Markwayne Mullin, former cage fighter who denied the election, closes his seat in the Oklahoma Senate | Oklahoma

A former mixed martial arts fighter who denied the election and was widely criticized for attempting a freelance mission last year to rescue Americans trapped in Afghanistan has won a shot at a US Senate seat since the ‘Oklahoma.

Sitting congressman Markwayne Mullin beat another Donald Trump loyalist and Holocaust denier for their party’s nomination in a special election on Tuesday and will seek to replace longtime senator Jim Inhofe in November.

Mullin, a Westville plumbing company owner, and TW Shannon, a former Oklahoma House speaker and Oklahoma City bank executive, both embraced Trump’s lie that the 2020 presidential election was subject to widespread fraud.

Both were top finishers in a 13-candidate Republican primary in June, but neither passed the 50% threshold needed to win the nomination.

Mullin, who topped that field with nearly 44% of the vote, won Trump’s endorsement shortly after the primary. He has something else in common with the former president: an exaggeration of his own sporting prowess.

The politician who said “I’m not Rambo” after his much-derided attempt to enter Afghanistan with an American private security team, boasts on its website a 5-0 record as a professional mixed martial arts fighter.

The official record of his short-lived career suggests a different story: a total of three wins, two against the same opponent, and a cumulative fight time of less than 10 minutes in less than three rounds.

In the political ring, Mullin will now seek to replace the 87-year-old Inhofe, who is retiring, a staple of Republican politics in Oklahoma since the 1960s and who has held his Senate seat since 1994. Inhofe leaves before the end of his six-year term. , so his replacement will serve four years.

In November, Mullin will be heavily favored to beat former Democratic congresswoman Kendra Horn, as well as an independent candidate and a libertarian. Oklahoma has not elected a Democrat to the US Senate in over 30 years.

In a state where nearly 10% of the population identifies as American Indian, Mullin and Shannon are members of Native American tribes. Mullin is a Cherokee citizen and Shannon, who is also African American, is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation.

Campaign finance reports showed Mullin raised about $3.6 million, nearly three times the $1.3 million reported by Shannon.

In campaign ads and on the stump, the two touted their positions on burning issues and vowed to fight Joe Biden’s agenda.

Shannon ran an anti-abortion ad in which he called Planned Parenthood “the real face of white supremacy.” Mullin, in an ad featuring two of his own children and a montage of transgender college swimmer Lia Thomas, said, “The Democrats can’t even tell us what a woman is.

Also on Tuesday, in the Democratic primary runoff for Oklahoma’s other U.S. Senate seat, cybersecurity expert Madison Horn defeated Jason Bollinger, an Oklahoma City attorney.

Horn, who is not related to Kendra Horn, will face incumbent Republican Senator James Lankford, who will be the heavy favorite in November, alongside a Republican and an independent.

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