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Trump, Inhofe Coast to Victory in Deep-Red Oklahoma

Twitter / @JimInhofe

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump and Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe both coasted to easy victories Tuesday in deep-red Oklahoma.

Inhofe, 85, a fixture in Oklahoma politics for 50 years, was heavily favored to win his fifth term in office. He defeated Democrat Abby Broyles, 31, an Oklahoma City lawyer and former television reporter, along with a Libertarian and two independents.

Broyles, who was making her first run at political office, painted Inhofe as an out-of-touch Washington insider who is no longer up to the job.

Inhofe amassed a campaign fund of about $5.6 million, including about $1.5 million from political action committees, but Broyles also proved to be an effective fundraiser, totaling more than $1.8 million in contributions, according to the latest federal campaign reports. She got little help from outside groups who calculated a Democrat couldn’t win statewide in Oklahoma.

A Democrat hasn’t held a U.S. Senate seat in the Sooner State since David Boren stepped down in 1994 to become president of the University of Oklahoma.

Broyles repeatedly lambasted Inhofe for failing to debate her, even crashing the set of an Inhofe political ad shoot in Tulsa to make her point, but Inhofe said he didn’t see the need for it. He never debated his Democratic opponent in 2014 and still won the race with 68% of the vote.

“First of all, everyone knows where I am on every conceivable issue. I have four opponents and I don’t know where any one of them is on any issue,” Inhofe said.

While Broyles’ campaign ads mostly attacked Inhofe, she describes herself as a “moderate Democrat” willing to break with her party, particularly on issues such as oil and gas production, a critical part of Oklahoma’s economy.

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