|United States Senator|
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
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2015
|Preceded by||Mary Fallin|
|Succeeded by||Steve Russell|
James Paul Lankford|
March 4, 1968
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
University of Texas at Austin (BS)|
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv)
|Occupation||Christian camp director|
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 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 he was director of the Falls Creek 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 Senate special election to succeed Tom Coburn. He subsequently won the June 2014 primary with 57% of the vote, becoming the Republican nominee for the November election. He won the special election with nearly 68% of the vote, and was elected to the balance of Coburn's term. He also won the seat in 2016.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Camp program director
- 3 U.S. House of Representatives
- 4 U.S. Senate
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Early life and education
Lankford was born March 4, 1968, in Dallas, Texas, the son of Linda Joyce (née House) and James Wesley Lankford. His mother was an elementary school librarian. 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.
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. 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.
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.
U.S. House of Representatives
After two-term incumbent Republican Mary Fallin announced she was giving up her seat to make what would be a successful run for Governor of Oklahoma, Lankford entered the race to succeed her. 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 run off. He then routed Democrat Billy Coyle in the general election, winning with 62.53% of the popular vote.
Lankford defeated Democrat Tom Guild with 59 percent 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.
Lankford supports simple budget austerity through lowering taxes and reducing government spending. He took the taxpayer protection pledge promising to support no new taxes. He supports the repeal of the income and estate taxes and supports a sales tax to tax consumption and not savings or earnings.
Lankford is a supporter of budget austerity and thus supports prioritizing spending if the debt limit is reached and the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge. He also supports a balanced budget amendment and voted to terminate the Home Affordable mortgage Program.
He supports compensatory time-off for overtime workers and received a 100% rating by the CEI, indicating a pro-workplace choice stance.
In 2014 Lankford was endorsed by the National Rifle Association and had an "A" rating for his consistent support of pro-gun legislation. Lankford supports loosening restrictions on interstate gun purchases. 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.
After the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in which the perpetrator used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 AR-15 style rifle to kill seventeen and wound seventeen 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.”
He supports expanding exploration of gas and oil both domestically and on the outer continental shelf. He opposes the EPA regulating emission standards as he believes it hinders economic growth.
In addition to barring the EPA from regulating emission standards, Lankford believes manure and other fertilizers should not be classified as pollutants or hazardous.
Lankford has stated his belief that federally funded healthcare is unconstitutional and has made a statement that he will oppose any and all moves for a federal healthcare system. He supported an initiative to allow Medicare choice and also institute budget cuts.
Lankford opposes abortion. He supports banning all federally funded abortion (note: no federal funds can be used to fund abortions) and believes Congress should recognize life at the moment of fertilization. He opposes any federally funded healthcare or coverage programs that allow for abortion, as well as Planned Parenthood and other similar groups.
Lankford believes marriage is a union between a man and woman. He has also stated that being gay is a choice and should not be protected from workplace discrimination. He said he believes the distinction lies in a person's choice to act on their sexual orientation.
As a Representative, Lankford sponsored 20 bills, including:
- United States House Committee on the Budget
- United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- United States House of Representatives Republican Policy Committee (Chair)
In January 2014, Lankford announced he would run in the 2014 Senate special election to succeed retiring Republican Senator Tom Coburn. Lankford won the June 2014 Republican primary, defeating former state House speaker T.W. Shannon and former state senator Randy Brogdon. 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.
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.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Committee on Indian Affairs
- Select Committee on Intelligence
Lankford has been married to his wife, Cindy, for 25 years. They have two daughters: Hannah and Jordan. He attends Quail Springs Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma's 5th congressional district election, 2010
|Republican primary runoff|
Oklahoma's 5th congressional district election, 2012
|Republican||James Lankford (inc.)||153,603||58.70|
U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma, 2014
|Republican||T. W. Shannon||91,854||34.40|
|Independent||Mark T. Beard||25,965||3.20|
U.S. Senate election in Oklahoma, 2016
|Republican||James Lankford (inc.)||980,892||67.7|
|Independent||Mark T. Beard||27,418||1.89|
- Ryan, John (October 27, 2010). "James Lankford (R)". National Journal. Archived from the original on November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- Scott, RBH. "Our Campaigns – Candidate – James Lankford". Our Campaigns. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- "About | James Lankford". JamesLankford.com. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- Casteel, Chris (November 3, 2010). "Oklahoma elections: Republican James Lankford wins race to succeed Mary Fallin". The Oklahoman. Retrieved November 13, 2013. (subscription required)
- "James Lankford (Republican, district 5)". On the Issues.
- 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.
- "NRA Endorses James Lankford for U.S. Senate in Oklahoma". National Rifle Association. September 12, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- 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.
- Fox, Lauren (February 21, 2018). "Congress wonders if this time will be different for gun control". CNN. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- Schallhorn, Kaitlyn (February 19, 2018). "Florida shooting sparks reactions from Republican senators on gun control". Fox News. Retrieved July 9, 2018.
- "What The Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced A Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans".
- "Rep. Lankford: Being Gay Is A 'Behavior' & a 'Choice Issue'".
- "James Lankford, GOP Rep, Opposes Laws Against Gay Employee Discrimination".
- "Representative Lankford's Legislation". Library of Congress. Retrieved January 26, 2015.
- "Committees and Caucuses". Archived from the original on October 3, 2014. Retrieved September 30, 2014.
- McCalmont, Lucy (January 20, 2014). "James Lankford announces Senate bid". Politico.
- Parti, Tarini (June 24, 2014). "James Lankford wins Okla. GOP Senate nomination outright". Politico. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
- , Oklahoma State Elections Board, November 4, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "Biography Congressman James Lankford". Lankford House website. Archived from the original on November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
- 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.
- U.S. Senator James Lankford official U.S. Senate site
- James Lankford for U.S. Senate
- James Lankford at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Profile at Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at the Library of Congress
- Appearances on C-SPAN
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district
|Party political offices|
| Chair of the House Republican Policy Committee
| Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
| U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Oklahoma
Served alongside: Jim Inhofe
|Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
| United States Senators by seniority