Voters have chosen to re-elect Jim Inhofe to the United States Senate for his fifth term. Inhofe held approximately 65 percent of the vote with 96 percent of precincts reporting. His strongest opponent, Democrat Abby Broyles, had received approximately 33 percent of the vote.
“Serving all Oklahomans is my greatest honor,” Inhofe said in a press release. “Thank you for once again putting your faith in me as your representative in Washington. I’m humbled to be re-elected and will continue to fight for Oklahoma values in the Senate. I look forward to continuing my service to the people of our state.”
The Associated Press called the race for Inhofe almost immediately after polls closed in Oklahoma at 7 p.m.
Broyles called the projection “wildly irresponsible” on Twitter, but Inhofe stayed firmly in the lead as precincts throughout the state started reporting.
It is wildly irresponsible for the @AP to call a statewide race when zero precincts are reporting from Oklahoma and Tulsa Counties, according to the state election board. It’s voter suppression to put that out while people are still in line voting. @kfor @koco @NEWS9 @KTULNews
— Abby Broyles (@abbybroyles) November 4, 2020
Inhofe, who will turn 86 in two weeks, first entered the Senate in 1994, taking over the seat David Boren vacated in order to become president of the University of Oklahoma.
He told KOCO 5 that this would be his last term in office.
Asked about his decision to run for another term in a recent interview with NonDoc, Inhofe pointed to the Democrats.
“The Democratic Party is different than it has been in the past,” he said. “They’ve always been leaning toward socialism, but not as overtly as they are now. Democrats and Republicans have different philosophies. I understand that. But never to this extreme. So we were looking at it and thinking, ‘We really need to make sure these guys don’t get control.’”
Inhofe is known as one of the most conservative Republicans in the Senate. In recent years, he has been a full-throated supporter of President Trump and made national news earlier this year when a conversation he had with the President over speakerphone was overheard at a restaurant in D.C.
Broyles is the first woman to face Inhofe as his primary contender in a general election. She beat three other Democrats for the party’s nomination in the primary on June 30, winning more than 60 percent of votes cast.
During the campaign, the 30-year-old Broyles was fond of pointing out that Inhofe had been in the Senate since she was in grade school. She argued that Inhofe’s time in Washington D.C. had made him lose touch with Oklahomans.
“I see so many people who are hungry for change and new leadership,” she told NonDoc in September. “Medicaid expansion passed in June. People are concerned about putting food on the table and having health care. I find that all over the state. These are extraordinary times.”
This was the first time Broyles ran for elected office. She previously worked as a journalist at KFOR and then earned a law degree at Oklahoma City University.
Broyles mounted a campaign that involved heavy travel throughout the state, online appearances and an active social media presence. She once crashed a shoot for an Inhofe TV ad, hoping to pressure the senator to agree to debate her. Inhofe wasn’t at the shoot and the two never debated despite requests from NonDoc and other media.
(Update: This article was updated at 10:05 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, to include a quote from Inhofe.)