The race for Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District seat is heating up. Current politicians along with political newcomers are throwing their hats into the ring in an attempt to succeed current U.S. Rep. James Lankford, who announced Monday he will run for U.S. Senate.
The flood gates opened wide one day after the Oklahoma City Republican announced he will run to fill U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's soon-to-be open seat. As of late Tuesday, four Republicans and six Democrats were in the race.
Of the six Democrats, three were already running with intentions to challenge Lankford for a re-election attempt. Those three include former University of Central Oklahoma professor Tom Guild. Guild grew up in Tulsa and has ran for the Fifth District seat in the past. Pastor Marilyn Rainwater, from Seminole, is no stranger to campaigns for state office. Rainwater is retired from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Political newcomer Keith Davenport is also in the race, calling himself a moderate Democrat.
"We feel like [this race] gives the Democratic Party a great opportunity to not only hold some seats that we already had but pick up some additional seats," said Wallace Collins, Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman.
New to the race for the Democrats are three current state lawmakers including State Sen. Al McAffrey, who is a funeral director from Sulphur. Oklahoma House Democratic Minority Leader Scott Inman is a lawyer from Del City. State Rep. Anastasia Pittman represents part of Northeast Oklahoma City. She has a background in journalism.
The race is also stacking up for the GOP with four candidates.
"We run to win, and we run like we're five points down when we do so," said Dave Weston, Oklahoma Republican Party chairman.
State Sen. Clark Jolley is a staffer at Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond. Also from Edmond is current Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, who previously served as a former mayor of the northern suburb. Former State Rep. Shane Jett, who is a current Navy officer is from the Shawnee area. Late Tuesday, former State Sen. Steve Russell, who is a retired Army officer said he too is running.