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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe announced in a news conference Friday afternoon that he will retire from the U.S. Senate effective January 3, 2023. Sen. Inhofe also publicly endorsed Luke Holland for U.S. Senate, who is his current Chief of Staff.

Sen. Inhofe joined the news conference via a phone call due to a, “mild case of Covid,” per Holland.

“Kay and I will be leaving the United States Senate in January of the coming year,” said Sen. Inhofe. “I will be endorsing Luke Holland to replace me. He’s the one who’s qualified to do it and he’s one that I have no doubt in my mind can win.”

Sen. Inhofe cited that he and his wife are ready to step away from public service and enjoy a life of normalcy.

“My wife and I’ve been doing this for a long period of time and we have some other things we need to be doing at this point in our lives and so we’re going to do that, and to do that we have to get out of this position and join the ranks of all the rest of you who are out there making a living,” said Sen. Inhofe.

Sen. Inhofe stated Friday that Holland has, “run the show,” for several years, and therefore will be the right fit to take over.

“Now, it’s important for us to understand that I have one individual, Luke Holland, who’s been not just a good friend of mine for a long period of time, but a very, very knowledgeable person who has been really kind of running our office for a long time…” said Sen. Inhofe. “So I will be leaving office at precisely the same time that he will be gaining office, because he has to, of course, run for office during that time. I’m endorsing Luke Holland and I believe he is the one who without question is the best qualified to carry this out.”

Holland has served as Sen. Inhofe’s Chief of Staff since February 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In a media release sent Friday morning, Holland is touted as a fourth generation Oklahoman with conservative values.

Lawmakers including Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03), Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05) and Governor Kevin Stitt have also released statements regarding Sen. Inhofe’s retirement.

“Cindy and I are deeply grateful for the service and friendship of Jim and Kay Inhofe. The Senate is losing a warrior. His absence will be felt, and he will be missed. But we are thrilled for him and Kay, along with their family, to get more time together in the days ahead.” 

Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

“I look forward to working with my friend Jim Inhofe in the months ahead to advance the interests of our state and our country. But when he retires from the Senate, no one will miss him more, no one will honor him more and no one will celebrate his service more than me. When Jim Inhofe leaves the Senate, America will be losing a great patriot and statesman. Oklahoma will be losing a relentless advocate and defender. And I will be losing a role model, a mentor and a great friend.”

Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04)

“To watch and work with Senator Inhofe is to witness a true statesman. Jim’s work advocating for numerous policies and practices that be believed were worthy of his country has made our entire nation stronger, safer, and has made a loving impact on millions of families across the United States. But we all know Jim takes greatest pride in the many ways he helped his fellow Oklahomans back home. From being a larger-than-life advocate for Oklahoma’s military installations to improving infrastructure across the state, Jim Inhofe has made an impact on Oklahomans that will be felt for generations.”

Congressman Frank Lucas (OK-03)

“I have spoken with Senator Inhofe about his retirement and wish him and Kay all the best as they embark on this new chapter in their lives. Senator Inhofe has been an incredible advocate for Oklahoma, ensuring our military bases continue to thrive and have the resources they need. In addition, he has tirelessly worked to provide for Oklahoma’s infrastructure and transportation needs. As Oklahoma’s senior senator, he has dedicated his life to public service, ensuring Oklahoma’s future is bright. I look forward to gaining more insight and knowledge from him as we continue working together over the next year.”

Congresswoman Stephanie Bice (OK-05)

“Senator Jim Inhofe has served the State of Oklahoma with unwavering devotion. At every turn, Oklahoma has benefited from his profound vision for a strong national military, robust infrastructure system, and vibrant domestic energy production. I am grateful he has committed to serving the state and our nation through the end of 2022.”

Governor Kevin Stitt

Sen. Inhofe was elected to serve another six year term in 2020.

Some names of other potential replacements for Sen. Inhofe include Former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, T.W. Shannon, U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Tulsa and U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, among others.