Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon making name for himself

Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon has a potent political combination of minority heritage, conservative ideas and a smooth presence. JOHN CLANTON / Tulsa World

Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon will declare his candidacy for the U.S. Senate at an 8 a.m. Wednesday press conference in Tulsa.

Shannon's plans to formally enter the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Coburn were confirmed Tuesday shortly before he emailed the Republican members of the House to inform them of his decision.

Shannon said he will not resign as speaker immediately. He suggests, but does not explicitly state, that he is likely to step down eventually.

"I will remain Speaker for the time being," reads Shannon's email. "I am not stepping down immediately because I want to ensure a smooth transition that does not disrupt the important business of the state, nor distract from the legislative goals of our Caucus. I will be working with our leadership team, and the Caucus as a whole, to determine the appropriate timing and nature of the transition."

Under House Republican rules, the GOP caucus would vote on Shannon's replacement, with a vote of the full House to follow. The process would take at least five days, those familiar with the situation say.

Shannon will be the third Republican to enter the race to succeed Sen. Tom Coburn. Also announced are 5th District U.S. Rep. James Lankford and Jason Weger, a 31-year-old Norman paramedic.

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine is also considering the race.

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