Markwayne Mullin and T.W. Shannon advanced to an August 23, 2022, Republican primary runoff in the special U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma. Neither received the majority of the primary vote needed to win outright on June 28.
Ten candidates ran in the primary. The special election will fill the rest of the six-year term left by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R), who was last elected in 2020. Inhofe announced he would resign January 3, 2023, to spend time with family.
Mullin, Shannon, Nathan Dahm, Scott Pruitt, and Luke Holland led in polling, noteworthy endorsements, and media attention.
Mullin has represented Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. He campaigned on making the country energy independent, lowering inflation, and defending the Second Amendment. Mullin said, “I entered the race for Senate because the people of Oklahoma deserve a Senator who will fight for their conservative values. I am a Christian, a family man and a proud supporter of President Trump and I will always fight for the America First policies that Oklahomans have been desperately missing during Joe Biden’s failed time in office.”
Shannon is the CEO of Chickasaw Community Bank in Oklahoma City. He previously served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014. Shannon campaigned on opposing taxpayer-funded abortion, protecting the U.S. Constitution, and lowering taxes to create jobs. Shannon said he was running to “push back against this woke agenda” because “what made this country great is our constitution, capitalism and Christianity, and all three of those are under attack.” Former Vice Presidential and current U.S. House candidate Sarah Palin (R) endorsed Shannon.
Dahm is a member of the Oklahoma State Senate, a position to which he was first elected in 2011. Dahm campaigned on election integrity, protecting the Second Amendment, and term limits for members of U.S. Congress. Dahm said, “I’m running for the United States Senate because, like you, I am tired of the spineless politicians who turned their backs on President Donald J. Trump. We need proven Republican fighters, and I’ve proven I’ll never back down.” U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R) endorsed Dahm.
Holland was Inhofe’s chief of staff until he resigned in February 2022 to run for U.S. Senate. He began working with Inhofe in 2009 as a staff assistant. Holland campaigned on standing up to China and stopping what he described as a rush to socialism. Holland said, “As your next senator, I will continue the Inhofe legacy of defending our Christian values, fighting socialism, rebuilding our military and standing up to China.” Inhofe endorsed Holland.
Pruitt served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under former President Donald Trump (R) from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Oklahoma Attorney General from 2011 to 2017. He campaigned on energy independence, securing the border, fighting what he calls Big Tech, and stopping inflation. Pruitt said: “I think Oklahomans know that I’m going to fight for their values, I think they know that I exhibited courage in working with the president historically to get things done and I think they know that I’ve also engaged in leadership and civility. I believe very strongly that we’ll have the resources that we need.” Former Secretary of Energy and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry (R) endorsed Pruitt.
Alex Gray, Randy Grellner, Adam Holley, Laura Moreno, Paul Royse, and John Tompkins also ran in the election.
As of June 29, 2022, 16 special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.