(The Center Square) – Thirteen Republicans are qualified to replace outgoing U.S. Sen. James Inhofe in the June 28 primary.
Inhofe announced in February that he would retire from his post at the end of the year, setting up a special election to fill the remainder of his term that ends in 2027.
The Republican senator endorsed his chief of staff, Luke Holland, to succeed him. Holland is joined in the crowded primary field by a sitting members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Oklahoma Senate, and by a trail-blazing former member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, just the second Republican to represent the state's 2nd Congressional District since 1923, is leaving his post to vie for the GOP nomination. Also qualifying on Friday were state Sen. Nathan Dahm and T.W. Shannon, a former state representative who was Oklahoma's first African-American Speaker of the House.
Two former members of the Trump administration are also on the ballot. Scott Pruitt served as Trump's administrator for the Environmental Protection Administration. Alex Gray served as deputy director of the Office of Trade & Manufacturing Policy under former President Donald Trump.
Rounding out the list of candidates are Adam Holley, Jessica Jean Garrison, Laura Moreno, Michael Coibion, Paul Royse, John F. Tompkins and Randy J. Grellner.
U.S. Sen. James Lankford is also facing two Republican challengers in his quest for another term. Jackson Lahmeyer, an Owasso pastor and Joan Farr, who ran as an independent in 2020, have also qualified.
Gov. Kevin Stitt will face three Republican challengers in his bid for reelection, including one candidate from his administration. Joel Kintsel, the director of the state's Department of Veterans Affairs, has qualified for the June 28 ballot.
Kintsel describes himself as a "Ronald Regan conservative" in a news release announcing his candidacy. He described the Stitt administration as "rife with corruption, self-dealing and cronyism and Oklahomans deserve another choice.”
Also challenging Stitt in the Republican primary is Mark Sherwood, a naturopathic doctor and former Tulsa police officer who called the 2020 election "fraudulent." He listed "abolishing abortion and stopping mask and vaccine mandates" as part of his platform.
Another Republican, Moira McCabe officially qualified. She described herself in a Ballotpedia questionnaire as "a regular person who wants to do their part to make Oklahoma a better place and uphold constitutional rights for every person."
On the Democrat side, state school superintendent Joy Hofmeister, who ran for her position as a Republican, has switched parties. She and former state Sen. Connie Johnson are vying to run in the November primary.
via Oklahoma's Center Square News