, Muskogee, OK

February 20, 2014

Will Brogdon jump into the Senate race?

Associated Press

— TULSA — Oklahoma politicos, campaign operatives and members of Randy Brogdon’s own party remained stymied Thursday in their efforts to learn what the former Republican state lawmaker will do during the 2014 campaign: jump into a lively U.S. Senate race or sit it out.

For his part, Brogdon’s kept mum on his plans. So have his people.

Since Christmas, Brogdon has switched his campaign website from one trumpeting a 2014 gubernatorial bid to one promoting a run for the U.S. Senate. But neither Brogdon nor the site have informed curious voters which of two open Senate seats he’s seeking — or when he might make a formal announcement.

Some political experts say they aren’t surprised by the moves, and former colleagues say no one can predict what Brogdon will do next.

“When it comes to Randy Brogdon, it’s a hard thing to explain or understand,” said Richard Johnson, chairman of the political science department at Oklahoma City University. “I usually look at Brogdon as being conservative; certainly not an establishment candidate by any means.

“I don’t know whether he’s just been trying to find the best way he can be effective,” he said.

Jerry Buchanan, a state Republican Party official in northeastern Oklahoma— where Brogdon lives — predicted Thursday that Brogdon was still lining up support for a Senate run and likely would announce next week that he will seek the seat being vacated by Tom Coburn. Oklahoma’s other Senate race is a six-year term for the seat currently held by Jim Inhofe.

But Buchanan said he is second-guessing that prediction because of Brogdon’s radio silence as of late.

“Timing-wise, you’d think pretty much the announcement would have been made by now,” he said.

The race for Coburn’s seat already has attracted former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon and U.S. Rep. James Lankford, whose representatives did not comment Thursday about whether they would be prepared for a Brogdon candidacy. Brogdon and his campaign headquarters did not return phone messages seeking comment.

Brogdon rode a wave of tea party support in 2010 to nearly 39 percent of the vote in the GOP primary against Gov. Mary Fallin and two lesser-known challengers.