On Wednesday, Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) cleared the way for other Republican candidates to replace Sen. Tom Coburn by withdrawing his name as a potential candidate for senator in Oklahoma.
Bridenstine, an advocate for military veterans and an op-ed contributor to Breitbart News, has been implored to run for the upcoming open seat by conservatives. “Since Dr. Tom Coburn’s retirement announcement, I have been honored and overwhelmed by encouragement to succeed him as Oklahoma’s senator,” Bridenstine remarked. “After giving this matter serious consideration and prayer, my family and I have decided I will not run in the special election to complete Dr. Coburn’s term.”
Meanwhile, Senate candidate and current Rep. Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) and Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon will be vying for the seat in a state primary in June. It is all but certain that the Senate seat will be won by a Republican in November given that Oklahoma is historically a conservative state. Lankford has drawn some anger from conservative groups by voting as a status quo republican in Congress, including voting for the Ryan-Murray budget deal last year.
Shannon offers more conservative ambitions and claims he represents more traditional American values. The Oklahoma Speaker of the House asserts that he has worked to “show the rest of the country what kind of prosperity could come from conservative policies. The American people are tired, and they want someone who will fight to protect their values.”