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Tags: james inhofe | oklahoma | luke holland | kevin stitt | markwayne mullin
CORRESPONDENT

What Happens When Oklahoma's Sen. Inhofe Quits?

James Inhofe speaks during a news conference
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

John Gizzi By Friday, 25 February 2022 08:03 AM EST Current | Bio | Archive

​Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., were jolted late Thursday afternoon by the news that Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma's longest-serving (28 years) U.S. senator and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, would announce his resignation the following day.

While licensed pilot Inhofe told Newsmax after his landslide reelection in 2020 that he would serve until "the day I can't fly an airplane upside down," other circumstances such as the poor health of wife Kay convinced him it was time to go home.

In declaring he was resigning, Inhofe, 87, triggers the nomination and election process of a successor this election year without the additional cost to the taxpayer that a special election in an off-year would incur.

Within hours of the word of Inhofe's exodus, sources close to the senator told Newsmax he would almost certainly give his blessings to his longtime top aide and closest confidante Luke Holland for the Republican nomination in the primary June 28.

But as beloved as Inhofe is among fellow conservative Republicans throughout the Sooner State, his endorsement of Holland was by no means a guarantee of a primary victory.

Calls were being made to contributors and party leaders Thursday night by no less than three prominent GOP office-holders: Gov. Kevin Stitt (previously thought to be a cinch for reelection this year) and Reps. Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin. All three sport strongly conservative records in office and, as one state party official put it, "they disagree only on who should be U.S. Senator."

Stitt could be counted on to raise considerable funding for a primary through his statewide organization. Hern, meanwhile, could do so from his years owning 18 McDonald's restaurants and Mullin through his family's successful plumbing business.

So one could easily envision a year in which both U.S. Senate seats are on the ballot (Oklahoma's junior GOP Sen. James Lankford is up for reelection), and the governorship as well as two U.S. House seats are open.

Under Oklahoma election law, the filing deadline is April 12-15 and the primary June 28. Should no candidate win a majority of the vote, a subsequent runoff would be held between the two top vote-getters. In a state that last elected a Democrat senator in 1990, the winner of the Republican nomination is a cinch to succeed Inhofe.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
​Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., were jolted late Thursday afternoon by the news that Sen. Jim Inhofe, Oklahoma's longest-serving (28 years) U.S. senator and ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, would announce his resignation the following day.
james inhofe, oklahoma, luke holland, kevin stitt, markwayne mullin
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2022-03-25
Friday, 25 February 2022 08:03 AM
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