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Jockeying to succeed Coburn in high-gear


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195866-gop-jockeying-to-succeed-coburn-in-high-gearThe Hill:

The early jockeying to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Tom Coburn has quickly begun and could trigger a battle between establishment and Tea Party conservatives in Oklahoma.


Even though Coburn just announced Thursday evening he will resign two years early, his departure had been expected on Capitol Hill for some time as the senator battles cancer. Gov. Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) announced Friday that the special election to replace him will be held concurrently with the state’s regular elections.



Now, the finality of his decision has fast-forwarded the decision-making process for many in the state’s congressional delegation ahead of an April filing deadline and June primary. And conservatives groups are already angling to make sure that Coburn, long a champion of cutting government waste and an anti-earmark crusader, was replaced by a like-minded conservative.

But one Oklahoma GOP source tells The Hill that Coburn is likely to back Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) to replace him, a development that would offer Lankford some credibility with skeptical conservatives and immediately launch him to the front of the primary pack, if he gets in as expected.Scissors-32x32.png

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