Oklahoma will hold special election to fill Coburn’s U.S. Senate seat after retirement

Sen. Tom Coburn

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin has just announced a special election will be held to fill U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn’s seat.

Sen. Coburn announced he is retiring early Thursday.

Gov. Fallin said the special election will be on the same dates as Oklahoma’s regularly scheduled elections.

The primary is June 24, a potential runoff would be Aug. 26 and the general election is Nov. 4.

“His consistent, relentless advocacy for responsible spending and deficit reduction has earned him respect from men and women on both sides of the aisle,” Gov. Fallin said. “Agree with him or not, there is never any doubt where Tom Coburn stands on the issues. He is as impressive a public servant as they come, and I am sure we have not heard the last from him. While I am sorry to see the Senate lose one of this country’s great statesmen, I am happy that Tom can now spend more time with his family and focus on other opportunities.”

President Obama released the following statement, regarding Coburn’s retirements, “

Those of us who have had the privilege of serving with Tom Coburn will be sad to lose him as a colleague here in Washington.  Tom and I entered the Senate at the same time, becoming friends after our wives struck up a conversation at an orientation dinner.  And even though we haven’t always agreed politically, we’ve found ways to work together – to make government more transparent, cut down on earmarks, and fight to reduce wasteful spending and make our tax system fairer.  The people of Oklahoma have been well-served by this “country doctor from Muskogee” over the past nine years, and I’m confident that Tom’s strength and optimism will carry him through the battles to come.  Michelle and I will always be grateful to Tom and Carolyn for their friendship, and we wish them all the best in all the years ahead.”

In November Sen. Coburn confirmed he was battling cancer for the fourth time.

Coburn’s spokesperson said he was undergoing treatment for prostate cancer after a reccurance that caused him to have surgery in 2011.

Coburn, 65, was first diagnosed with cancer in 1975, malignant melanoma.

In 2003 he was diagnosed again but with colon cancer.