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U.S. Rep. James Lankford confirms candidacy for U.S. Senate

Oklahoma U.S. Rep. James Lankford made it official Monday. He's a candidate for the U.S. Senate.
by Randy Ellis Modified: January 20, 2014 at 6:43 pm •  Published: January 21, 2014

/articleid/3925688/1/pictures/2324173">Photo - Oklahoma U.S. Rep. James Lankford announces his run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, during a press conference at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City on Monday.  Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman <strong>PAUL HELLSTERN</strong>
Oklahoma U.S. Rep. James Lankford announces his run for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, during a press conference at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City on Monday. Photo by Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman PAUL HELLSTERN

“I'll leave Senator Coburn's decisions up to Senator Coburn of what he wants to do,” Lankford said.

John Hart, Coburn's spokesman, said, “It isn't likely Dr. Coburn will formally endorse anyone, but may support a candidate in his capacity as a citizen.”

Lankford said he decided to run for the Senate rather than seeking re-election to the House of Representatives because senators have additional “fire power” that can enable them to accomplish more things.

“I have three research staff in the House,” Lankford said. “In the Senate, they have a much larger research staff.”

That puts senators in a better position to develop solutions to the nation's problems, he said.

Lankford is running as a conservative, but he already is receiving some conservative opposition.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, an influential Political Action Committee based in the Washington area, came out against Lankford on Monday, saying it wouldn't support him because of Lankford's “past votes to increase the debt limit, raise taxes and fund Obamacare.”

Lankford downplayed the significance of the opposition.

“I think every person can decide. If a Washington, D.C.-based group wants to make a decision on what they want to do, obviously they're welcome to be able to do that,” Lankford said.

Lankford touted his accomplishments as a congressman, saying he:

Authored the Taxpayer Right to Know Act to force federal programs to identify their real costs.

Worked three years in a row to cut government spending as a member of the House Budget Committee.

Won a change in House rules to stop duplicate programs before they start.

Won more state control over highway construction.

Held numerous hearings and investigations to stop fraud waste.

Contributing: Washington Bureau Staff Writer Chris Casteel

by Randy Ellis
Investigative Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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