James Lankford on 'Big Dirty Secret' of Senate Campaign (Video Interview)

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