T.W. Shannon says outside groups should stick to issues, records in U.S. Senate race

Lawton Republican comes out against negative ad’s juxtaposition of President Barack Obama with opponent, U.S. Rep. James Lankford. Lankford says Shannon likely responding to backlash.
by Chris Casteel Published: June 4, 2014
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photo - T. W. Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
T. W. Shannon was elected by his colleagues in the Oklahoma House of Representatives as their Speaker for the upcoming legislative session. Shannon, a Republican from Lawton, is Oklahoma's first black Speaker of the House. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

State Rep. T.W. Shannon said Wednesday that he would prefer outside groups stick to the issues in the U.S. Senate race.

“As we have seen in Senate races across the country, there likely will be many groups weighing in on both sides of this race,” Shannon said in a statement issued by his campaign.

“I hope everyone will agree that keeping the advertising focused on issues and records will best serve the people of Oklahoma as they determine who their next U.S. Senator should be.”

Shannon’s statement came a day after The Oklahoman reported that a dark money group supporting Shannon in the U.S. Senate race spent nearly $246,000 to produce and air a television ad attacking three budget-related votes by U.S. Rep. James Lankford.

Dark money groups are groups that don’t reveal their donors.

Lankford, of Oklahoma City, and Shannon, of Lawton, are the front runners for the Republican nomination in the contest to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

The group backing Shannon, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, has now spent nearly $900,000 supporting Shannon. Until the new ad, its messages were positive.

The latest one ties Lankford to Obama, showing side-by-side pictures of the two and saying the congressman voted for an Obama budget. The majority of House Republicans — and the majority of Oklahoma’s all-Republican House delegation — voted the same way as Lankford on the issues cited by the ad.

Shannon said, “My desire is for third party groups to keep their advertising focused on issues, not personal attacks and innuendo.

“There are real differences between Congressman Lankford and myself when it comes to our record on debt and spending, and I welcome that discussion. But I believe that discussion should remain focused on our record, and free of images showing my opponent with President Obama. I have said this before, but it bears repeating in this instance: as brothers in Christ, Congressman Lankford and I are competitors, not enemies.”

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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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