Congressman Tom Cole with members of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma
WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Cole (Oklahoma-04), who is a tribal citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, has decided against running in the special election for the United States Senate seat that will be vacated by Republican Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma who surprised Oklahoma citizens with an announcement this past Thursday that he retire from the U.S. Senate at the end of 2014 with two years left of his term.
Speculation on whether or not Congressman Cole would run mounted soon after the Coburn announcement.
His Washington office told the Native News Online late Friday afternoon that out of respect for Senator Coburn, Congressman Cole would not comment on whether or not he would seek the seat in a special election that will coincide with this fall’s Congressional election in November.
Congressman Cole released the following statement about his potential candidacy in the U.S. Senate special election on Sunday evening:
“Since Senator Tom Coburn announced last week that he will retire before the end of his second term, there has been a great deal of speculation about which Republicans might run for the seat,” said Cole. “I am very flattered to be among those mentioned, as any Oklahoma Republican would be honored to succeed someone as distinguished as Tom Coburn.
“After considerable thought, however, I have decided not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. My seniority, my membership on three major committees, my position as a subcommittee chairman on the Appropriations Committee and my role as a Deputy Whip in the Republican Conference make me much more valuable to Oklahoma and the Fourth District in the House than I could be as a freshman U.S. Senator.
“I am certain that many worthy Republicans will seek Senator Coburn’s seat. In the days ahead, I look forward helping nominate and elect another well-qualified conservative, who will represent Oklahoma in the United States Senate with the same integrity and distinction that Senator Coburn has exhibited throughout his illustrious career.”