James Lankford Article

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James Lankford
James Lankford official Senate photo.jpg
United States Senator
from Oklahoma
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Serving with Jim Inhofe
Preceded by Tom Coburn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 5th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2015
Preceded by Mary Fallin
Succeeded by Steve Russell
Personal details
James Paul Lankford

(1968-03-04) March 4, 1968 (age 50)
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Cindy Hennessey ( m. 1992)
Education University of Texas at Austin ( BS)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary ( MDiv)
OccupationChristian camp director
Website Senate website

James Paul Lankford (born March 4, 1968) is an American politician serving as the junior United States Senator from Oklahoma since 2015. A member of the Republican Party, he previously served as the U.S. Representative for Oklahoma's 5th congressional district from 2011 to 2015.

From 1996 to 2009, Lankford was the student ministries and evangelism specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma and director of the youth programming at the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center in Davis, Oklahoma. He stepped down on September 1, 2009, to run for Congress.

In January 2014, Lankford announced he would run in the 2014 U.S. Senate special election to succeed fellow Republican Tom Coburn. He won the June 2014 primary with 57% of the vote, becoming the Republican nominee. He won the special election with nearly 68% of the vote and was elected to the balance of Coburn's term. He was reelected in 2016 with again nearly 68% of the vote.

Early life and education

Lankford was born March 4, 1968, in Dallas, Texas, [1] the son of Linda Joyce (née House) and James Wesley Lankford. [2] [3] His mother was an elementary school librarian. [4] His maternal grandparents owned a small dry-cleaning business, his father and paternal grandparents a dairy farm. His stepfather was a career employee of AC Delco, the parts division of General Motors. [5]

His parents divorced when he was four; his mother and older brother and he lived for a time in his grandparents' garage apartment. He became a Christian at eight. His mother remarried when he was twelve, and the family moved to Garland with his stepfather. [4] Lankford attended Lakeview Centennial High School in Garland. While at Lakeview Lankford participated in the Close Up Washington civic education program. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education (specializing in Speech and History) at University of Texas at Austin in 1990, and a master's degree in Divinity at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1994. [4]

Camp program director

After graduating, he moved to Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma City, where he still lives today. He served with the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He became the program director of Falls Creek, the largest Christian camp in the U.S. [6]

U.S. House of Representatives


2010 election

After two-term incumbent Republican Mary Fallin announced she was giving up her seat to run for governor of Oklahoma, Lankford entered the race to succeed her. [1] He finished first in a seven-way Republican primary—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—and defeated former State Representative Kevin Calvey in the runoff.[ citation needed] He then defeated Democrat Billy Coyle in the general election with 62.53% of the vote. [4] [7] [1]

2012 election

Lankford defeated Democrat Tom Guild with 59% of the vote. Following the election, he was named chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, the fifth-ranking position in the House Republican caucus. This is a senior position for a second-term House member.

Political positions


Lankford supports budget austerity through lowering taxes and reducing government spending. [8] He took the taxpayer protection pledge promising to support no new taxes. [8] He supports the repeal of the income and estate taxes and supports a sales tax to tax consumption and not savings or earnings. [8]


Lankford supports prioritizing spending cuts if the debt limit is reached and the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge. [8] He also supports a balanced budget amendment and voted to terminate the Home Affordable mortgage Program. [8]


He supports compensatory time off for overtime workers and received a 100% rating from the CEI, indicating a pro-workplace choice stance. [8]

Gun rights

In 2014 Lankford was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and had an "A" rating for his consistent support of pro-gun legislation. [9] [10] Lankford supports loosening restrictions on interstate gun purchases. [8] He opposes firearm microstamping, a controversial method of imprinting casings with a unique marking to match it with a specific firearm, and would allow veterans to register unlicensed firearms. [8]

After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in which the perpetrator used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 AR-15 style rifle to kill 17 and wound 17 others, Lankford said on NBC News' Meet the Press he was open to requiring more comprehensive background checks for firearm purchases, saying, "The problem is not owning an AR-15, it’s the person who owns it.” [11] [12] [13]


Lankford supports extending the Patriot Act and expanding roving wiretaps occurring in the US. [8] He supports the prioritization of security, starting with military bases. [8]


He supports expanding exploration of gas and oil both domestically and on the outer continental shelf. [8] He opposes the Environmental Protection Agency regulating emission standards as he believes it hinders economic growth. [8]


In addition to barring the EPA from regulating emission standards, Lankford believes manure and other fertilizers should not be classified as pollutants or hazardous. [8]


Lankford has stated his belief that federally funded health insurance is unconstitutional and has made a statement that he will oppose any and all moves for a federal healthcare system. [8] He supported an initiative to allow Medicare choice and also institute budget cuts. [8]


Lankford opposes abortion. [8] He believes Congress should recognize life at the moment of fertilization. [8] He opposes any federally funded programs that allow for abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood and other similar groups. [8]

LGBT issues

Lankford believes marriage is a union between a man and woman. He has also said that being gay is a choice [14] [15] and that gay people should not be protected from workplace discrimination. [16] After LGBT groups denounced him for the remarks, Lankford appeared on KOTV-DT and defended his comments, reiterating his belief that homosexuality is a choice. [17]


As a Representative, Lankford sponsored 20 bills, including: [18]

Committee assignments

U.S. Senate

2014 election

In January 2014, Lankford announced he would run in the 2014 Senate special election to succeed retiring Republican Senator Tom Coburn. [20] Lankford won the June 2014 Republican primary, defeating former state House speaker T.W. Shannon and former state senator Randy Brogdon. [21] Lankford won the election for the final two years of Coburn's second term, defeating retiring state senator Constance N. Johnson by a margin of 557,002, 67.9%, to Johnson's 237,923, 29.0%, with independent candidate Mark Beard collecting 25,965 votes, 3.2% of the total. [22]

2016 election

Lankford was elected to a full six-year term in the Senate at the 2016 Oklahoma United States Senate election, defeating Democratic consultant Mike Workman with 67.7 percent of the vote. As in 2014, he won in a landslide, carrying every county in the state.


Lankford was sworn into office on January 6, 2015, by Vice President Joe Biden.

Committee assignments

Personal life

Lankford has been married to his wife, Cindy, for 25 years. [23] They have two daughters, Hannah and Jordan. [23] He attends Quail Springs Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma City. [24]

Electoral history

Oklahoma's 5th congressional district election, 2010

Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford 18,760 33.58
Republican Kevin Calvey 18,147 32.48
Republican Mike Thompson 10,008 17.91
Republican Shane Jett 5,956 10.66
Republican Johnny Roy 1,548 2.77
Republican Rick Flanigan 762 1.36
Republican Harry Johnson 686 1.23
Total 55,867 100
Republican primary runoff
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford 29,817 65.22
Republican Kevin Calvey 15,902 34.78
Total 45,719 100
General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford 123,236 62.52
Democratic Billy Coyle 68,074 34.54
Independent Clark Duffe 3,067 1.56
Independent Dave White 2,728 1.38
Total 197,105 100
Republican hold

Oklahoma's 5th congressional district election, 2012

General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford ( inc.) 153,603 58.70
Democratic Tom Guild 97,504 37.30
Independent Pat Martin 5,394 2.10
Independent Robert Murphy 5,176 2.00
Total 261,677 100
Republican hold

U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma, 2014

Republican primary
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford 152,749 57.20
Republican T. W. Shannon 91,854 34.40
Republican Randy Brogdon 12,934 4.80
Republican Kevin Crow 2,828 1.10
Republican Andy Craig 2,427 0.90
Republican Eric McCray 2,272 0.90
Republican Jason Weger 1,794 0.70
Total 266,858 100
General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford 557,002 67.90
Democratic Connie Johnson 237,923 29.00
Independent Mark T. Beard 25,965 3.20
Total 820,890 100
Republican hold

U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma, 2016

General election
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican James Lankford ( inc.) 980,892 67.7
Democratic Mike Workman 355,911 24.58
Libertarian Robert Murphy 43,421 3.00
Independent Sean Braddy 40,405 2.79
Independent Mark T. Beard 27,418 1.89
Total 1,448,047 100.00
Republican hold


  1. ^ a b c Ryan, John (October 27, 2010). "James Lankford (R)". National Journal. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  2. ^ https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V88S-548
  3. ^ http://robbinsandestes.genealogyvillage.com/house.html
  4. ^ a b c d Barone, Michael; Chuck McCutcheon (2011). The Almanac of American Politics 2012. Washington, D.C.: National Journal Group. pp. 1331–1333. ISBN  978-0-226-03807-0.
  5. ^ Scott, RBH. "Our Campaigns – Candidate – James Lankford". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  6. ^ "About | James Lankford". JamesLankford.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
  7. ^ Casteel, Chris (November 3, 2010). "Oklahoma elections: Republican James Lankford wins race to succeed Mary Fallin". The Oklahoman. Retrieved November 13, 2013. (subscription required)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "James Lankford (Republican, district 5)". On the Issues.
  9. ^ Eaton, Joshua (June 13, 2016). "10 Politicians Who Are Praying for the Orlando Victims And Have Taken Money From the NRA". Teen Vogue. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  10. ^ "NRA Endorses James Lankford for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma". National Rifle Association. September 12, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  11. ^ Koenig, Kailani (February 18, 2018). "GOP Sen. Lankford has 'no issue' with stronger gun background checks". Meet the Press. NBC News. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  12. ^ Fox, Lauren (February 21, 2018). "Congress wonders if this time will be different for gun control". CNN. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  13. ^ Schallhorn, Kaitlyn (February 19, 2018). "Florida shooting sparks reactions from Republican senators on gun control". Fox News. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "What The Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced A Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans".
  15. ^ "Rep. Lankford: Being Gay Is A 'Behavior' & a 'Choice Issue'".
  16. ^ "James Lankford, GOP Rep, Opposes Laws Against Gay Employee Discrimination".
  17. ^ "Oklahoma Rep. James Lankford Under Fire For Comments On Sexual Orientation". KOTV-DT. 15 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Representative Lankford's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "Committees and Caucuses". Archived from the original on October 3, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
  20. ^ McCalmont, Lucy (January 20, 2014). "James Lankford announces Senate bid". Politico.
  21. ^ Parti, Tarini (June 24, 2014). "James Lankford wins Okla. GOP Senate nomination outright". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  22. ^ [1], Oklahoma State Elections Board, November 4, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
  23. ^ a b "Biography Congressman James Lankford". Lankford House website. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  24. ^ Staff (January 5, 2011). "Ten Southern Baptists sworn in as new reps". Baptist Press. Archived from the original on December 26, 2014. Retrieved December 25, 2014.

External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mary Fallin
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district

Succeeded by
Steve Russell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Tom Price
Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
Succeeded by
Luke Messer
Preceded by
Tom Coburn
Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
( Class 3)

2014, 2016
Most recent
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Tom Coburn
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Oklahoma
Served alongside: Jim Inhofe
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Cory Gardner
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Tom Cotton