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Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn 'sickened' by negative ads in race to replace him

Coburn says outside groups distorting record of Republican Rep. James Lankford; Rep. T.W. Shannon says he has stuck to Lankford’s votes on raising debt ceiling.
by Chris Casteel Modified: June 12, 2014 at 8:24 pm •  Published: June 13, 2014

photo - James Lankford, left, and Sen. Tom Coburn talk at the Marriott in Oklahoma City. Photo by John Clanton, The Oklahoman
James Lankford, left, and Sen. Tom Coburn talk at the Marriott in Oklahoma City. Photo by John Clanton, The Oklahoman

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said Thursday he was “sickened” and “disturbed” by negative ads being aired against U.S. Rep. James Lankford, the Oklahoma City Republican who is running to replace Coburn.

In an interview, Coburn, R-Muskogee, said the ads being run by outside groups on behalf of state Rep. T.W. Shannon are “absolutely untruthful” and “deceitful.”


>>Read: Chris Casteel's blog post on Coburn's statements

Coburn has not endorsed Lankford in the race and said Thursday he was not doing so in defending him against claims in the ads.

However, he called Lankford “a great man of character” who has worked diligently in the U.S. House to conduct oversight of government programs and activities.

“I am sickened that the only way someone can win a race is to run negative ads against them,” Coburn said.

A candidate who wins only by disparaging his opponent would begin his term with “a trust deficit” among the people who didn’t support him, Coburn said.

Coburn is retiring after the current congressional session; Shannon, of Lawton, and Lankford are among seven Republican candidates vying for the GOP nomination.

Coburn’s comments came as a group called the Senate Conservatives Fund began airing an ad accusing Lankford of voting for wasteful spending, higher taxes and more debt.

A group called Oklahomans for a Conservative Future has spent more than $1 million on behalf of Shannon; the group, which does not disclose its donors, recently financed ads showing Lankford with President Barack Obama and saying he had voted for an “Obama budget.”

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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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