In Oklahoma, Republicans will vote Tuesday on a nominee to finish the term of current GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, who is retiring at year-end with two years left to spare. For the two front-runners, Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, immigration has suddenly become an issue in the race.
It's not easy to get to the right of U.S. Rep. James Lankford, a staunch conservative from a state that prides itself on being "the reddest of the red." The Baptist minister and onetime leader of one of the nation's largest Christian youth camps came to Congress three years ago and has preached a hard-right doctrine heavy on gun rights, abortions and the evils of Obamacare.
BARTLESVILLE, Okla. - T. W. Shannon will be Oklahoma's first black senator if he wins the Republican nomination and is elected this November, but the quiet campaign stirring here about Mr. Shannon's racial loyalties is not aimed at the African-American branch of his family tree.
The announcement by Republican Sen. Tom Coburn that he is resigning his seat at the end of the year has set up a spirited battle among Oklahoma Republicans to replace him.
Leading the pack are Rep. James Lankford and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. At age 36, Shannon is an up-and-coming star in the GOP, and if elected he would become the third African-American in the Senate — two of them Republicans.