WASHINGTON — Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday called a special election to fill Sen. Tom Coburn's seat and set the dates to coincide with already scheduled elections.
Coburn, R-Muskogee, announced late Thursday that he would retire at the end of the congressional session, leaving two years on his current term.
All of the dates for the special election are the same as those for the regular elections. The primary will be June 24; potential runoff elections would be Aug. 26; and the general election will occur Nov. 4.
The situation is similar to that in 1994, when former U.S. Sen. David Boren announced his resignation so he could take over the presidency at the University of Oklahoma.
That year, the special election dates also coincided with the regularly scheduled elections. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, won the last two years of Boren's term. Boren stepped down immediately after the election, giving Inhofe a leg up on all-important seniority in the Senate.
Coburn plans to stay until the session ends and his successor is sworn in with the rest of the new members.
Members of Congress and statewide elected officials who are looking at running for Coburn's seat would have to give up the offices they now hold.
That means some major risk assessment for those who could easily be re-elected to their current offices.
The filing period is in early April, but, realistically, candidates will have to decide long before then whether they're going to make the race.
Among those likely to consider the race are U.S. Reps. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa; Tom Cole, R-Moore; and James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City.