NORMAN — The decision by U.S. Senator Tom Coburn to resign his Senate seat two years early will throw Oklahoma politics into a tailspin this spring. Dr. Coburn, a maverick conservative from Muskogee, will be missed in the Senate where he is an outspoken critic of excessive government spending.
Potential replacements are already making the calls. Exploratory committees being formed. It’s not as abrupt as the 1994 resignation of U.S. Sen. David Boren but it caught many by surprise.
Among the state’s delegation, U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, is probably closest to Dr. Coburn. For most of the past 20 years, Dr. Coburn has been Rep. Cole’s client or colleague in Congress.
“No Oklahoman and few Americans have contributed more to our national dialogue over the course of the last two decades than Tom Coburn,” Rep. Cole said. “A tireless leader and honest voice for Oklahoma, he is an unusual politician because he hates politics. But Tom loves our country and relishes the debate on the critical issues of our time.”
Mr. Cole’s name and that of other prominent Oklahoma politicians is on the short list to seek the seat in a special election. We also will be on the lookout for interest from former U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon, Attorney General Scott Pruitt and U.S. Rep. James Lankford.
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