TULSA - Current US Senator Tom Coburn, whose retirement has sparked a fiercely competitive race to become his replacement, has issued a statement condemning negative advertisements being run by the T. W. Shannon campaign.
In underlined, bold type the written statement sent to KRMG says, in part: "The current political advertisements by groups such as Senate Conservatives Fund and Oklahomans for a Conservative Future supporting T.W. Shannon have crossed an important line- they simply aren't truthful and they mischaracterize James Lankford's service in Congress."
Earlier Thursday afternoon, the James Lankford campaign also addressed the attack ads being aired on Shannon's behalf.
In it, Lankford says "I am opposed to negative ads. I agree with Dr. Coburn that a campaign should be about a candidates own ideas and not disparaging his opponent. I think all of these outside groups should end the negative ads. I remain disappointed that my opponent has not called on these groups to stop their untruthful attacks on my campaign, but he has now added his voice to those attacks through his own campaign's television ads and direct mail hit pieces."
Here is the entire text of Coburn's statement, with original emphasis included:
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) made the following statement today regarding the U.S. Senate special election in Oklahoma:
"As I prepare to leave public office at the end of the current Congress and return to private life, I have the great luxury of being a spectator during this election season by not seeking office or preparing to serve in the new Congress beginning next year. It is something I have looked forward to for a long time. The truth is, I don't much care for political campaigns. They are dominated by career politicians and their operatives who have created a perverse but lucrative professional political industry.
"As I watch the special election for the U.S. Senate unfold in our state, I see this political economy in its very worst form with misleading advertisements and allegations against candidates.
"I have come to know James Lankford in his short but very productive time in Washington, and I know he is a man of absolute integrity. We haven't always agreed but he is one of the most honest, thoughtful and sincere men I have met in my time in Washington. He has life experience and a perspective outside the career political bubble by which to make good decisions. He has fought an often lonely battle against the status quo and has dedicated himself to the hard work of oversight of federal agencies.
"The current political advertisements by groups such as Senate Conservatives Fund and Oklahomans for a Conservative Future supporting T.W. Shannon have crossed an important line- they simply aren't truthful and they mischaracterize James Lankford's service in Congress.
"Trust is absolutely paramount in our republic. The great tension in our country today, for Republicans and Democrats, is that voters no longer trust their elected officials to do the right thing. That bond of trust is born during elections, and it is a powerful responsibility.
"As a voter, I believe the conduct of a campaign is a critical test of how a man or woman values this great trust. How someone runs a campaign says a lot about how that person would govern."