TULSA - Early on, polls showed Congressman James Lankford with a fairly commanding lead in the race to replace outgoing US Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma.
But former House Speaker T. W. Shannon picked up some national endorsements, and that has tightened the poll numbers considerably.
But if Lankford's concerned about polls and national endorsements, he didn't let on in a recent conversation with KRMG during a campaign stop in Tulsa.
He addressed his busy schedule, acknowledging that his plate is definitely full.
"A lot of face to face, we're spending a lot of time on the road, my days are very long," he said.
Besides running a national Senate race, he's holding down another full-time job representing Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District.
"I still have a job and a responsibility to still represent central Oklahoma in Congress. I'm going to continue to do that," he said.
Shannon has taken heat for his lack of participation in state government; though he resigned as Speakre, he's still in the Oklahoma House.
Some critics have warned against counting out a possible dark horse in the race, former Republican State Senator Randy Brogdon.
While he's not raised the money the two top candidates have, he does have some name recognition after running for governor in 2010.
KRMG asked Lankford what he thinks will lift him above the field in the June 24 primary.
"People want to know what's gonna happen with the debt long term, and how we actually solve it. Every Republican in the race is against the debt, we've gotta actually have someone who has a plan to try to get us out of this. Same thing with Obamacare. It's easy to say 'I'm against Obamacare,' because that's the simple thing in any Republican primary. We've gotta figure out what do we actually do in that situation? How do we actually fix that?"
He says he has a plan, and the backing of grass roots conservatives in Oklahoma.
He contrasts that with the national, big-name endorsements being trumpeted by the Shannon campaign.
"Typically, Oklahomans don't like someone from Washington, D. C. coming in to tell them how to vote. They want to say 'I want to look at that person in the eye, I want to evaluate them myself. I want to know somebody that knows them, or I want to know them.' That's the way we are, it may not be that way in every state, some states like celebrities. We tend to not like celebrities, we like people that are going to do the work."