Updated 9:54 p.m. | Rep. James Lankford has won the Oklahoma primary, and now the Republican is likely headed to the Senate.
The Oklahoman defeated former state Speaker T.W. Shannon and several lesser-known candidates to win the Republican nomination Tuesday. In the strongly conservative state of Oklahoma, Lankford is all but certain to become the next senator after November.
Lankford is on track to succeed Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is stepping down at the end of this Congress. The congressman had the momentum — and the money — heading into Tuesday’s primary. But he also had some built in advantages from the start: His congressional district covers Oklahoma City, the state’s largest media market and a Republican stronghold, and he has a strong network of supporters from running the country’s largest Christian youth camp before he was elected to Congress.
He easily avoided a runoff, leading with 55 percent of the vote to Shannon's 36 percent when The Associated Press called the race an hour and a half after polls closed Tuesday night. His win defied the expectations of political observers, and the recent polling , which as of three days before the primary, showed Lankford 7 points shy of the 50 percent necessary to win the race outright.
The race is rated Safe Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Oklahoma's 5th District The GOP primary to replace Lankford in the 5th District will proceed to an Aug. 26 runoff, after none of the six candidates reached the 50 percent threshold to win the nomination outright.
On Tuesday, former state Sen. Steve Russell and State Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas took the first- and second-place spots, respectively, to advance in this heavily Republican district, located in and around Oklahoma City.
Russell garnered 27 percent to Douglas' 24 percent, with 65 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP.
Oklahoma’s 5th District is rated a Safe Republican contest by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried the district with 59 percent in 2012.