Oklahoma's Inhofe confirms he is resigning US Senate seat

Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe says he will step down before his six-year term is up and that he is “absolutely” at peace with the decision

Via AP news wire
Friday 25 February 2022 14:33 GMT
Election 2022 Inhofe
Election 2022 Inhofe (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Oklahoma's U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says he will step down before his six-year term is up and that he is “absolutely” at peace with the decision.

In an interview published Friday by The Oklahoman, the 87-year-old Inhofe said he and his wife, Kay, “have decided that we need to have time together.”

Inhofe has held the seat since 1994 and his departure will trigger a special election for his replacement.

“I didn’t make a solid decision until two or three weeks ago,” Inhofe told the newspaper. “There has to be one day where you say, ‘All right, this is going to be it.’”

Inhofe, who was elected to a fifth Senate term in 2020, said he will continue to serve until the next Congress begins in January.

The timing of Inhofe's announcement is related to a quirk in Oklahoma law that requires the governor to call a special election if a lawmaker announces they intend to retire before March 1. The special election would be held concurrently with the statewide primary, runoff and general election, part of the nation’s midterms.

Republicans will be heavily favored to retain the seat; Oklahoma hasn't sent a Democrat to the Senate since 1990.

Inhofe's announcement is likely to trigger a series of announcements from Republicans planning to run for the seat. Among those expected to consider the race are Republican U.S. Reps. Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin; former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives T.W. Shannon, who ran for U.S. Senate in 2014; and Tulsa attorney Gentner Drummond, who is currently running for attorney general.

In his interview with The Oklahoman, Inhofe endorsed his chief of staff, Luke Holland, to replace him.

Oklahoma's three-day filing period begins April 13.

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