Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) has decided not to run for Senate in Oklahoma, disappointing outside tea party groups that had strongly encouraged the conservative favorite to jump into the primary for outgoing Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) Senate seat.
“After giving this matter serious consideration and prayer, my family and I have decided I will not to run in the special election to complete Dr. Coburn’s term,” Bridenstine said in a statement. “I would like to thank my faithful supporters who have provided so much encouragement. Their extraordinary outpouring of support strengthens my resolve to continue our efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
The powerful Senate Conservatives Fund, in particular, had strongly encouraged Bridenstine to run. Conservative groups have refrained from falling behind other potential or declared candidates in the special election including Rep. James Lankford (R-OK), who has already jumped into the race.
Lankford isn’t the only Republican in the primary though. Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon and Oklahoma City businessman Eric McCray also jumped into the race, giving conservatives an alternative to Lankford.