Republican’s Lankford, Mullin win Oklahoma Senate seats

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republicans U.S. Sen. James Lankford and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin both coasted to election victory on Tuesday, with Mullin poised to become the first Native American in the U.S. Senate in nearly 20 years.

In an unusual twist this election cycle, both of Oklahoma’s U.S. Senate seats were on the ballot. U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe shook up the state’s political scene by announcing this year that he planned to step down before his term was finished.

In the race for Inhofe’s seat, Mullin, 45, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, faced former Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, 46, an Oklahoma City attorney who in 2018 ousted a two-term GOP incumbent from a seat that had been in Republican hands for four decades.

But winning a congressional seat in an increasingly diverse and progressive city is different than winning a statewide race in Oklahoma, where Republicans now make up more than 50% of registered voters, compared to less than 30% for Democrats. Most polls showed Mullin winning comfortably over Horn, Libertarian Robert Murphy and independent Ray Woods.

“Kendra Horn had an opportunity to do something for our state, and she didn’t,” said Jessica Perez, 46, of Oklahoma City, who cast her vote for Mullin Tuesday at Oklahoma Christian University.

Mullin will become the first Native American in the U.S. Senate since former U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado left the Senate in 2005, according to U.S. Senate records.

In Oklahoma’s other U.S. Senate race, incumbent Republican Lankford, 54, fended off a challenge from political newcomer Madison Horn, 32, a cybersecurity industry professional who is not related to Kendra Horn, along with Libertarian Kenneth Blevins and independent Michael Delaney.

Lankford, who received some criticism for seeking to delay certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory in 2020, faced a feisty primary challenge from a Tulsa pastor who criticized Lankford for not fully embracing the falsehood that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.


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