Rep. Mullin Strong Favorite in Oklahoma Senate Runoff

Rep. Mullin Strong Favorite in Oklahoma Senate Runoff Markwayne Mullin Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla. (AP)

John Gizzi By John Gizzi Wednesday, 29 June 2022 05:32 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

In the Republican primary that is tantamount to election to the seat of Oklahoma's retiring GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top two vote-getters Tuesday were Rep. Markwayne Mullin and former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon — both stalwart conservatives and strong supporters of former President Donald Trump.

But with Mullin drawing 44% of the vote in a 13-candidate race, he remains the strong favorite over Shannon (18%) in the runoff Aug. 23.

Most of the other Republican hopefuls are expected to weigh in for Mullin and sources in the Sooner State told Newsmax there is likely to be a movement within the party to convince Shannon to concede now.

But Shannon signaled Tuesday night he was in the race to stay as "the true conservative who can beat the DC establishment."

Along with sporting strongly conservative records, Mullin and Shannon are both 44 and have strong American Indian heritage. Mullin is Cherokee, and Shannon, CEO of the Chickasaw Community Bank in Oklahoma City, is part black and part Chickasaw.

The race was easily the most unexpected of any Senate contest in the nation. Re-elected by a landslide in 2020, Inhofe, 88 and Oklahoma's longest-serving senator, announced last year he was stepping down for health and family reasons and endorsed longtime top aide Luke Holland as his successor.

The fourth-generation Oklahoman Holland, who placed fourth with about 9% of the vote, was widely praised as a candidate and, like Inhofe, is a strong Christian who emphasized his faith in TV spots. Many who backed Mullin or other candidates said they liked Holland and wished he had run for a lower office such as Mullin's open 2nd District, which includes Holland's hometown of Bartlesville.

Oklahoma last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1990.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

Original Article