Jul 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Oklahoma GOP chair backs Lankford's primary challenger

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) speaks about his opposition to the "For The People Act" on June 17, 2021.
Sen.James Lankford speaks about his opposition to the "For The People Act" on June 17. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The chair of Oklahoma's Republican Party is backing a primary challenger against Sen. James Lankford (R), at least in part because Lankford did not object to the results of the 2020 presidential election, according to Tulsa World.

The big picture: After a June 26 rally, Oklahoma GOP chair John Bennett told reporters that Lankford’s decision not to object to the results of the 2020 presidential election was proof that the senator couldn’t keep promises made to constituents, per The Oklahoman.

Driving the news: Bennett, who was elected as party chair on April 10, spoke at a rally organized by Lankford's GOP challenger, Jackson Lahmeyer, a Trump ally and pastor in Tulsa.

  • Lahmeyer has promoted the false notion that the 2020 election was rigged, writing on Twitter yesterday: "What happened on January 6, 2021 doesn’t change what happened on November 3, 2020. Period."
  • Bennett said that being a Republican doesn't make someone "the right pick" in explaining his reasoning for supporting Lahmeyer.
  • Bennett has said that he is supporting Lahmeyer as an individual, not in his capacity as GOP chair.

What he's saying: "It’s more unheard of than it is rare," Lankford said of Bennett supporting Lahmeyer. "I’d say it’s highly unusual for a state party chair in any state in America to come out and say, ‘I’m not going to at least be neutral.'"

  • "Obviously the state party makes their own decisions on what they want to be able to do. But every state party chairman I’ve ever talked to has … at a minimum — it’s always just remain neutral," Lankford said.

Go deeper: At least a third of GOP midterm candidates have pushed Trump's election lie

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