A Tulsa pastor intends to challenge Senator James Lankford (R-OK) for the Republican nomination in 2022 after Lankford changed his mind and refused to object to President Joe Biden’s Electoral College win.
Jackson Lahmeyer is pastor of Sheridan Christian Center and also runs several businesses in the state. He confirmed on Tuesday that he will mount a primary challenge to Lankford, according to the Associated Press (AP).
He’s already won the endorsement of former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The retired lieutenant general pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI twice and was later pardoned by former President Donald Trump. He’ll travel to Tulsa next week to formally back Lahmeyer.
Lahmeyer is originally from Oklahoma’s Rogers County and currently lives in Owasso, a city that straddles Rogers and Tulsa counties.
He spoke to InsideOwasso.Com on Tuesday about his candidacy and was critical of Lankford, citing the senator’s reaction to accusations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
“Everywhere I go, I hear one thing from Oklahomans that say ‘I helped James Lankford get into office, and I’m going to help him get out of office,” Lahmeyer said. “Our state is very upset with the senator we have.”
Lahymeyer told InsideOwasso.Com that Lankford’s response to claims of voter fraud in 2020—which are unsubstantiated and have been repeatedly rejected by the courts—were part of the reason he’s choosing to run. He also cited Lankford’s support of a bill to replace Columbus Day.
“I started to watch James Lankford and I was not impressed with what I saw. James is a good guy, but he is a weak leader,” Lahmeyer said. “He is just not strong, and right now we need strong leaders that are going to fight for this country.”
“When I see these things from the cancel culture to just not being strong, that is what really spurred the conversation with other people that I believed God is leading me to do this, and the question of what it would look like to run for the U.S. Senate.
“As things started falling in line, I decided to make it public with my wife pushing me. I was going to keep it private for a little bit longer, but she said, ‘Lets get out and do this thing.'”
Lankford had initially said he would vote to object to Biden’s Electoral College wins in some states on January 6 but following the Capitol riot that left five people dead, he changed tack and did not vote with the objectors. In the end, just two states—Arizona and Pennsylvania—were subject to the unsuccessful objections.
The senator later issued a letter of apology to his Black constituents for considering objecting, saying what he “did not realize was all of the national conversation about states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, was seen as casting doubt on the validity of votes coming out of predominantly Black communities like Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Detroit.”
Lankford voted to acquit former President Trump in his second impeachment trial. He won the 2016 GOP Senate nomination in Oklahoma unopposed and went on to win the November election with 67.7 percent of the vote.