WASHINGTON — Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon plans to enter the Republican race for U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's seat on Wednesday, and will make separate announcements in Tulsa, Oklahoma City and his hometown of Lawton.
Shannon's entry in the race means a matchup of two of the state's rising political stars in a contest to succeed a conservative icon.
Shannon, 35, first won his House seat in 2006 and rose to the top job after three terms. Shannon, who is black, is also a member of the Chickasaw Nation.
He has been courted by the national Republican Party and was apparently being groomed for higher office.
Already in the race is Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, a political novice when he won his congressional seat in 2010; Lankford, 45, is now a member of the House Republican leadership team.
Oklahoma City businessman Eric McCray, who works for McCray and Sons Heat and Air, said this week that he also will run for the Republican nomination. U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, has been considering the race but has said he won't rush into a decision.
Two years left
Coburn, R-Muskogee, announced two weeks ago that he would resign at the end of the congressional session with two years left of his term. The election to complete the term will be held at the same time as the regular elections this year.