Inhofe Announces Resignation: What Happens Next?

Friday, February 25th 2022, 9:55 pm

A big question after long-time Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe announced his resignation is who will replace him, and how it will be done. Inhofe's resignation ensures this will be a historic election cycle.

Experts say Oklahoma voters have a particularly important task this summer with a chance to pick not one, but two senators. The expected January 3 retirement means voters will choose who fills Inhofe's seat in the November general election.

Tulsa Community College Political Science Assistant Professor Knox Brown said there's a lot more to it than that.

“That he would in fact finish out this year, that was interesting," he said. "Instead of an earlier arrangement where the governor would appoint a successor. That was a noteworthy plot twist.”

With the choice in the hands of voters, all eyes will be on the primary election this summer - where a flood of republican and democrat candidates will be narrowed down to just one nomination from each party.

"The first stage and perhaps the most important stage, is the primary because in a lopsided republican state like Oklahoma, the winner of the republican primary is very likely to be your next junior senator in Oklahoma," Brown said.

Inhofe has already announced who he'd like to fill his shoes - his Chief of Staff Luke Holland. Politico points to former U.S. Attorney Trent Shores, Representatives Markwayne Mullin, and Kevin Hern as likely contenders.

“There’s going to be a flood of very talented, very ambitions and very serious candidates," Brown said. “Oklahoma voters have a serious responsibility and a lot to think about.”

Primary elections are coming up in June.