Senator James Lankford (R-OK) speaks during Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to answer questions related to Russian u...

Lankford wins GOP primary in race for U.S. Senate seat

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — U.S. Sen. James Lankford won Tuesday’s GOP primary outright in his race for reelection to another six-year term in the U.S. Senate.

Lankford, 54, defeated Tulsa pastor Jackson Lahmeyer, 30, and Joan Farr, 67, of Broken Arrow and will be a heavy favorite to defeat the Democratic primary winner in November’s general election.

FOLLOW LIVE: 2022 Oklahoma Primary Election

Lahmeyer, a political newcomer endorsed by ex-President Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, accused Lankford of not being conservative enough and criticized him for not endorsing Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election outcome.

On the Democratic side, Oklahoma City attorney Jason Bollinger, 30, and cybersecurity expert Madison Horn, 33, are the only candidates in a six-person field who have raised much money, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Lankford will face the winner of Tuesday’s six-way Democratic primary in November, along with Libertarian Kenneth Blevins and independent Michael Delaney.

A former Baptist minister, Lankford was the longtime director of Falls Creek, the nation’s largest Christian youth camp, before winning a U.S. House seat from the Oklahoma City area in 2010. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 to fill the unexpired term of former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, who stepped down that year amid health concerns. Lankford was reelected to a full term in 2016 with nearly 68 percent of the vote.

In Oklahoma’s other U.S. Senate race, to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a stalwart in Oklahoma GOP politics since the 1960s, 13 Republican candidates are vying to become Oklahoma’s newest U.S. senator. Among the challengers are U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, 44, whose entry into the race left open his 2nd Congressional District that covers most of eastern Oklahoma.

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Other GOP candidates include state Sen. Nathan Dahm, 39; Inhofe’s longtime chief of staff Luke Holland, 35; ex-Attorney General and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, 54; and former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, 44. With so many candidates in the race, the top two vote getters will advance to an August primary runoff if no candidate secures more than 50 percent of the vote.

There seems to be little difference among the Republican candidates in both races on key issues, as all have expressed frustration with President Joe Biden’s administration, opposition to restrictions on firearms and support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to ban abortion. The winners of both GOP primaries will be heavily favored to win the seat in the fall in deep-red Oklahoma, which hasn’t elected a Democrat to a U.S. Senate seat in more than three decades. A Democrat hasn’t won any statewide race in Oklahoma since 2006.

The winner in the race for Inhofe’s seat will face Democrat and former U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, 46, who is not related to Madison Horn, along with a Libertarian and an independent, in November’s general election.