Woodward, Okla. —
By James Coburn
CNHI News Service
OKLAHOMA CITY — Republicans cheered Congressman James Lankford Tuesday night as he accepted victory in the statewide primary election for the open U.S. Senate seat. His wife, Cindy, and their two daughters Hannah and Jordan stood at his side.
“We need America to stand up again in the world, to stand up again in our economy, and to lead the world,” Lankford said. “It’s time we step back in the position we have been to set the morals, to set the economic (policy), to set the example for liberty again and say let’s go lead. Let’s go take our country back.”
Lankford’s confidence matched his supporters’ enthusiasm, knowing he heads for the Nov. 4 general election. He surprised some political pundits by avoiding a runoff with his closest opponent, former House Speaker T.W. Shannon R-Lawton.
“We’re now closing this chapter and turning the page to November,” said Lankford, 46, at his watch party at the Oklahoma History Center.
With all 1,956 precincts reporting, Republicans favored Lankford with 152,658 votes, or 57.2 percent, according to the Oklahoma State Election Board. Shannon took in 91,772 votes, or 34.4 percent of ballots cast.
“From my family, you cannot imagine the incredible gratitude that we have for this evening,” said Lankford, of Edmond.
Shortly before taking the stage, Lankford received a phone call from Shannon conceding the election.
“Rep. Shannon was incredibly gracious and congratulated us on the campaign,” Lankford said. “He immediately said, ‘I want to join you to do whatever we can to be able to win in November.’”
He recognized U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn for the hard work he has done for Oklahomans.
“The legacy that he has laid down for our state and our nation is a long shadow,” Lankford said. “Those are shoes we cannot possibly fill, but it is a responsibility we have to be able to take on.”
Lankford’s appeal has centered on representing Oklahoma families by staving off Washington’s intrusion into personal and economic freedoms. Most cultural issues Americans face will not be solved by Washington, D.C., Lankford said.
“But we will face many significant issues that must be done in Washington, D.C.,” Lankford said. “As a conservative and a strong proponent of a constitutional system of government, I have not written off our nation.”
He characterized regulations coming to Oklahoma from the Environmental Protection Agency as ridiculous. The waste that continues by the federal government must stop, he said.
“Our economy is weak. Our foreign policy is incomprehensible. And Americans have lost trust in their own federal government,” Lankford said.
Americans have faced difficult times before and can resolve matters at hand to be a stable force in the world, he said. The world is in chaos, Lankford said, so the U.S. has to get it’s economic priorities in order by leading with families.
“I do believe that conservative solutions will work in every neighborhood, in every town, every city and among every ethnicity,” Lankford said.
Lankford said his campaign has stated all along that the other contenders he faced in the primary election are not his opponents. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is his opponent.
Former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, 60, of Owasso ended the night with 12,924 votes, or 4.8 percent.
“I am content knowing we worked hard and represented our beliefs with honor and consistency,” said Brodgon, a Tea Party favorite. “Unfortunately, we were unable to raise enough money to stand out in a very competitive field of candidates. I want to congratulate T.W. Shannon on a good, hard-fought race, and James Lankford for winning the nomination.”
Other Republicans in the primary race included:
• Andy Craig, 41, of Broken Arrow, who got 2,425 votes, or .9 percent;
• Eric McCray, 33, of Tulsa, 2,270 votes, or .9 percent;
• Kevin Crow, 46, of Chickasha, 2,825 votes, or 1.1 percent; and
• Jason Weger, 31, of Norman, with 1,793 votes, or .7 percent, according to the election board.
Democrat state Sen. Connie Johnson, 61, of Oklahoma City will face Jim Rogers, 79, of Midwest City in the Aug. 26 primary runoff. Johnson had 71,402 votes, or 43.8 percent, to Rogers, who had 57,557 votes, or 35.3 percent. Patrick Hayes, of Anadarko, received 33,908 votes or 20.8 percent.