An Evolving Landscape in the Oklahoma Senate Race

UPDATE – CORRECTION: This report initially stated that the House Conservatives Fund made negative statements about Rep. Lankford, which was incorrect; it was the Senate Conservatives Fund. The information below has been updated and corrected.

The race to replace Sen. Tom Coburn (R), who is resigning his seat two years before his term ends, thus necessitating a 2014 special election, is a fast-starting campaign.

Two days ago, sophomore Rep. James Lankford (R-OK-5) announced his statewide candidacy. Yesterday, the Senate Conservatives Fund made negative statements about the congressman regarding his votes on the budget, the debt ceiling, and pertaining to funding the Affordable Care Act.

The SCF’s statements might be a signal that freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK-1), a Tea Party favorite, will enter the campaign. The Tulsa congressman confirms he is considering doing so.

In other related developments, Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R) filed a Senate exploratory committee. Former US Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK-4), in the state to attend his Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony (Watts quarterbacked the University of Oklahoma football team from 1977-80), confirmed that he is “thinking” about running for the Senate.

For the Democrats, former Gov. Brad Henry and ex-Attorney General Drew Edmondson continue to maintain a public silence about the race. On the other hand, former state senator and lieutenant governor candidate Kenneth Corn (D) says he is considering declaring his candidacy, while former lieutenant governor and 2010 gubernatorial nominee Jari Askins (D) and former US Rep. Dan Boren (D-OK-2) both have declined to run.

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