Jim Inhofe
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) sits in his office in February. At the age of 85, he announced his reelection campaign. (KaraLee Langford / Gaylord News)

U.S Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) released a campaign video Thursday of himself flying a plane upside down to announce his campaign for reelection in 2020 and wants to prove he’s still not too old to be in Congress. 

“I’ll be announcing for office upside down — and that’s to overcome the criticism,” Inhofe said. “Just criticism of my age, and so my position has always been when I can no longer fly a plane upside down, then I’m too old to be in the United States Senate.” 

Gaylord NewsThis story was reported by Gaylord News, a Washington reporting project of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma. 

Inhofe announced his reelection plans for his fourth term in August 2013, during an exclusive interview with local Tulsa radio station, KRMG. He achieved reelection in November of 2014. 

Now, seven months behind his previous campaign schedule, Inhofe has announced he is running for a fifth term. 

Inhofe has been in Congress for a combined 33 years, beginning in 1987, where he represented Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District. Six years later, he moved to the Senate and has been there since 1994. 

And he doesn’t want to be done yet. 

In 2013, Inhofe had an emergency quadruple bypass surgery. Shortly after, he told reporters he felt great and even joked about how strong he felt. 

“I’m going to be an Olympian,” Inhofe said.  

Despite that, at age 85, Inhofe still flies planes upside down and still plans on serving in Congress. 

Inhofe said there are three main reasons why he is choosing to run for reelection. The first is to protect Oklahomans from the “liberal agenda of the Democrats,” he said.

Second, Inhofe’s friendship with U.S. President Donald Trump will be beneficial to Oklahomans in the long run. And third, his position as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee opens a lot of doors toward achieving a higher productivity rate, which would be beneficial to Oklahomans — more than electing a freshman who must work their way up. 

Another important issue Inhofe hopes to tackle, if re-elected, is the economy. 

“We all know about the economy. Best economy we’ve had now in my lifetime and it’s primarily due to two things: the tax cuts and the deregulation, and that’s something we will be talking about in this campaign,” Inhofe said. 

Inhofe has competitors in the senatorial race. One is J.J. Stitt, another Republican, as well as five Democrats. 

As the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Inhofe said he is working hard to see Oklahoma’s veterans receive better care and treatment by establishing a new veterans hospital in Tulsa. 

“In 2015 there was an article in the USA Today talking about Oklahoma not performing for veterans and we got busy and we changed everything,” Inhofe said. “We had to fire two administrators, and now as a result, the president would tell you he has $173 million in his budget that would be for the VA hospital in Tulsa. So we are doing well with our veterans now, and all the veterans agree.”

Multiple Democrats have announced their intended challenge of Inhofe, including former KFOR reporter Abby Broyles.