Three Oklahoma Republicans quickly announced their intentions to run for U.S. Congress following U.S. Rep. James Lankford's announcement Monday that he will run for the Senate.
Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, former state Sen. Steve Russell and former state Rep. Shane Jett all announced they will seek the 5th District congressional seat that Lankford will be leaving.
Democrat Tom Guild, who was defeated by Lankford in 2012, previously announced he also will be a candidate.
Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, D-Oklahoma City, and state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, both confirmed to The Oklahoman they are among others considering the race.
The 5th District includes most of Oklahoma County, and Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
Douglas, 51, announced her candidacy at a news conference at Oklahoma Christian University, saying she wants to take “business sense to Washington.”
“As a mom, I want to go and exemplify family values and the values that we have here in Oklahoma,” said Douglas, R-Edmond. “As a former mayor and banker, I want to continue to push back against federal intervention in how the state … governs itself.”
Douglas, an attorney, previously served as mayor of Edmond.
“As a business leader and a banker, I have seen unlimited spending and debt that is just spiraling out of control,” Douglas said. “If I had run my dad's company the way the federal government is running itself right now, I would have been out of business. If I had run my bank the way that we are seeing the country being run, my bank would have been shut down by the same federal government that's spending all the money.”
“I'm committed. Hands on the plow, I'm looking on the horizon,” Russell, R-Oklahoma City, said of his decision to enter the race.
Russell, 50, is a former state senator and U.S. Army war veteran. He helped track down and capture Saddam Hussein, and wrote a book about it called “We Got Him!: A Memoir of the Hunt and Capture of Saddam Hussein.”
“Our country's in peril. I don't want to look back on my life and say, ‘Was there something I could have done to help our country?'” he said. “I think we have to bring a wake-up call to Americans.
“The No. 1 threat to our national security right now is our debt,” he said.
Russell said he thinks he can provide the leadership that is needed.
“I can certainly bring disparate groups and people of opposition together,” he said. “I've done it in wars where the stakes were much higher.”
Former state Rep. Shane Jett, R-Tecumseh, told The Associated Press on Monday he will enter the race.
“We are in,” Jett was quoted as saying.
Jett, 39, served three terms in the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2004 to 2010 and left the House to run for Congress. He finished fourth in a seven-way Republican race.
Guild, who announced his candidacy for the 5th District seat several months ago, issued a news release Tuesday stating he would offer voters a “clear alternative.”
“You can be assured that whoever wins the Republican primary and runoff will do so by trying to be the most subservient to the Republican Party's extreme, right-wing tea-party elements,” Guild said.
“We need to protect Social Security and expand benefits, preserve Medicare and secure adequate funding to strengthen the program, support public education, including Pell Grants and Stafford Loans for college students, and make government work for all people by helping those who need a hand up (in) making their American dream come true.”
He pledged to not be an obstructionist.
“I promise not to shut down the government or engage in reckless behavior that keeps our government from assisting the American people,” Guild said. “The government needs to work to solve the problems of the American people, not to make their lives more difficult.”
The 5th District candidates are seeking to fill the opening created when Rep. Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, decided to run for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's Senate seat rather than seek re-election.
Before Lankford first won the seat in 2010, it was held by now-Gov. Mary Fallin. She was the second woman from Oklahoma to hold a seat in Congress.
Coburn touched off a political chain reaction last week when he announced he will step down at the end of the current congressional session.
Douglas' announcement continues the chain reaction by creating a Corporation Commission seat with no incumbent candidate. Douglas was appointed to the three-member commission in 2011 to fill the unexpired term of Jeff Cloud. Douglas was elected unopposed in 2012 to complete the six-year term and would have been up for re-election this year.
Filing for the seat begins April 9. The primary is June 24 and runoff primaries, if necessary, will be held Aug. 26. The general election is Nov. 4.