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October 8, 2012

Three candidates battle Lankford

OKLAHOMA CITY — Republican U.S. Rep. James Lankford is seeking a second term in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District seat in the Nov. 6 general election, but Democratic and independent challengers say they hope to spoil Lankford’s plans.

Lankford, the only member of Oklahoma’s U.S. House delegation who did not draw a primary challenger, faces Democrat Tom Guild and independents Pat Martin and Robert Murphy in the general election. The 5th District includes nearly all of Oklahoma County, along with Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.

Lankford was a political newcomer when he emerged from a crowded Republican primary field in 2010 and won the GOP nomination in a runoff. And he says his performance in Congress over the past two years merits a second term.

Lankford, 44, is part of a Republican majority in the House that he said has managed to hold down discretionary federal spending and help ease the national debt.

Lankford, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he also helped pass transportation legislation that will provide stability to transportation infrastructure issues.

But Lankford said his first term has also been characterized by sharp partisan differences in Congress that have made it difficult to accomplish legislative goals.

“Most people are frustrated with Congress because they don’t want to think about Congress.,” Lankford said.

Guild, a 58-year-old retired college professor who unsuccessfully sought the 5th District Democratic nomination District in 2010, said he opposes many of the policies supported by the incumbent and believes Lankford has failed to accomplish his primary goals.

Guild said his primary goals are to protect government health care programs that are under attack by the GOP majority in the House.

The fractured nature of Congress was cited by the independent candidates as primary reasons they entered the race.

Martin said an independent voice in Congress could act as a mediator between the two parties and help the legislative process work more smoothly.

Murphy, a 64-year-old retired computer system technician, did not return an email or telephone call, but comments he contributed to VOTE411.org, an online voter guide launched by the League of Women voters in 2006, indicate he is a Libertarian who wants to limit the federal government’s influence.

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