Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford Announces Run For US Senate Seat

Monday, January 20th 2014, 7:42 am
By: News On 6

Republican U.S. Representative James Lankford said he'll run for the U.S. Senate seat left open by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's resignation.

The fifth district congressman made the announcement during an event at Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City Monday afternoon.

Last week, Coburn said he will vacate his seat at the end of the year.

1/16/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn To Resign After Current Session

Lankford, a director of the Falls Creek Youth Camp from 1996 to 2009 was a political unknown when he emerged from a crowded Republican primary field in 2010 to win the U.S. House seat.

He won re-election in 2012 and was the only member of Oklahoma's House delegation to not face a GOP primary opponent that year.

Meanwhile, Republican Fourth District Congressman Tom Cole and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt are taking their names out of contention as a possible successor to Senator Tom Coburn.

1/18/2013 Related Story: Coburn's Departure Likely To Trigger GOP Dominoes

Both Cole and Pruitt released statements late Sunday saying they would not seek the open seat in 2014, and instead plan to run for re-election to their current posts.

"I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014," Congressman Tom Cole said.

"My role as a Deputy Whip in the Republican Conference makes me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator."

Attorney General Scott Pruitt said he wants to continue fighting to restore "proper balance" between the federal and state government.

"Oklahomans elected me Attorney General to fight to restore the proper balance between the federal and state government, and I have. From the very first day I held elected office, I had one vision in mind: to fight for the principles and ideals of our nation's founding," said AG Scott Pruitt.

"Perhaps there will be a day in the future when the need for my service and leadership shifts elsewhere. Then, it will be time to alter my focus but that time is not now."

Other Republicans expected to consider running are First District Congressman Jim Bridenstine, and Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.