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Markwayne Mullin wins Oklahoma GOP runoff in bid to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Inhofe

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin emerged victorious in the Republican Senate runoff for the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe.

The race for 87-year-old Inhofe’s seat began in late February after he announced his plans to step down following his nearly 28 years in the Senate. Inhofe said at the time that he was stepping down to spend more time with his wife, just two years after he won reelection in 2020. Mullin netted more than 60% of the vote when AP called the race for him at around 7:36 local time.

Mullin, 44, is on his fifth term in the House and has set his sights on filling the remainder of a six-year term being vacated prematurely by Inhofe. As the owner of a local plumbing business in tandem with his role as a lawmaker, Mullin has been firmly focused on deregulation as one of his leading policies.


Trump FBI
House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK, center) speaks during a Aug. 2022 news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington about the FBI serving a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s home in Florida.

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

“When I decided to run for the House of Representatives, regulations is what pulled me here. You know, I’ve said this multiple times: It is not the role of the federal government to create jobs. It’s a role of the federal government to create an atmosphere for job creators, for entrepreneurs to thrive and create those jobs,” Mullin told the Washington Examiner in March.

Shannon, 44, was mounting his second bid for the Senate after he stepped aside from politics to enter the private sector, later becoming the CEO of a $500 million banking institution. He campaigned on his opposition to a “woke agenda,” saying he was concerned about the direction the country was headed.

“America is not the home of systemic racism. America is the home of systemic opportunity,” he told the Washington Examiner in March, returning to the theme of “woke-ism” that he said is animating his desire to dive back into politics. “That’s going to be my story in the race, and hopefully, that inspires people.”

Inhofe endorsed his chief of staff Luke Holland to succeed him earlier this year, but he only clinched 11% of the vote in the June 28 primary.

Although the retiring senator won’t oppose the GOP nominee to face off against Democrat Kendra Horn in November, he was troubled by Mullin’s unsanctioned rescue trip to Afghanistan during the 2021 withdrawal, saying his actions had strained their relationship, according to Read Frontier.

“Markwayne and I, we have problems,” Inhofe told the outlet, adding, “My fear was the safety of our acting military,” but the senator clarified his critiques shouldn’t be confused as an endorsement of Shannon.


Horn, a centrist Democrat, is running an uphill race to defeat a GOP nominee in the deep-red state but seeks to contrast herself from her opponent on a platform against a “rise in extremism” that she argued exists “on the Right and on the Left” during a July interview with the Washington Examiner.

She argues the state’s GOP leadership isn’t focused on “the real issues that are facing our communities” and has advocated greater access to healthcare while opposing strict abortion legislation, such as the “trigger law” in Oklahoma that makes it a felony to perform an abortion unless it is “necessary to preserve” the mother’s life.

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