It was just three days ago that U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., announced he would resign his seat in the U.S. Senate at the conclusion of the 113th Congress, leaving about two years before the end of his second term.
Now the state has its first candidate in the special election to fill Coburn's seat as U.S. Rep. James Lankford, an Edmond Republican in his second House term, announced Monday (Jan. 20) that he would run to succeed Oklahoma's junior Senator.
Lankford, who has made a name for himself as one of the most conservative members of Congress, said in a campaign announcement video that he wants to bring his values to the Senate.
"This is a very difficult season in the history of our nation. Health care, national debt, slow economic growth, regulations, executive overreach, Presidential scandals, assaults on our Constitution. We can't just complain about the problems. We must put forward conservative solutions."
The former executive director of the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, the state's largest youth camp, Lankford said serving in the House and possible future service in the Senate would be an extension of his work serving the people of Oklahoma.
"Our family served in ministry for 22 years. For the last 13 years of our ministry, I served as the director of our state's largest youth camp — Falls Creek," he said. "Our passion has been to serve the families of Oklahoma and the next generation. Since 2011, we've served Oklahoma families in the U.S. House of Representatives. After many hours of prayer and encouragement from people all over the state, we sense a clear calling to serve every Oklahoman in the United States Senate."
Lankford's announcement comes on the same day that U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Norman, said he would not run for Coburn's soon to be open seat. The same announcement was made by Republicans Todd Lamb, the state's lieutenant governor, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
No other candidates have yet announced for the seat, though reports indicate that former Republican Gov. Frank Keating and Democrat Kenneth Corn, who represented parts of LeFlore and Sequoyah Counties in the state senate from 2002 to 2010, were both considering a run for the seat.
Gov. Mary Fallin, R-Okla., set the special election to coincide with the 2014 election cycle with the primary set for June 24, a runoff (if needed) on Aug. 26, and the general election on Nov. 4.