Owing to Sen. Jim Inhofe’s impending retirement, two Senate seats are up for election in Oklahoma this year. In Tuesday’s special election to succeed Inhofe, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin fell just shy of winning 50 percent of the popular vote, meaning he will face former Oklahoma House Speaker T. W. Shannon in an Aug. 23 runoff.
With all but one precinct reporting, Mullin and Shannon received 43.63 percent and 17.54 percent of the vote, respectively. State Sen. Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) and Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland each received just shy of 12 percent of the vote.
The winner of the Republican primary runoff will face Kendra Horn, the former representative of Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District, in November to determine who inherits Inhofe’s unexpired term.
Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Sen. James Lankford secured the Republican nomination for his seat with 67.83 percent of the vote.
In the Democratic primary for Lankford’s seat, the top two candidates were Madison Horn and Jason Bollinger, with 37.18 percent and 16.78 percent of the vote, respectively. Like Mullin and Shannon, Madison Horn and Bollinger will go head-to-head in a primary runoff on Aug. 23.
All results posted by the Oklahoma State Election Board online are unofficial until they are certified by the board.
Mullin, Shannon to face off for Inhofe’s seat
Mullin currently represents Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District. As a congressman, Mullin was one of 126 Republicans to sign an amicus brief requesting the Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit from the State of Texas which challenged presidential election votes in four states. He was also one of 29 Republicans to vote for reauthorizing the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, including extending protections to transgender women.
Mullin declined to appear in a series of forums and debates with the other Republican candidates running for Inhofe’s seat. He missed a debate held by News 9 on June 9, saying on Twitter that he was too busy defending the Second Amendment from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mullin reportedly turned down offers to appear remotely from Washington. He also missed a candidate forum in May, saying he had to attend a briefing on national security issues.
Shannon represented Oklahoma House District 62 in Lawton for eight years, including one year as speaker of the House. He is now the CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank. Shannon is a Chickasaw Nation citizen, and during the News 9 debate he stated his belief that the McGirt decision should provide state and tribal leaders an opportunity to work together on criminal justice.
“Whether we’re talking about compacting on issues of gaming or hunting or fishing or gasoline, Oklahoma has been a model of how states and tribes work together,” Shannon said.
During the News 9 debate, Shannon called the ongoing Jan. 6 Congressional Committee a “sham” orchestrated to prevent former President Donald Trump from seeking office again in 2024. Shannon also said “now is not the time” for gun control measures, adding that Republicans have a responsibility to stand up to President Joe Biden’s “anti-police, anti-gun agenda.”
Eleven other candidates ran in the GOP primary for Inhofe’s seat, with no other candidate receiving more than 12 percent of the vote.
Horn, Bollinger proceed to August runoff
Originally from Stilwell, Madison Horn (who is not related to Kendra Horn) currently works in cybersecurity for Siemens Energy. She says on her website that she feels called to combat political extremism. Issues she aims to tackle relevant to her background in cybersecurity include bolstering voting security, bolstering national cybersecurity and “improving tech literacy in government.”
A graduate of Elk City High School, Jason Bollinger resides in Oklahoma City and owns his own law firm. He previously worked as a staff member in the U.S. State Department. Bollinger’s platform includes expanding access to health care, improving infrastructure and fighting to improve the things that affect “our daily lives.”
Dennis L. Baker, Jo Glenn, Brandon Wade and Arya Azma finished behind Horn and Bollinger.