16 hopefuls seek Oklahoma Senate seat following Sen. Jim Inhofe’s retirement announcement | News

Second Amendment

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) announced he will retire in November, and now 16 candidates are vying for his seat in the Senate. 

Inhofe, 87, was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986 and eventually won the vacant Senate seat from Democrat David Boren in 1994. Inhofe’s resignation sparked a special election this November, and 13 Republicans are fighting to be the Republican Party’s candidate to potentially fill his seat. 

Markwayne Mullin (R)

Oklahoma GOP U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin announced in February he’s giving up his seat in the House of Representatives in order to run for the open Senate seat. Mullin is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, and, according to his campaign site, he is “100%” anti-abortion. 

Mullin owns Mullin Plumbing in Oklahoma, and lives at Mullin Ranch with his wife and six children. 

Mullin’s campaign has been focused on protecting the second amendment, and “fighting the Radical Left’s attacks on our way of life.” Mullin supports former President Donald Trump’s agenda, according to his site and commercials, and he emphasized his hope to finish the proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Mullin also released an advertisement, “What a woman is,” criticizing Penn State swimmer Lia Thomas and the presence of transgender athletes in competitive sports.  

In 2021, Mullin tried to fly to Afghanistan and allegedly threatened John M. Pommersheim, the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Tajikistan, for not assisting him with a large sum of money. 

T.W. Shannon (R)

T.W. Shannon is running on the values of Christianity and “the gospel of the power of capitalism,” according to his campaign site. 

He was Oklahoma’s first Black speaker of the house, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and was the chief administrative officer of Chickasaw Community Bank. Shannon has been open about his support over the Supreme Court decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which reestablished reservation status to most of Eastern Oklahoma. 

Shannon previously ran for Senate but lost the Republican primary to James Lankford in 2014. That year, he received support from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska). 

Shannon is anti-abortion, and in April of this year, he accused Planned Parenthood of being racist. He said Black lives don’t matter until the lives of unborn Black babies matter. Shannon gave support to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade on June 24. 

He also supports upholding the Second Amendment, saying he doesn’t believe the country needs new gun control laws on his campaign website. 

Nathan Dahm (R)

Sen. Nathan Dahm hopes to stop the teaching of critical race theory, secure the country’s borders and enact term limits on members of Congress. Dahm has been outspoken of his support for former President Donald Trump, saying he was “abandoned by spineless politicians,” according to his campaign website

Dahm worked as a Christian missionary, and he said after seeing “the ills of communism first hand,” he knew he wanted to run for office. Dahm supports Second Amendment rights, hopes to send Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States Dr. Anthony Fauci to federal prison and wants to keep the federal government “out of Bitcoin.” 

Dahm showed his support for the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, issuing a press release thanking God “for this incredible victory.” 

Luke Holland (R)

Luke Holland hopes to hold President Joe Biden accountable, lower taxes and support law enforcement, according to his campaign website.  

Inhofe has endorsed Holland, his chief of staff, calling him a “conservative’s conservative.” Holland has also been endorsed by Alex Gray, former chief of staff of the National Security Council for the Trump Administration and his former running competitor.

One of Holland’s ad campaigns shows him offering a prayer for America with Inhofe. Holland said on his campaign site that his beliefs are grounded in in Christian faith, freedom and American Exceptionalism.

Holland has been openly anti-abortion, calling the practice “horrid” on his Twitter. Holland also promises to control “runaway inflation,” controlling the country’s borders and restore Christian values to Congress, according to his Twitter. 

Adam Holley (R)

Adam Holley, a father and husband, pledges to uphold election integrity, protect all children, protect the Second Amendment and prevent government mandates, according to his campaign site.  

Holley said he wants to fight for the right of free choice of “what we allow in our own bodies and our children’s medical choices,” according to a Ballotpedia survey. His campaign site also said he supports the “right to live.”  

Jessica Jean Garrison (R)

Jessica Jean Garrison, a mother of three, emphasizes her Christian, Republican and traditional values. Garrison pledged not to take campaign donations, saying she doesn’t want to ask people for money when they are struggling pay for gas and bills in an interview with KOCO

Garrison has emphasized a family-first agenda and she wants to stop the breakdown of the family unit, also according to KOCO. In the same interview, Garrison also said she does not support gun control but instead believes schools need better security. 

Garrison is a mother of three, with two currently in public school. She said she is a member of the Cherokee Nation and hopes to act as a liaison between the state and the tribal nations if elected.  

This candidate does not have a campaign website. 

Laura Moreno (R)

Laura Moreno is a healthcare worker and entrepreneur running for the state’s open Senate seat in the June 28 primary. 

According to her Facebook, Moreno has seven goals on her to-do list if she is elected Senator. At the top is securing the United States’ borders and giving amnesty to immigrants who worked during the COVID-19 pandemic as “gratitude” for their help. 

Moreno posted on Facebook in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, saying there needs to be more specification between what is medically necessary and what is an elective abortion. 

Moreno also supports the legalization of recreational marijuana according to her Facebook, and she believes the taxes from marijuana should go directly toward funding public schools and teachers’ salaries. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website. 

Michael Coibion (R)

Michael Coibion is from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and hopes to succeed Inhofe as the state’s next Senator. 

According to a story from the Oklahoma Watch, Coibion was thinking about his 11 grandchildren when he entered the race, saying he hopes to crackdown on immigration and ensure fair elections. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website or social media. 

Scott Pruitt (R)

Scott Pruitt is a former state senator, former Oklahoma attorney general and former Trump Administration Environmental Protection Agency chief. 

During his time as the EPA chief, Pruitt fell under scrutiny because he lived in a Capitol Hill condo which had ties to an energy lobbyist, according to the Guardian. He also spent large amounts of money on trips, flying first-class and spending $43,000 on a soundproof booth for phone calls. He also was criticized for demanding armed protection at all hours of the day, spending $3 million in expenses and overtime budgets. 

Pruitt advocated for the use of coal and fossil fuels during his time as EPA chief. He also rejected climate science and did not support the Paris climate agreement. Pruitt eventually stepped down in 2018. 

Pruitt is a large supporter of the oil and gas business. He has campaigned to secure the border and stopping inflation. Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry has endorsed Pruitt. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website. 

Paul Royse (R)

Paul Royse is anti-abortion, pro-Christian values and hopes to complete the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico, according to his campaign website. 

Royse has been outspoken about his stance on abortions, calling clinics and doctors who perform the procedure “abortion mills.” Royse said “America’s veterans would be ashamed” with the way pastors have been treated. He included two videos in particular on his site that show a pastor being detained for holding a congregation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and also a video of a pastor as he was harassing workers and women at an abortion clinic. 

In 2018, Royse won the Republican nomination for District 78 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, but ultimately lost in the general election to the incumbent Meloyde Blancett (D-Tulsa). 

Royse has been open about his distaste for Mullin, saying he is dishonest and does not belong in the Senate. 

John F. Tompkins

John F. Tompkins is a physician from Oklahoma City. He is a graduate from OU College of Medicine and currently works as an orthopedist. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website or active social media. 

Randy J. Grellner (R)

Dr. Randy J. Grellner hopes to fight inflation, support veterans and first responders and protect the Second Amendment. Grellner is a physician in Cushing, Oklahoma, where is began his practice and opened the Cushing Urgent Care in 2014. 

According to his campaign website, Grellner is against career-politicians, saying the “prescription for Congress isn’t another career politician.” Grellner supports Trump’s “America First” policy, securing the borders, and pledges to cut wasteful spending and add no new taxes to citizens. 

Robert Murphy (L)

Robert Murphy is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran running as a Libertarian in this special election. Murphy is running uncontested, and therefore his primary was canceled. 

Murphy ran for U.S. Senate for Oklahoma in 2016 as the Libertarian candidate. He was an Independent candidate in 2014 for the U.S. House of Representatives, running to represent District 5. He previously ran for that seat as a Libertarian in 2012. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website 

Kendra Horn (D)

Former Oklahoma Rep. Kendra Horn decided to step down from the U.S. House of Representatives to run for Inhofe’s seat. She was the first Democratic woman to represent Oklahoma in Congress. 

Horn is the only Democrat running in this election, and therefore, her primary was canceled. 

Horn was outspoken against the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, calling it a “devastating blow for health and well-being of all women” on Twitter. 

Horn also supports gun control efforts, saying there needs to be an increase in gun safety in order to reduce violence. She also said she wants to protect the Second Amendment rights of “law abiding gun owners.” 

Horn advocated for Julius Jones’ commutation and said she hopes for a new justice system that works for everybody and not a select few.  

Ray Woods (I)

Ray Woods is an Independent running for Inhofe’s open seat in this year’s special election. Woods previously ran in 2014 against Inhofe for the U.S. Senate. 

This candidate does not have a campaign website or social media.

The primary and special elections are on June 28. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. To find your polling location and see a sample ballot for your precinct, go to the OK Voter Portal.

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