The Senate Conservatives Fund announced Monday that it won’t endorse Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) in the Republican primary to succeed Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
“We won’t support Congressman Lankford’s bid for the Senate because of his past votes to increase the debt limit, raise taxes, and fund Obamacare,” the group’s Executive Director Matt Hoskins said in a statement. “We have reviewed his record and it’s clear that conservatives cannot count on him to fight for their principles.”
SCF’s statement comes a few hours before Lankford is reportedly scheduled to announce his candidacy for the Senate. The statement also marks a problem Lankford might have. Lankford has a 78 percent lifetime rating from the Club for Growth, much lower than Coburn’s 96 percent. Club for Growth has already indicated it’s unlikely to back Lankford.
The Senate Conservatives Fund has strongly encouraged Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), a tea party favorite who defeated Rep. Jim Sullivan in the Republican primary in 2012, to run for Coburn’s seat.
“We must do everything we can to elect a true conservative in Oklahoma who will fight for our principles,” Hoskins wrote in a separate email on Saturday. “It’s not clear yet which candidates will run for the seat, but we hope U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) will consider it.”