Just yesterday Sarah Palin gave her influential endorsement (same one that she gave Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz) to T.W. Shannon in the race to replace Tom Coburn who's retiring two years before his terms ends for health reasons. Here's her full statement from Facebook.
Tom Coburn leaves large conservative shoes to fill as he retires from the U.S. Senate. At 6’5 feet tall, T.W. Shannon is just the leader to fill them. T.W. is the underdog in his race, but that’s not a position he’s unfamiliar with. He’s had to beat the odds all of his life. He became the first Republican to ever win his district’s seat in the Oklahoma state legislature even though the naysayers said it couldn't be done. When he sought to be Speaker of the House, the naysayers said he was too young and too conservative to win. But his colleagues chose him anyway, and he became the youngest Speaker in Oklahoma history!
T.W.’s opponent has the backing of Beltway insiders, but T.W. has the passion and experience We the People need in Washington. As the former Speaker he can stand proud on his record of fighting for conservative legislation that directly benefited the lives of Oklahomans by lowering taxes, cutting government waste, and breaking the cycle of poverty by encouraging entrepreneurial self-reliance as the proven path to prosperity. T.W. understands that we need real leaders with vision and a steel spine to get things done. As he told me: “We are suffering from a lack of conservative vision. I believe we desperately need leaders with deep convictions who will fight—and win—the battles for conservative policies.”
We can also rest assured that T.W. will bring to D.C. the integrity and moral compass he acquired growing up attending Bethlehem Baptist Church and teaching Sunday School. T.W. Shannon is exactly the kind of dynamic young conservative leader we need in Washington!
To learn more about T.W. Shannon and lend him your support, please visit his website at www.twshannon.com
Aside from an earlier endorsement Speaker Shannon received back in late February from GOPAC, there's not been not been any involvement from major individuals or grassroots groups like FreedomWorks, Club For Growth, Madison Project or Senate Conservatives Fund. If Bridenstine had decided to enter, they would've all coalesced immediately behind him. But since he isn't, I suspect they're waiting and seeing what happens in the next few months. Other major candidates include federal Rep. James Lankford and former State Senator Randy Brogdon who ran for Governor in 2010 and initially ran against Fallin in 2014 before jumping into the Senate race.
While it's not entirely clear yet, I can imagine the situation will form out like it has in Nebraska. In that case, the grassroots groups split and endorsed different candidates. Ben Sasse is backed by Senate Conservatives Fund, Madison Project, Club For Growth, RedState and Sen. Mike Lee while Shane Osborne is being backed by FreedomWorks. Basically a disagreement within the family situation. I myself am divided at the moment between Shannon and Brogdon. In the end though, I'll back either if one makes it to run-off with Lankford who the grassroots have a lot of distaste for.
I just only hope the potential disagreement within the family doesn't develop envy between the groups. I'm curious to see who Erick Erickson and the RedState community will endorse.