The Washington Post

Lankford wins Senate primary in Oklahoma

[posttv url="" ]


Rep. James Lankford (R) won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma Tuesday, defeating former state House speaker T.W. Shannon (R) and five lesser-known candidates in a closely watched campaign.

Lankford, 46, took a commanding 57 percent of the vote, avoiding a runoff against Shannon that looked very possible headed into the day. Shannon had 34 percent. Five others finished well off the pace.

Lankford is the fifth-ranking House Republican. He burst onto the scene in 2010 with a surprise U.S. House race win, made possible in large part by a loyal following of Christian conservative supporters from his days as the head of the largest Christian youth camp in the country.

National tea party groups and figures like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and the Senate Conservatives Fund rallied around Shannon. The half-black, half-Native American state legislator was seen as a potential rising national star who could bring diversity to a GOP looking to shed its image as the party of mostly older, white men.

Lankford will be a heavy favorite in the general election given the state's strong conservative tilt. He is running for the seat of Sen. Tom Coburn (R), who is stepping down at the end of this Congress. ​

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Republicans debate Saturday night. The New Hampshire primary is on Feb. 9. Get caught up on the race.
Heading into the next debate...
Donald Trump returns to the Republican presidential debate stage Saturday night. Marco Rubio arrives as a sudden star, but fending off ferocious attacks from his rivals. Still glowing from his Iowa victory, Ted Cruz is trying to consolidate conservative support, while Ben Carson is struggling to avoid being typecast as the dead man walking.
Play Video
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote.
New Hampshire polling averages
Polling in New Hampshire has typically been volatile after Iowa's caucuses, but Bernie Sanders, from its neighboring state Vermont, has been holding a lead over Hillary Clinton.
55% 38%
Play Video
Upcoming debates
Feb. 6: GOP debate

on ABC News, in Manchester, N.H.

Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.