By Loren Cosby and Jennifer Loren, News On 6
TULSA, Okla. -- The Republican race to take over for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn is taking its first negative turn.
We put a new ad to the Truth Test.
The ad in support of T.W. Shannon is not from his campaign. It's paid for by the group "Oklahomans for a Conservative Future."
It's called a "dark money" group because it doesn't have to reveal its donors.
Here's what we found...
The first claim: "T.W. Shannon is the most conservative speaker in Oklahoma history."
You Decide: Of the 45 house speakers since 1907, only seven have been Republicans with six of those serving since 2005. His campaign cites Shannon as the only house leader able to get workers comp, tort and welfare reform signed into law. He routinely gets high grades from the National Rifle Association, pro-business and other groups considered conservative. Shannon is endorsed by conservative Tea Party favorites Sara Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz.
Next claim: Shannon "cut Oklahoma's debt and our income taxes."
True: Shannon was co-author of a bill cutting the state's top income rate. Gov. Fallin signed it into law. And he kept the state's indebtedness lower by refusing to let most bond proposals make it to a vote.
The ad then takes on Shannon's Congressman opponent: "James Lankford voted with liberals to raise the debt ceiling twice."
Technically True: A majority of Republicans in the U.S. House voted for the 2011 Budget Control Act. It did raise the debt ceiling but also created those, nearly across the board, automatic budget cuts known as sequestration. All five Oklahoma Congressmen voted for it.
The second vote took place last year when Lankford and two other Oklahoma Republican house members voted to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling to avoid a government shutdown.
And one final swipe at the Congressman's conservative credentials: "..Lankford voted for the Obama budget that increased spending by 65 billion and cut military funding."
Technically True: Late last year, Lankford was among majorities of both parties in Congress supporting a bi-partisan budget from Republican Representative Paul Ryan and Senate Democrat Patty Murray. It prevented deeper across the board sequestration cuts to the military, but did cut cost of living raises for some younger military retirees by 1 percent.
In response to the ad, Lankford released a statement saying in part, "...negative attacks come late in the campaign to distort the record and try to confuse voters."
He went on to say misrepresenting the facts is not in the tradition of the Senator they are running to replace.