Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, whose bid for the U.S. Senate has already been criticized by national conservative groups, took a hit Tuesday morning from Oklahoma tea party groups. In a news release, the groups cited some of the same votes as the Senate Conservatives Fund _ raising the debt ceiling and a vote to protect the National Security Administration’s program of collecting mass phone records.
At least one of the groups quoted in the press release, the Tulsa 9.12 Project, helped Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, in his upset victory in 2012 of then-Rep. John Sullivan, a Tulsa Republican.
Bridenstine is considering running against Lankford for the final two years of Sen. Tom Coburn’s term.
Meanwhile, the political action committee for the Koch Companies made clear that no decision has been made about an endorsement in the U.S. Senate race.
Here is the news release from the Oklahoma tea party groups:
In response to Rep. Lankford’s recent statement that the criticism of his votes are only coming from Washington D.C., local Tea Party and conservative group leaders in Oklahoma have responded with their own stinging criticism of Lankford.
“While he may have only been in Washington D.C. for a few years, Lankford has sure learned to do the ‘D.C. two-step’ pretty well,” said Matthew Vermillion, President of OKforTEA and Oklahoma State Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots. “Rather than answer for his liberal record, he tries to deflect the criticism by saying only people in Washington have a problem with his record. Nothing can be further from the truth.”
Vermillion then spoke about Lankford’s repeated votes to increase the federal debt limit: “Lankford is slowly bankrupting our country rather than making the tough fiscal decisions to bring our financial house in order.”
Ronda Vuillemont-Smith of the Tulsa 9.12 Project addressed Lankford’s support for amnesty for illegal immigrants: “I have been receiving calls across the state from Oklahomans who are worried about Lankford’s voting record, including his support for amnesty for illegal aliens. So yes, I think the concern for Lankford’s liberal record isn’t just isolated in Washington.”
David Tackett of Oklahomans for Liberty commented on Lankford’s support for the NSA bulk collection of phone records: “Lankford’s vote for a NSA program that clearly violates our 4th Amendment rights shows that the Congressman is out of touch with the people of Oklahoma.”
Tackett continued, “Lankford’s liberal votes shows us that he is not the person to carry the conservative mantle long held by Dr. Coburn.”