Any room for advancement in Oklahoma federal politics hinges on the plans of Coburn.
Lankford’s 5th District would also draw a host of ambitious Republicans, operatives said. State Sen. Clark Jolley would likely eye a bid. Other potential contenders include Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; state Sen. David Holt, previously a staffer to former Speaker Dennis Hastert; and state Rep. Tom Newell, a former professional bull rider.
On the Democratic side, there aren’t nearly the same opportunities. President Barack Obama lost the Sooner State by a 33-point margin in 2012, and all five congressional districts lean solidly Republican.
Operatives said the only Democrat who could make the Senate race competitive is former Rep. Dan Boren, whose last name is synonymous with his party’s politics in Oklahoma. Boren’s father, David Boren, served as governor and later senator before taking the job he currently holds as president of the University of Oklahoma.
But Republicans don’t expect the younger Boren to wage a bid. Soon after his fourth term in the House ended in 2013, the 40-year-old began working for the Chickasaw Nation, a plum job for a retired member of Congress.
“He’s the only [Democrat] who could make it competitive,” one Republican operative said. “And Dan is smart enough not to do it.”
Farm Team is a weekly state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress.