The Washington Examiner reports that Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is expected to announce his retirement next week.
What’s more is that Inhofe is expected to retire before his six-year Senate term is up, meaning that a special election will likely take place this year to pick his replacement.
The 87-year-old Inhofe was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and he has been a fixture in Oklahoma politics for a long time. Now, his retirement announcement is expected to be made on Monday.
What we don’t know yet is why Inhofe has decided to call it quits now. The Washington Times might have part of the explanation.
The outlet, citing an anonymous insider, reports:
The timing of the announcement is related to a quirk in Oklahoma law that requires the governor to call a special election if a lawmaker announces they intend to retire before March 1. Inhofe’s chief of staff is expected to run for the Senate seat and Inhofe is expected to support his candidacy, the person said.
That explains the timing.
But, what it doesn’t explain is the exact reason for the retirement, which will come in only year two of the six-year term that he was elected to in 2020.
What to expect:
If these reports about Inhofe’s retirement are true, then a special election will take place later this year. Republicans will be heavily favored to retain the seat, which hasn’t been occupied by a Democrat since 1990.
The New York Times’s Jonathan Martin believes that Inhofe’s retirement “would trigger an intense campaign among Repubs in a red state where Senate seats don’t come along too often.”
Martin went on to list some of the Republicans who would be most likely to run for Inhofe’s seat. “Here’s who to watch,” he wrote:
@LtGovPinnell, former RNC member and eager to move. @TWShannon, former state house speaker. ran and lost to Lankford for the other Senate seat in 2014. Every member of the House delegation except the fella who could be House Approps chair before long
Whoever wins this special election will get to serve out the remaining four years of Inhofe’s term.
Inhofe is expected to remain in Congress throughout the remainder of 2022.