Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R) resignation statement last week saying he will leave Washington at the end of 2014 has predictably begun a political chess game. Under Oklahoma election law, a vacant Senate seat is filled by special election and not through gubernatorial appointment. Furthermore, the law allows a sitting office holder to pledge to resign at a future date and hold a replacement special election even though the affected member remains in office. In this situation, Coburn’s timing allows the state to fill the upcoming vacancy in the 2014 regular election.
Yesterday, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) released a two-minute video campaign announcement entering the special Senate election in hopes of filling the remaining two years of Coburn’s unexpired term. While the Oklahoma City congressman firmly jumped into the race, Gov. Mary Fallin (R), Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK-4) all stated in equally unequivocal fashion that they will keep their current positions.
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