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Lankford reiterates opposition to negative ads

U.S. Rep. James Lankford doesn’t like negative ads running against his opponents any more than he does against himself.

So said the U.S. Senate candidate on Tuesday as a dark money group backing him retaliated against groups backing state Rep. T.W. Shannon. The pro-Lankford group, Foundation for Economic Prosperity, recently launched an ad praising Lankford and making vague allegations about a couple of votes cast by Shannon in the state House.

Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, and Shannon, R-Lawton, are vying for the GOP nomination to replace U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, who is stepping down at the end of the congressional session.

The primary is June 24.

When pro-Shannon groups ran ads against Lankford, Shannon called on the groups to stick to the issues. Shannon then ran an ad criticizing Lankford for voting to raise the debt ceiling. Shannon said last week that he focused on the debt votes because they drew a contrast between  the two candidates.

Coburn came out strongly last week against the negative ads being run by pro-Shannon groups. And former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts, who has endorsed Shannon, came out against the negative ads against Shannon.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lankford said, “My campaign has stated publicly, privately and in numerous media releases for months that we do not approve of any negative ad campaigns attacking other Republicans.

“Today, we are making that fact clear again. Our campaign has not released any ‘comparison’ ads, negative ads or attack ads, period. Last week Dr. Tom Coburn best described the current climate among political campaigns when he said, ‘They are dominated by career politicians and their operatives who have created a perverse but lucrative professional political industry.’ I couldn’t agree more.

“Four months ago, our campaign team determined that we would work to establish higher ground for all campaigns in Oklahoma. We will continue to keep that commitment.”


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Chris Casteel

Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. Casteel covered the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City. From 1990 through 2016, he was the... Read more ›