Oklahoma Republican James Lankford, a second term congressman seeking the state's open Senate seat, chose his words carefully in a recent interview when discussing his top opponent, former state Speaker T.W. Shannon.
“I keep Reagan’s 11th Commandment that I don’t run down other Republicans,” Lankford told CQ Roll Call.
That's true in both interviews and in his paid media strategy, as Lankford noted he plans to not run any negative ads in advance of the June 24 primary.
GOP Sen. Tom Coburn is resigning at the end of this Congress. Lankford and Shannon lead a handful of Republicans vying to fill the remaining two years of his term. If no one takes a majority of the primary vote, the top two will advance to an Aug. 26 runoff.
In the wide-ranging interview, Lankford discussed the "celebrity mindset" in politics, term limits for members of Congress — something Coburn also supports — and even addressed "the big dirty secret” of his campaign: Lankford attended the University of Texas, which is the athletic arch-rival of the Oklahoma Sooners.
“It’s so funny to me the number of Oklahomans that would say, ‘I wish you’d just done drugs like everybody else, and then that would be so much easier to swallow,’” Lankford said jokingly.
The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rates this race Safe Republican.
The candidate’s team: Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group (polling); John Brabender of Brabender Cox (media).
Previous candidate interviews:
Arizona's 7th District: Democrat Ruben Gallego
Senate in Alaska: Republican Dan Sullivan
New Hampshire’s 2nd District: Republican Marilinda Garcia
Utah’s 4th District: Republican Bob Fuehr
Massachusetts’ 6th District: Democrat Seth Moulton
New York’s 1st District: Republican Lee Zeldin
Senate in Kansas: Republican Milton Wolf
West Virginia’s 2nd: Republican Alex Mooney
Georgia’s 1st District: Republican Bob Johnson
Georgia’s 10th District: Republican Mike Collins
Senate in Minnesota: Republican Julianne Ortman
Georgia’s 10th District: Republican Donna Sheldon
California’s 25th District: Democrat Lee Rogers
Michigan’s 7th District: Democrat Pam Byrnes
Nevada’s 3rd District: Democrat Erin Bilbray
Illinois’ 13th District: Democrat Ann Callis
Ohio’s 6th District: Democrat Jennifer Garrison
Michigan’s 1st District: Democrat Jerry Cannon
Montana’s At-Large District: Democrat John Lewis
New York’s 23rd District: Democrat Martha Robertson
Senate in North Carolina: Republican Thom Tillis
Senate in Alaska: Republican Mead Treadwell
Senate in South Carolina: Republican Lee Bright
Senate in Iowa: Republican David Young
Senate in Kentucky: Republican Matt Bevin
Illinois’ 12th District: Republican Mike Bost
Idaho’s 2nd District: Republican Bryan Smith
Michigan’s 14th District: Democrat Rudy Hobbs
California’s 45th District: Republican Mimi Walters
Senate in Iowa: Republican Matt Whitaker
Senate in Nebraska: Republican Shane Osborn
Minnesota’s 6th District: Republican Tom Emmer
Minnesota’s 6th District: Democrat Jim Graves
Florida’s 2nd District: Democrat Gwen Graham
Pennsylvania’s 13th District: Democrat Daylin Leach
Maine’s 2nd District: Democrat Emily Cain