Lankford says he wants Coburn’s Senate seat

“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,” he said during a press
conference Thursday at the Oklahoma History Center.

Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has held the Senate
seat since 2004, replacing longtime Sen. Don Nickles. While in the
Senate, Coburn developed a reputation as a no-nonsense, frugal
politician who always searched for ways to eliminate wasteful

Coburn, a physician, announced he would
retire at the end of the current congressional session, which will be
early 2015. His current Senate term would have expired in January

Coburn (R-Oklahoma) made his decision
public after dealing with a recurrence of prostate cancer and a
seemingly endless bi-partisan battle in Congress.

But already, Lankford has his
detractors including the Senate Conservatives Fund, which announced
it will not support him because of his votes to increase the debt
limit, raise taxes and fund Obamacare.

Another political group, Club for
Growth, isn’t jumping on the Lankford bandwagon, either. The
organization announced Lankford has a 78 percent voting record in
connection with its issues while Coburn’s scorecard is at 96
percent. Club for Growth promotes pro-growth policies including
limited government, low taxes and economic freedom, according to its
Web site.

Lankford and
other candidates will file for the Senate seat April 9-11. Primary
elections are June 24 with a runoff set for Aug. 26, if needed. The
general election is Nov. 4.

Those other candidates might include
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, who defeated longtime incumbent John Sullivan
in 2012, and possibly Oklahoma’s Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon
(R-Lawton). However, neither Bridenstine nor Shannon have made any
public announcements.

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore) and
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt both said they won’t seek
Coburn’s seat.

Lankford, elected to the 5th
congressional district in 2010 and again in 2012, operated a Baptist
youth camp prior to his entry into politics. Lankford’s entry into
the Senate race will leave the 5th District searching for a new
representative during this year’s election cycle.

During his two terms in the House,
Lankford has never shied away from conservative social causes,
including a recent federal judge’s ruling that Oklahoma’s ban on
same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. Lankford argued after the
ruling was announced that the judge had ignored Oklahoma voters who
in 2004 approved the constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

“This is why the American people are
so frustrated with government and government officials; the people
speak clearly but elected officials and judges ignore them,” he
said at the time.

Prior to his Senate election in 2004,
Coburn served in the U.S. House for three terms beginning in 1994.
Pledging to serve only three terms in the House, Coburn left Congress
after the 2000 elections.

After Nickles retired, Coburn won the
Senate race while making a commitment to serve just two six-year

Tim Farley

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