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June 24, 2014

Inhofe, Lankford win GOP primaries for US Senate


A two-term congressman avoided a Republican primary runoff for Oklahoma’s open U.S. Senate seat, while U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe easily won the GOP nomination Tuesday in his bid to keep the state’s other seat for a fourth term.
This year’s election is the first time in modern history that both of Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot at the same time. Besides the full six-year term for Inhofe’s post, the state’s other Senate seat became open when U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn announced in January that he was foregoing his final two years in office after a recurrence of cancer.
Two-term U.S. Rep. James Lankford was able to get the more than 50 percent of the vote necessary to win the GOP nomination for Coburn’s seat. He emerged from a seven-candidate field that included former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
Inhofe had a far easier time winning his nomination.
“A lot of folks may disagree with things I’ve done or said, but they know where I stand,” Inhofe said in a telephone interview from Washington, D.C. “If you look at who’s in trouble, it’s politicians who change their mind every time the wind blows.”
Gov. Mary Fallin also won the GOP nomination in the race for governor, outpacing two pro-marijuana Republican challengers.
The 46-year-old Lankford, the longtime director of one of the nation’s largest Christian youth camps, and Shannon, 36, who last year became both the youngest and the first African-American speaker of the House, emerged quickly as front runners in the race. Both far outpaced their opponents in fundraising, with Lankford reporting total contributions of about $2.1 million, while Shannon reported raising about $1.4 million.
Both candidates also enjoyed support from “dark money” groups that aren’t required to list their donors. Much of that support came in the form of attack ads that drew a swift rebuke from Coburn, a political maverick who remains wildly popular in Oklahoma.

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