, Muskogee, OK

January 19, 2014

No Senate race for Cole, Pruitt

Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Cole and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt announced late Sunday they will not seek to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn in 2014.

Both Cole and Pruitt released statements saying they plan to seek re-election to their current posts, where they believe they can be more effective.

“My seniority, my membership on three major committees, my position as a subcommittee chairman on the Appropriations Committee and my role as a deputy whip in the Republican Conference make me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator,” Cole, a six-term member of the House, said in a statement.

Pruitt said another four years as the state’s attorney general will allow him to continue fighting to restore the “proper balance” between the federal and state government.

“Serving as Oklahoma’s Attorney General has put me in the center of that very fight,” Pruitt said. “It has provided me an opportunity few others have to hold Washington accountable, to fight for the rule of law and the preservation of our constitutional system.”

Among other Republicans expected to consider running are U.S. Reps. James Lankford and Jim Bridenstine, and House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

Coburn’s announcement last week that he was forgoing the final two years of his term amid another battle with cancer is expected to trigger a series of candidates seeking higher office. Depending on who enters the race, Oklahoma could also have open U.S. House seats or other seats that trigger more announcements.

Gov. Mary Fallin said the filing and election dates for the special election will coincide with the regular election cycle. The timing is significant, because most officeholders who run for the post would have to give up their current positions.