Feb 25, 2022 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Inhofe says he will retire at end of year

Armed Services Committee ranking member Senator Jim Inhofe speaks  on Capitol Hill January 19, 2022, in Washington, DC
Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks on Capitol Hill on Jan. 19. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) announced Friday that he will retire at the end of the year.

The big picture: Inhofe's retirement will likely fuel an intense campaign among Oklahoma Republicans to replace the vacant seat.

  • Oklahoma law requires the governor to call a special election if a lawmaker announces their retirement before March 1, AP reports.
  • A special election for Inhofe's seat will be held concurrently with the statewide primary, runoff and general election, per AP.

Driving the news: "Throughout our years there has been one constant — making the world safer and better for our 20 kids and grandkids and the next generation of Oklahomans. It is now time for that next generation of Oklahomans to have the opportunity to serve the state in the U.S. Senate," Inhofe said in a statement.

  • "Today's announcement is not the end of the road. I have work yet to do for Oklahomans over these next nine months, including passing the National Defense Authorization Act and holding the Biden administration accountable," he added.
  • Inhofe, first elected in 1994, has missed more votes than usual and in December said that his wife has been sick, Politico reports.

What they're saying: "For the past thirty-five years, my friend Jim Inhofe has been one of his fellow Oklahomans' fiercest advocates here in Washington," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.

  • "[W]hile the Senate will miss one of its foremost experts on defense policy, I am glad our friend will continue to serve with us through the end of this Congress."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details throughout.

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