Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, became the second announced candidate for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.
Shannon joins U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond, in announcing a run for the seat.
In a statement on his website, Shannon said he would fight to protect the values of not only all Oklahomans, but the American people.
"I used to believe our freedom was so deeply woven into the fabric of this country, that nothing could ever put it at risk. But over the past six years, much has changed…Obamacare. Activist Judges. Reckless Federal Spending. Endless Red-Tape. Burdensome Taxes. Deepening Debt. The American people are tired, and they want someone who will fight to protect their values."
Shannon, the first African-American to hold a top post in the Oklahoma House, went on to list what he said were a number of accomplishments during his time in the House.
"During my time in office, I have been able to help cut taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars, eliminate many millions in waste and duplication, and fundamentally reform our worker’s compensation system, saving Oklahoma businesses over one hundred million dollars a year in premium costs."
He continued: "Once I became Speaker of the House, I was in an even better position to implement conservative policies. I wanted Oklahoma to lead the way in preserving freedom, strengthening families, and growing jobs. But I didn’t want to do those things just so we as Oklahomans could benefit. I wanted us to show the rest of the country what kind of prosperity could come from conservative policies."
Following Shannon's announcement, U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, announced that he would not run for Coburn's seat.
In addition to Shannon and Lankford, former Gov. Frank Keating is mulling a run for the Republican nomination. No Democrats have yet announced, though party insiders have said Poteau-native Kenneth Corn, a former state senator and failed 2010 candidate for lieutenant governor, is rumored to be exploring a run for the Senate seat. No Democrat has won an open Senate seat from Oklahoma since 1978, when current University of Oklahoma President David Boren was first elected.