The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 6, 2014

Early campaign exit

NORMAN — As expected, House Speaker T.W. Shannon stepped aside from his leadership post to concentrate on his run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated early by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. It comes less than a week after the Speaker’s Ball was hosted in Norman.

Stepping down was the right thing to do. Shannon’s control of legislation could have been questioned during the campaign and its multitude of fundraising activities.

Some lawmakers said his resignation speech came across more like a campaign rally stump talk. He listed his accomplishments, including tax cuts, anti-abortion votes and workers’ compensation reform.

At a Rotary Club speech in Norman this past month — long before Mr. Coburn made his announcement — Shannon sounded more like a candidate than the sitting Speaker of the House.

The Republican candidates are already starting to jockey for position. Few can run to the right of Coburn, but Rep. Shannon and U.S. Rep. James Lankford will certainly give it their best shot.

The three men seeking the post include House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson, R-Enid, Jason Nelson, R-Guthrie, and Jeff Hickman, R-Dacoma. Many will remember Hickman as David Boren’s press secretary in the early days of his OU presidency.

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