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Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's pending retirement leads to two major federal races

Politically ambitious jump at the chance to run for an open U.S. Senate seat and the U.S. House seat being vacated by incumbent Rep. James Lankford.
by Chris Casteel Published: April 6, 2014

“Oklahomans generally don’t like being told who to vote for, particularly by politicians and interest groups outside the state,” Hart said.

Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, of Owasso, is also planning to run for Coburn’s seat. Brogdon won Tulsa County in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary, but he could have serious trouble matching the money Lankford and Shannon will have. Several newcomers also have said they’d seek the Republican nomination.

State Sen. Connie Johnson, a Democrat from the Oklahoma County town of Forest Park, may file for Coburn’s seat.

Congressional seats

Douglas, of Edmond, is one of a few prominent politicians seeking to replace Lankford in the House. State Sen. Clark Jolley, of Edmond; former state Sen. Steve Russell, of Oklahoma City; former state Rep. Shane Jett, of Tecumseh; and state Rep. Mike Turner, of Oklahoma City, have announced on the Republican side. Former congressional staffer Harvey Sparks, of Oklahoma City, also has said he’ll run.

Lankford was a Baptist youth camp director when he first won the seat in 2010 by defeating sitting and former state lawmakers.

On the Democratic side, state Sen. Al McAffrey, of Oklahoma City, has said he plans to run; Tom Guild, a retired college professor from Edmond who has run in the last two elections for the seat, has been raising money for a third try. Marilyn Rainwater, of Seminole, and Keith Davenport, of the Pottawatomie town of Brooksville, have filed federal candidacy papers in the race.

The 5th District includes most of Oklahoma County and Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

Challengers are expected for most of the state’s incumbents in the House.

Freshman Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, is expected to get a GOP primary race from businessman and professional fisherman Darrel Robertson, of Jay.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, the longest serving House member from Oklahoma and the chairman of the Agriculture Committee, has drawn opposition from rancher and business owner Robert Hubbard, of Yukon.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, has drawn a Democratic challenge from Tae Si, a software engineer from Norman.

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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Oklahomans generally don’t like being told who to vote for, particularly by politicians and interest groups outside the state.”

John Hart

Spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn


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