Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oklahoma: Congressman Lankford to seek Senator Coburn's Senate Seat

Rep. James Lankford (R., Okla.) on Monday became the first candidate to jump into the race to serve out the last two years of Republican Sen. Tom Coburn's term. 
Now in his second term in the House, Mr. Lankford was expected to announce his decision Monday afternoon in Oklahoma City to run for the senator's seat. Mr. Coburn, who is battling a recurrence of cancer, said Thursday night that he would leave the Senate when the current session of Congress concludes at the end of the year, two years before his second term ends.
"After a great deal of thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I feel led to continue my Oklahoma common sense and principled approach to attack the deep problems in the United States Senate," Mr. Lankford said in a written statement Monday. "I am willing to wage a hard-fought campaign for the opportunity to continue Dr. Coburn's conservative legacy." 
Formerly the director of the Falls Creek Youth Camp, Mr. Lankford has deep ties to the state's Baptist community that could help him assemble volunteers, said Keith Gaddie, a political-science professor at the University of Oklahoma.
Two potential rivals said Sunday they wouldn't enter the race, including Rep. Tom Cole (R., Okla.), a more senior and centrist Republican lawmaker whom analysts said would have faced a tough field in the primary. 
"My seniority, my membership on three major committees, my position as a subcommittee chairman on the Appropriations Committee and my role as a Deputy Whip in the Republican Conference make me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator," Mr. Cole said in a written statement Sunday night. 
Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt said in a Facebook post Sunday that he wouldn't enter the Senate race, citing a stronger ability to push back against federal encroachment in his current role.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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