The Edmond Sun

April 29, 2014

Candidates discuss future political votes

James Coburn
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one   of a series of stories covering the Republican debate for the U.S. Senate race to fill the unexpired term of retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

Three of the eight Republicans running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn were asked if they would vote for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, if he runs to lead his party in the Senate again.

The Oklahoma City debate was sponsored recently by the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee.

“No, I have not made a decision on that because I don’t know who else is running,” said Congressman James Lankford of Edmond.

Lankford said there is a difference in voting against somebody when no other Republican senator will run against him. Nobody ran against House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Lankford said.

“In fact in the Speaker of the House election that actually occurred in the private meeting, there was only one person in that meeting who voted no, and that was Louie Gohmert,” said Lankford, 46.

The grand challenge, Lankford said, will be to see who will actually runs against McConnell. At that point, Lankford will vote for the most conservative candidate, he said.

“This in an easy one for me. There is no way under any circumstances that I will support Mitch McConnell for leader,” said former state Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso.

“What you just heard is a classic soft-shoe shuffle with the Republican leadership,” said Brogdon, 60.

Brogdon said he would find a conservative to derail McConnell. He will never consider McConnell for the Senate Minority Leader post because McConnell is destroying the tenants of the Republican Party and is dragging the U.S. into a financial gutter, Brogdon said.

Former state Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon said he will support the person who will says no to debt, no to increased spending and no to allowing illegal aliens from entering the United States.

“The last time I was involved in a legislative election — and it was a leadership election — I didn’t like the choices and I ran myself. I became Speaker,” Shannon said.

If there is not a leadership candidate to support Shannon’s values, he will run for Senate Minority Leader himself, Shannon said.

Other Republican U.S. Senate candidates for the unexpired term include Jason Weger, 31, of Norman; Kevin Crow, 46, of Chickasha; Eric McCray, 33, of Tulsa; and Andy Craig, 41, of Broken Arrow.

One Independent candidate, Mark Beard, 54, of Oklahoma City is also running for the Senate seat.

The three Democrats contenders for U.S. Senate include state Sen. Connie Johnson, 61, of Oklahoma City; Patrick Hayes, 39, of Anadarko; and Jim Rogers, 79, of Midwest City.

Voters will nominate their party’s candidates on June 24 for the statewide primary election. A run-off primary election is set for Aug. 26. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 4. | 341-2121

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