James Paul Lankford is an American politician and Southern Baptist minister serving as the senior United States senator from Oklahoma. A member of the Republican Party, Lankford has represented Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate since 2015. Before his Senate service, he represented Oklahoma's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.
From 1996 to 2009, Lankford was president of the Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center, a youth camp operated by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. In 2010, Lankford ran for Oklahoma's 5th congressional district. In the Republican primary, he defeated state representative Kevin Calvey in a runoff, and he defeated Democratic nominee Billy Coyle in the general election. Lankford was reelected in 2012; shortly thereafter, he was named chair of the House Republican Policy Committee.
In lieu of running for a third term in the House, Lankford announced he would run in the 2014 U.S. Senate special election following Senator Tom Coburn's planned resignation. He won the June 2014 primary with 57% of the vote, becoming the Republican nominee. Lankford won the special election with nearly 68% of the vote, defeating Democratic nominee Connie Johnson. He was reelected in 2016 with nearly 68% of the vote and in 2022 with 64% of the vote. Lankford became the state's senior senator in 2023 upon the retirement of Senator Jim Inhofe.