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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Just days after Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) announced that he would retire at the end of the year, the battle lines are already being drawn in the race to replace him in the U.S. Senate.

On Monday afternoon, U.S. Representative James Lankford (R-OK) announced that he will be a candidate in the June 24 Republican primary (the general election will take place on November 4).

“After a great deal of thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I feel led to continue my Oklahoma common-sense and principled approach to attack the deep problems in the United States Senate,” Lankford said in a statement released by his campaign.

“I am willing to wage a hard-fought campaign for the opportunity to continue Dr. Coburn’s conservative legacy,” he added.

Lankford, who served as program director of the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center before successfully winning election to the House in the Republican wave of 2010, is currently the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, making him the fifth-ranking member of the GOP majority. His strong support from party leadership, along with his solid fundraising — Lankford’s campaign committee has $454,738 in cash on hand — make him a strong contender in the special election to replace the infamously conservative Coburn.

Lankford’s leadership position may leave him vulnerable in the Republican primary, however. Despite his reliably Republican voting record, Lankford’s alignment with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his tepid support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — along with votes to fund the government without defunding the Affordable Care Act — have left some on the right uneasy about his candidacy.

Before Lankford even announced his intention to run, the Senate Conservatives Fund — an influential political action committee founded by former senator Jim DeMint, and financially backed by heavy-hitting Republican fundraisers such as Koch Industries and Foster Friess — had already declared that the congressman is too moderate to garner their support.

“We won’t support Congressman Lankford’s bid for the Senate because of his past votes to increase the debt limit, raise taxes, and fund Obamacare,” Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins said in a statement. “We have reviewed his record and it’s clear that conservatives cannot count on him to fight for their principles.”

Similarly, the Madison Project — a right-wing group that has gained notoriety in 2014 by attacking Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and backing his primary challenger, Matt Bevin — immediately released a statement criticizing Lankford as insufficiently conservative.

Although Madison Project policy director Daniel Horowitz did acknowledge that “Lankford is not a purely liberal Republican and an anathema to Oklahoma,” he still warned that “Rep. Lankford is a quintessential status quo Republican.”

“There is no way someone like Lankford will change the country club culture of Senate Republicans; we will be changed by them,” Horowitz writes. “Sending another mediocre Republican to the meat grinder would be a waste of one of the most conservative seats.”

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  • Sand_Cat

    Smearing James Madison by associating his name with a group of these wackos is obscene. Or is it even James Madison they’re talking about?

    • daniel bostdorf

      The GOP drapes themselves in icons and bogus slogans all in te name of thinking they are credible.

      James Madison (1751-1836) was a founding father of the United States and the fourth American president, serving in office from 1809 to 1817. An advocate for a strong federal government, the Virginia-born Madison composed the first drafts of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights and earned the nickname “Father of the Constitution.” In 1792, Madison and Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which has been called America’s first opposition political party. When Jefferson became the third U.S. president, Madison served as his secretary of state. In this role, he oversaw the Louisiana Purchase from the French in 1803. During his presidency, Madison led the U.S. into the controversial War of 1812 (1812-15) against Great Britain. After two terms in the White House, Madison retired to his Virginia plantation, Montpelier, with his wife Dolley (1768-1849).

      • Independent1

        Certainly not a Republican of today; especially if you consider how he poked fun at those at the Constitutional Convention who were absolutely paranoid about the federal government establishing a standing army. They were certain that if the federal government esablished a standing army it was only time before the feds we try to take total control of the country; usurping powers from the states (I believe Jefferson was among that group). And many of today’s gun loving Republicans/NRA lovers, often bring up how they need their guns to ensure against federal government oppression.

        Madison poked fun at these paranoids in the last chapter of his Federalist #46 paper. Here are the last two paragraphs:

        The argument under the present head may be put into a
        very concise form, which appears altogether conclusive.
        Either the mode in which the federal government is to be constructed will render it sufficiently dependent on the people, or it will not. On the first supposition, it will be restrained by that dependence from forming schemes obnoxious to
        their constituents. On the other supposition, it will not possess the confidence of the people, and its schemes of usurpation will be easily defeated by the State governments, who will be supported by the people.

        On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary
        to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    Translation – because Congressman Lankford supported the United States government by ensuring it could continue to operate, he is NOT Conservative enough to run for the Senate. Thank you FORMER Senator DeMint for showing how truly divorced from reality you have become. Now that you have entered the Sarah Palin realm of irrelevancy, you must continue to make your stridency known so the vast minority of the Country that agrees with you will be aware that you are still alive. This looks like a job for Karl Rove!

  • Allan Richardson

    Time for a 50 state strategy. There needs to be a good progressive Democrat in every contested race, waiting to take on the Tea Party winner of their primary. EVEN RACES A DEMOCRAT CANNOT WIN should be contested, in order to frame the ISSUES and move the debate in these states and districts. Since news media outlets report on one another’s reports, this will put progressive ideas in the air, rather than allowing the entire voting population of red states to be exposed ONLY to the conservative “bubble” of half-truths and lies. And in the general election, it would provoke the GOP candidates to make even MORE outrageous statements, which MAY cross the threshold of insanity far enough that even Republican voters, if not in those states, then in states with less extreme voters who “overhear” them, will realize they have been duped. When Democrats “leave alone” the conservative states, even moderate voters vote for extremists, because they are unopposed, both in the voting itself, and in the exchange of ideas. Fight the Tealiban!

    • daniel bostdorf

      VERY well stated!

  • Budjob

    Oklahoma?!! In that state you could be elected to any office as long as you had an R behind your name.That state is so screwed up your last name could be Hitler and you would be elected!

  • howa4x

    I guess DeMint hasn’t looked in the archives of the Heritage foundation because if he did he would find the architecture of the ACA, since it was envisioned by them. Lankford while conservative has realized that the country has problems that need to be solved. This is what makes him a moderate in the current GOP. He thinks and is willing to talk to the other side on occasion. What the Koch’s want is government paralysis that would infect agencies like the EPA so they would be afraid of taking on the petro chemical industry. Coburn was a true conservative in the old time sense, in as much as he worked to rid the budget of waste. He was the one that uncovered the massive SS disability fraud in Kentucky/W.Va. His resistance to the ACA is one that most doctors have. They feel it is too much govt control that will lead to lower reimbursements eventually and the creation of national practice standards. Considering Coburn never voted with Obama this is not a loss. What it does show is that the GOP is moving away from the center where most of America votes. They will end up a party of the House only. As for Ok residents, arch conservatives like Paul want to get rid of FEMA . If I lived in tornado alley I would seriously think about that

  • latebloomingrandma

    Oklahoma—the state that keeps sending James Inhofe back to the Senate. He is known as the stupidest person in the Senate. But the big oil guys love him. That’s all that’s important.