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Watch Now: Inhofe wins fifth Senate term, says it will be his last
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Watch Now: Inhofe wins fifth Senate term, says it will be his last

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Republican Watch Party

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe makes remarks at a Republican Party watch party at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Broken Arrow on Tuesday.

Election 2020: Sen. Inhofe speaks to the crowd at the Tulsa County GOP Watch Party in Broken Arrow.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe won his fifth — and he says final — full term on Tuesday, defeating Democratic challenger Abby Broyles and three others.

Inhofe, who turns 86 in a few weeks, said this will be his last term.

“You mean am I gonna do this again?” Inhofe said when asked if would run again. “No? You heard it here.”

Inhofe was first elected to public office in 1966, and has been in 51 elections of various kinds since. He’s won all but three, last losing in 1984 — six years before Broyles was born.

Inhofe was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives two years later, and to the Senate in a 1994 special election. He has already served longer in federal office than anyone in state history.

Inhofe took some flak for avoiding Broyles — or even mentioning her name — in public debate. Tuesday he offered no apologies.

“I did have formidable opposition,” he said. “You need to know something because it’s no wonder that she wanted a joint event. A joint event is how a challenger gets attention. You have a joint event and all of a sudden there are 25% more people watching than would be watching otherwise. You don’t wanna do that. But everything turned out fine.”

Broyles put up a good fight and had a 45,500-vote advantage in mail-in absentee ballots but could not overcome Inhofe’s name or an advertising campaign that labeled her a tax-and-spend liberal out to get the oil and gas industry.

In the end she got no closer than any of Inhofe’s other Senate opponents, losing 63%-33% with the remaining 4% spread among the other four candidates.

Broyles indicated her annoyance with the characterization during a stop in Tulsa Tuesday morning.

“One of the most surprising things is how often I can be called a socialist on TV,” said Broyles, who actually comes from a conservative background.

“I didn’t expect to be compared so much to the national party platformers,” she said. “I’m a very moderate Democrat. There are definitely areas I would break with my party.

“When there’s an attack ad every commercial break accusing me of things I’ve never talked about, people get scared,” said Broyles.


Gallery: Voters line up on Election Day in Tulsa

— World staff writer Samantha Vicent contributed to this story.

randy.krehbiel@tulsaworld.com

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