Oklahoma Lawmaker Faces Conservative Skeptics in Senate Bid

Swampland

Rep. James Lankford is a wonky, self-proclaimed “skinny redhead” with a voice as deep as a bullfrog, and now he’s running for Senate in the shadow of a giant of conservative politics, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn.

Lankford, an Oklahoma Republican, came to Capitol Hill in the tea party wave of 2010, joining his freshman class in voting dozens of times to dismantle Obamacare and ripping the level of debt and deficit spending during appearances on Fox News. In an interview with TIME on Tuesday just a day after launching his bid to succeed Coburn, Lankford said his top policy priorities include taking steps to eliminate government waste, reforming the Social Security disability benefit and working on energy development programs. And Lankford is no career politician: Before running for Congress, he ran a huge Christian youth camp.

But in the day since he announced his Senate bid, a host of non-establishment conservative…

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