WASHINGTON — Former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating downplayed his interest Friday in the state's open U.S. Senate seat, while sources said House Speaker T.W. Shannon was moving toward entering the race next week.
Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, who has also been considering the race, continues to say that he's in no hurry to make a decision. In an interview with radio talk show host Laura Ingraham this week, Bridenstine suggested that Rep. James Lankford, the Oklahoma City Republican who is running for Senate, had become part of the problem in Washington.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, announced just over a week ago that he would leave the Senate at the end of the congressional session, leaving two years on his term.
Coburn's decision has set off chain reactions throughout Oklahoma politics, particularly relating to Lankford's seat. Some reactions may be premature.
Even before Shannon, R-Lawton, enters the race, some state House members are trying to line up support to be the next speaker, according to an Associated Press report.
However, a source close to Shannon said Friday the speaker has made no plans to give up his post if he enters the Senate race.
Several sources said Shannon is planning to announce as a candidate for the Senate by the middle of next week, though they cautioned that the speaker could still change his mind.
Politico reported Thursday that Keating, now the president and CEO of the American Bankers Association in Washington, was mulling the race.
But in an interview Friday, Keating said he wasn't leaning toward a run.
Noting that he turns 70 next month, Keating said, “I don't need, nor do I want a new career.”
Keating said he was more interested in the work he does for nonprofit organizations. He praised Shannon and Lankford and said he would likely make a statement next week on the race.
Continue reading this story on the...