United States Senate special election in Oklahoma, 2014

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Special Elections to the 113th Session of Congress, 2013-2014

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Oklahoma will hold a special election for the U.S. Senate on November 4, 2014, to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Sen. Tom Coburn (R).[1][2] In a race that grew increasingly negative due to ads released by outside political groups, Rep. James Lankford defeated former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon in the Republican primary on June 24, 2014. Lankford also defeated Republican candidates Jason Weger, Kevin Crow, Randy Brogdon, Eric McCray and Andy Craig. Oklahoma State Senator Constance Johnson and Jim Rogers will head to a runoff primary on August 26, 2014, because neither Democratic candidate was able to secure 50 percent of the vote.[3] The winner of the Democratic runoff will face Independent candidate Mark Beard and Lankford in the general election. Lankford is expected to win Coburn's Senate seat. The race is rated "Safe Republican" by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.[4]
Candidate Filing Deadline Primary Election General Election
April 11, 2014
June 24, 2014
November 4, 2014

Primary: Oklahoma is one of 21 states with a mixed primary system. Parties decide who may vote, so an unaffiliated voter must be authorized by a party in order to vote in the primary.[5]

Voter registration: To vote in the primary, voters had to register by May 30, 2014. For the general election, the voter registration deadline is October 10, 2014 (25 days prior to the election).[6]

See also: Oklahoma elections, 2014

Incumbent: The election will fill the Senate seat currently held by Tom Coburn (R). Coburn was first elected in 2004.

Candidates

General election candidates


August 26, 2014 Democratic runoff primary

Note: No candidate secured more than 50 percent of the vote in the June 24, 2014, primary election. A runoff primary election will be held between the top two candidates.[3]


June 24, 2014, primary results

Republican Party Republican Primary

Democratic Party Democratic Primary

Failed to file

Declined to run


Election results

Republican primary

James Lankford defeated T.W. Shannon, Jason Weger, Kevin Crow, Randy Brogdon, Eric McCray and Andy Craig in the Republican primary on June 24, 2014.[17]

U.S. Senate, Oklahoma Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJames Lankford 57.2% 152,658
T.W. Shannon 34.4% 91,772
Randy Brogdon 4.8% 12,924
Kevin Crow 1.1% 2,825
Andy Craig 0.9% 2,425
Eric McCray 0.9% 2,270
Jason Weger 0.7% 1,793
Total Votes 266,667
Source: Results via Associated Press

Democratic primary

Constance Johnson and Jim Rogers will head to a runoff primary on August 26, 2014, because neither Democratic candidate was able to secure 50 percent of the vote.[3]

U.S. Senate, Oklahoma Democratic Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Connie Johnson 43.8% 71,402
Jim Rogers 35.3% 57,557
Patrick Hayes 20.8% 33,908
Total Votes 162,867
Source: Results via Associated Press

Campaign contributions

James Lankford

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Lankford’s reports.[18]

James Lankford (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[19]April 15, 2013$429,828.90$42,886.00$(169,293.44)$303,421.46
July Quarterly[20]July 15, 2013$303,421.46$62,045.00$(49,713.64)$315,752.82
October Quarterly[21]October 15, 2013$315,752.82$205,330.00$(66,345.15)$454,737.67
Year-End Quarterly[22]December 31, 2013$454,737$122,635$(60,342)$514,505
April Quarterly[23]April 15, 2014$514,505.46$828,086.16$(333,306.03)$1,009,285.59
Running totals
$1,260,982.16$(679,000.26)

Constance Johnson

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Johnson's reports.[24]

Constance Johnson (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Pre-primary[25]June 4, 2014$0$26,284.50$(18,840.59)$7,443.91
July Quarterly[26]July 14, 2014$7,443.91$10,843.00$(16,160.18)$2,126.73
Running totals
$37,127.5$(35,000.77)

Jason Weger

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Weger's reports.[27]

Jason Wegar (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[28]April 9, 2014$0$330,000$(272,000)$58,000
Running totals
$330,000$(272,000)

T.W. Shannon

Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Shannon's reports.[29]

T. W. Shannon (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[30]April 15, 2014$0$807,952.78$(304,971.56)$502,981.22
Running totals
$807,952.78$(304,971.56)

Race background

In November 2013, Coburn's office announced that he had been diagnosed with a recurrence of prostate cancer and was undergoing treatment.[31] Coburn will retire at the end of 2014, two years before his term ends. The governor of Oklahoma is not allowed to appoint a replacement, which is why a special election is being held.[32] Coburn will stay in office until the session ends and his successor is sworn in with the rest of the new members in 2014.[33]

A six-year term is also up for election for the seat currently held by Jim Inhofe (R).[1][34]

Issues

“Dark money groups”

T.W. Shannon and James Lankford have received significant help from outside groups during their campaigns for Senate. Oklahomans for a Conservative Future spent more than $1 million to back Shannon, the Senate Conservatives Fund spent at least $5,100 on him, the group Now or Never spent $100,000 on television advertising for him and “Black America’s Political Action Committee reported spending $1,400 on billboard advertising for Shannon,” according to NewsOk.com.[35] The Foundation for Economic Prosperity ran negative ads and financed a poll for Lankford, but the group did not reveal how much the ads and poll cost.[35]

Allegations

Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said that he is reviewing T.W. Shannon’s campaign “for potential criminal conduct.” According to NewsOk.com, “The allegations are that there was improper collusion between the two Republican candidates’ campaigns and dark money groups supporting them."[36] A spokesperson from Shannon’s campaign responded to the allegations saying, “There has been absolutely no coordination between our campaign and any of the groups conducting independent expenditures. Any allegation to the contrary is completely false and without merit.[36]

Senate Conservatives Fund

The Senate Conservatives Fund announced on January 20, 2014, that it would not back James Lankford.[37]

“We won’t support Congressman Lankford’s bid for the Senate because of his past votes to increase the debt limit, raise taxes, and fund Obamacare. We have reviewed his record and it’s clear that conservatives cannot count on him to fight for their principles,” said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins in a statement.[37]

Endorsements

T.W. Shannon

See also: Senate Conservatives Fund

Shannon was endorsed by the following people and organizations:

Polls

Republican primary

Republican primary: Lankford v. Shannon
Poll James Lankford T.W. ShannonUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SoonerPoll.com
June 19-21, 2014
43.4%34.9%13.3%+/-4.81415
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Republican primary: Lankford v. Shannon
Poll James Lankford T.W. ShannonUndecidedOtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
The Tarrance Group
June 9-11, 2014
41%34%18%7%+/-4.5500
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org
Republican primary
Poll James Lankford T.W. ShannonKevin CrowJason WegerRandy BrogdonUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Opinion Strategies
March 16-17, 2014
37%28%0%0%7%28%+/-4.38500
Tarrance Group
February 10-12, 2014
47%17%3%0%0%33%+/-4.9500
Harper Polling
January 30-February 1, 2014
54%18%0%1%0%27%+/-3.91627
AVERAGES 46% 21% 1% 0.33% 2.33% 29.33% +/-4.4 542.33
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Democratic primary

Democratic primary
Poll Jim Rodgers Connie JohnsonPatrick Michael HayesUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
SoonerPoll.com
May 5-10, 2014
9.4%9.2%9.2%76.3%+/-3.9631
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org

Media

James Lankford


James Lankford, "Let's Go Take Our Country Back."

James Lankford, "Trust."

James Lankford, "Already Fighting for Oklahoma."

Constance Johnson


"Connie Johnson for US Senate."

T.W. Shannon


T.W. Shannon, "The Dignity of Work."

T.W. Shannon, "Ethics & Integrity."

T.W. Shannon, "New Direction."

Senate Conservatives Fund


Senate Conservatives Fund, "New Generation."

Foundation for Economic Prosperity


Foundation for Economic Prosperity, "Tested and Proven."

Ad controversy

Coburn statement

The pro-Shannon group, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, and the pro-Lankford group, Foundation for Economic Prosperity, released negative ads disparaging each of the candidates vying for Sen. Coburn’s seat. Coburn released the following statement about the negativity in the race: “When the U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma began, I made a private commitment to James Lankford and T.W. Shannon that I would call out any ads I saw as untruthful. Last week I spoke out against political advertisements in Oklahoma unfairly and inaccurately attacking James Lankford. To be fair, I must also comment on the equally disappointing negative advertisements airing in the state by the Foundation for Economic Prosperity, Inc. attacking T.W. Shannon. They are wrong and should be rejected by Oklahomans. The negative on-air advertisements and untruthful mail pieces against both Lankford and Shannon should stop. This race should be about the urgent threats to our future well-being, not the political goals of outside interest groups.”[40]

Shannon statement

In response to negative ads released about himself and Lankford in the special election for Coburn’s Senate seat, Shannon said, “I hope everyone will agree that keeping the advertising focused on issues and records will best serve the people of Oklahoma as they determine who their next U.S. Senator should be. There are real differences between Congressman Lankford and myself when it comes to our record on debt and spending, and I welcome that discussion. But I believe that discussion should remain focused on our record, and free of images showing my opponent with President Obama. I have said this before, but it bears repeating in this instance: as brothers in Christ, Congressman Lankford and I are competitors, not enemies.”[41]

Lankford statement

Lankford responded to Shannon’s statement arguing that they were overdue and that they did not go far enough in admonishing the outside groups releasing the ads. Lankford said, “I am confident that for the past week, Oklahomans have contacted the Shannon campaign to encourage them to stop the attack ads and misrepresentations. As a result, Mr. Shannon has now issued a long overdue statement to distance himself from the TV attack ads, but apparently not the new negative attack postcards hitting mailboxes across Oklahoma today. The only item that Mr. Shannon took issue with in his statement is placing my image next to the President’s. Is Mr. Shannon supportive of the remainder of the attacks, or is he not?” [41]

District history

Candidate Ballot Access
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2010

On November 2, 2010, Tom Coburn won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Jim Rogers (D), Stephen P. Wallace (I) and Ronald F. Dwyer (I) in the general election.[42]

U.S. Senate, Oklahoma General Election, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTom Coburn incumbent 70.6% 718,482
     Democratic Jim Rogers 26.1% 265,814
     Independent Stephen P. Wallace 2.5% 25,048
     Independent Ronald F. Dwyer 0.8% 7,807
Total Votes 1,017,151

2008

On November 4, 2008, James M. Inhofe won re-election to the United States Senate. He defeated Andrew Rice (D) and Stephen P. Wallace (I) in the general election.[43]

U.S. Senate, Oklahoma General Election, 2008
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngJim Inhofe incumbent 56.7% 763,375
     Democrat Andrew Rice 39.2% 527,736
     Independent Stephen P. Wallace 4.1% 55,708
Total Votes 1,346,819


See also

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Roll Call, "Special Election Dates Set to Replace Coburn," accessed January 18, 2014
  2. The City Wire, "Oklahoma Sen. Coburn announces resignation, special election set," accessed January 18, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Associated Press, "Oklahoma - Summary Vote Results," accessed June 24, 2014
  4. Roll Call, "2014 Election Race Ratings," accessed June 24, 2014
  5. Oklahoma State Election Board Website, "Voter Registration in Oklahoma," accessed January 3, 2014
  6. Oklahoma State Election Board Website, "Voter Registration in Oklahoma," accessed January 3, 2014
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 Ok.gov, "Candidates for Federal, State and Legislative Offices," accessed June 13, 2014
  8. Politico, "James Lankford announces Senate bid," accessed January 20, 2014
  9. 9.0 9.1 Politico, "Jim Bridenstine says no to Senate run," accessed January 29, 2014
  10. The Hill, "Oklahoma House Speaker moving toward Senate bid," accessed January 22, 2014
  11. Jason Weger for Senate, "Intro," accessed January 30, 2014
  12. News on 6, "Oklahoma Professor Announces Plans To Run For Senate," accessed March 13, 2014
  13. Randy Brogdon for Senate, "Brogdon Seeks Senate Seat, McConnell’s Removal," accessed March 19, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Sun Herald, "Dems say 'no' to run for Okla's US Senate seat," accessed January 22, 2014
  15. Politico, "Frank Keating won’t seek Tom Coburn’s seat," accessed January 27, 2014
  16. Politico, "Frank Keating considers running for Tom Coburn’s seat," accessed January 24, 2014
  17. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named ap
  18. Federal Election Commission, "James Lankford Summary Report," accessed August 1, 2013
  19. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed August 1, 2013
  20. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
  21. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 22, 2013
  22. Federal Election Commission, "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 12, 2014
  23. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 29, 2014
  24. Federal Election Commission, "Johnson 2014 Summary reports," accessed June 18, 2014
  25. FEC, "Pre-Primary," accessed June 18, 2014
  26. FEC, "July Quarterly," accessed July 31, 2014
  27. Federal Election Commission, "Weger 2014 Summary reports," accessed April 24, 2014
  28. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  29. Federal Election Commission, "Shannon 2014 Summary reports," accessed April 24, 2014
  30. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 24, 2014
  31. The Washington Post, "Coburn diagnosed with prostate cancer," accessed November 8, 2013
  32. The Hill, "Okla. Sen. Coburn to retire at end of 2014," accessed January 17, 2014
  33. News OK.com, "Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sets special election to replace Sen. Tom Coburn," accessed January 18, 2014
  34. Kfor.com, "Oklahoma will hold special election to fill Coburn’s U.S. Senate seat after retirement," accessed January 18, 2014
  35. 35.0 35.1 NewsOk.com, "Two more outside groups report aiding T.W. Shannon effort," accessed June 24, 2014
  36. 36.0 36.1 NewsOk.com, "Oklahoma County District Attorney inquiry focuses on T.W. Shannon, Joy Hofmeister campaigns," accessed June 19, 2014
  37. 37.0 37.1 Politico, "James Lankford announces Senate bid," accessed January 20, 2014
  38. Politico, "SCF backs Shannon in Okla. Senate race," accessed April 1, 2014
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 Tulsa World, "T.W. Shannon touts Ted Cruz endorsement in U.S. Senate race," accessed April 17, 2014
  40. NewsOk.com, "Lankford features Coburn in new ad; Coburn calls out pro-Lankford group," accessed June 19, 2014
  41. 41.0 41.1 NewsOk.com, "T.W. Shannon says outside groups should stick to issues, records in U.S. Senate race," accessed June 19, 2014
  42. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  43. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013