain tumor on January 9th, 1996 at the age of 45. The American College of Physicians offers a national public service award in honor of Rep. Synar's public efforts against tobacco smoking.