Politics

Lankford Seeks Senate as Cole Declines in Oklahoma

Lankford is reportedly running for Senate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 9:57 p.m. | Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., intends to run for GOP Sen. Tom Coburn's seat and could make a formal announcement as early as Monday, according to NewsOK.

Meanwhile, six-term Republican Rep. Tom Cole announced Sunday that he would pass on running for the seat.

“I am very flattered to be among those mentioned, as any Oklahoma Republican would be honored to succeed someone as distinguished as Tom Coburn," Cole said in a news release. “After considerable thought, however, I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014."

Cole cited his seniority, role as a Republican deputy whip and committee assignments as his reasons for not running. These roles "make me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator," he said.

Coburn, who is battling cancer, announced last week that he will exit the Senate two years before the end of his second term. The special election will take place concurrent with the 2014 midterm elections, with a primary on June 24.

Sooner State political up-and-comers

Lankford declined to comment in the NewsOK report.

Prior to the report, Lankford was widely seen on Capitol Hill as a consequential force within the GOP conference and was one of Roll Call's "10 Republicans Who Could Be Speaker" in 2013.

Daniel Newhauser contributed to this report.