U.S. Rep. James Lankford has clinched the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat left open by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn's resignation.
Lankford defeated six challengers including Oklahoma Hose speaker T.W. Shannon and Randy Brogdon. A two-term congressman and Baptist minister from Edmond, 46-year-old Lankford faced a fierce challenge from tea party-backed Shannon. Last year, Shannon became both the youngest and the first African-American speaker of the House.
By capturing more than 50 percent of the vote Tuesday in the seven-man GOP primary field, Lankford avoids a runoff and faces the Democratic nominee and an independent in November.
Lankford stepped into the political scene when he won the U.S. House seat in 2010. He was then re-elected in 2012, the only member of Oklahoma's House delegation to not face a GOP primary opponent that year.
Three Democrats are also on the primary ballot but Oklahoma has not elected a Democrat to an open senate seat since 1978.
Coburn had two years remaining in his term when he announced that he would vacate his seat in December of last year. The state's other senator, James Inhofe, also was on the ballot and easily won his GOP primary.