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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Friday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe announced his resignation set for January 3rd, 2023, leaving behind a long political career dating back to 1967.

Inhofe made the announcement over the phone at the Oklahoma History Center due to having a “mild case of COVID.”

The Republican Senator is set to step away from his seat and step into retirement. He served in both the U.S. and Oklahoma state congress on multiple committees. He was also the Tulsa mayor between 1978 and 1984.

“I will be leaving the United States Senate on the third of the 3rd of January,” Inhofe said over the phone at the news conference for his announcement.

Inhofe is 87 years old and has been a U.S. Senator since 1994 – almost 30 years.

“My wife and I have been doing this for a long period of time,” Inhofe said. “We have some other things we need to be doing at this point in our lives and so we’re going to do that.”

“We have to get out of this position and enjoy the ranks of all the rest of you who are out there making a living,” Inhofe continued.

The announcement will also spark a special election for this year under Oklahoma law.

Inhofe had to phone-in his announcement as a man stood behind a podium. That man is Luke Holland. He has worked under Inhofe over the past 12 years, being his chief of staff for 5 of those.

Holland resigned that position last night to run for his boss’s Senate seat with the endorsement of Inhofe.

“Sir, thank you so much for your service to the state,” Holland said. “Thank you so much for your endorsement. I can’t think of anyone who I would be more honored to have the endorsement of than you.”

Inhofe’s move to step down triggers a special election in November 2022. Whoever wins will take over the seat to finish Inhofe’s term. They can also run for reelection in 2026.

This all begs the question; how many people will join the field of candidates to fill that seat?

“The reason why I’m running for Senate is because I believe that America is the greatest nation on Earth,” Holland said in his speech after Inhofe’s announcement. “I believe that Oklahoma is the greatest state in the nation.”

We reached out to several people asking if they plan to run for the seat.

Some of them, like Congressman Frank Lucas and Governor Kevin Stitt, said no. However, Congressmen Kevin Hern and Markwayne Mullin are potential candidates and have left that door open.

A spokesperson for Hern said he plans to spend the next several days consulting and praying with his wife to decide if he wants to run or not.

Multiple statements from Oklahoma leaders reacting to Inhofe’s announcement can be read in KFOR’s previous story.