Former EPA Head Pruitt Files for Inhofe Senate Seat in Oklahoma Then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition Road to Majority Policy Conference in 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
By Luca Cacciatore | Friday, 15 April 2022 04:39 PM
Notable Oklahoma Republican Scott Pruitt has filed to succeed outgoing Sen. Jim Inhofe in the seat he has held since the mid-1990s, state candidacy documents revealed.
Pruitt previously served in the Oklahoma Senate for eight years before assuming the role of Oklahoma state attorney general from 2011 to 2017. He then served a short stint as head of the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Donald Trump for less than a year.
In 2018, Pruitt resigned as administrator of the EPA amid allegations he was misusing government funds for his own personal benefit, according to The Hill.
One of his purchases, $43,000 towards a soundproof phone booth for his office, was deemed illegal by the Government Accountability Office for blowing past the $5,000 limit on office furniture. He also faced scrutiny for spending $105,000 on first-class flights and $3.5 million on a private security force.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Friday, Pruitt assured that he "led with conviction in Washington, D.C." and claimed criticism of him was the result of leading an environmental agency in a conservative direction.
"And I made a difference in the face of that," he told the outlet. "I think Oklahomans know when The New York Times and CNN and MSNBC and those places are against you, Oklahomans are for you."
The controversial figure faces a crowded Republican primary field. Among those seeking the same seat are current Rep. Markwayne Mullin, former Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, state Sen. Nathan Dahm, and former National Security Council chief of staff Alex Gray, per Ballotpedia.
Oklahoma's other Senate seat, currently held by Republican Sen. James Lankford, is also up for reelection in 2022. Lankford will face Tulsa pastor Jackson Lahmeyer and Joan Farr in the GOP primary. Five Democrats, a libertarian, and an independent also filed for the seat.