Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sets special election to replace Sen. Tom Coburn

The Oklahoma special election will coincide with regular election dates, meaning current officeholders will have to assess the risks of running for the U.S. Senate
by Chris Casteel Published: January 17, 2014
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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt also may be interested, along with Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon; they're both Republicans.

There will be a musical chairs effect if any or some of them run for Coburn's seat.

An Oklahoma Democrat hasn't won a U.S. Senate seat since 1990, and most handicappers have Coburn's seat remaining GOP. That means a very conservative primary electorate likely will be picking the next U.S. senator.

Friday, officials came to praise Coburn rather than succeed him.

Fallin, who is running for re-election for governor this year, said she's not interested in Coburn's seat. She called the senator “one of the most influential voices in American politics today.”

President Barack Obama, who has been friends with Coburn since 2004, when they first were elected to the Senate, said, “Those of us who have had the privilege of serving with Tom Coburn will be sad to lose him as a colleague here in Washington.

“Tom and I entered the Senate at the same time, becoming friends after our wives struck up a conversation at an orientation dinner. And even though we haven't always agreed politically, we've found ways to work together — to make government more transparent, cut down on earmarks, and fight to reduce wasteful spending and make our tax system fairer.

“The people of Oklahoma have been well-served by this ‘country doctor from Muskogee' over the past nine years, and I'm confident that Tom's strength and optimism will carry him through the battles to come. Michelle and I will always be grateful to Tom and Carolyn for their friendship, and we wish them all the best in all the years ahead.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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