Oklahoma elections: Republican James Lankford elected to U.S. Senate; Sen. Jim Inhofe wins new term
by Chris Casteel

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. James Lankford, the fastest rising political star in recent Oklahoma history, easily claimed the state’s open U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, while U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe won a new term just shy of his 80th birthday.

The Republicans claimed 68 percent of the vote against their Democratic and independent opponents and extended the GOP’s winning streak in U.S. Senate races in Oklahoma. It was the first time in state history both U.S. Senate seats were on the same ballot. It appeared late Tuesday that they would be part of a new Republican majority in the Senate next year.

Lankford, 46, of Oklahoma City, won the seat being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who is resigning with two years left of his term. Lankford is expected to run for a full six-year term in 2016.

The former Baptist youth camp director was a political unknown with no money four years ago when he beat veteran state lawmakers to win the Oklahoma City-area House seat. Two years later, he won a spot on the GOP leadership team.

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