The Duncan Banner

January 29, 2014

Shannon to announce run for U.S. Senate seat

Steve Olafson
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon will announce today he’s a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up, a spokesman for the Lawton lawmaker said Tuesday.

Shannon will make the announcement at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Lawton, said spokesman Joe Griffin.

Griffin phoned The Banner on Tuesday to advise that Shannon planned to make an announcement at the church on Wednesday.

When asked if Shannon was going to run for the open Senate seat, Griffin said, “Let’s just say yeah.”

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Shannon has sent emails to fellow Republicans to tell them he planned to run for the Senate.

Shannon, 35, is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation and also is of African-American descent. He was elected to the Oklahoma House in 2007 and became House Speaker last year, making him the first African-American House Speaker in state history.

He will compete with U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond, in the Republican primary on June 24 to replace Coburn, who is relinquishing his Senate post early. The Republican nominee will face the Democratic nominee in the Nov. 4 general election.

No Democrats have announced plans to seek the position.

Two other Republicans, Oklahoma City contractor Eric McCray, 33,  and Jason Weger, a 31-year-old paramedic from Norman,   also say they will run for the Republican nomination.

Coburn will leave the U.S. Senate at the end of the year.