One Republican candidate hoping to replace Oklahoma's Tom Coburn in the U.S. Senate is out with a new ad introducing himself to voters statewide. T.W. Shannon, the 35-year former speaker of the state house, has a 60-second television spot highlighting his biography as a "sixth-generation Oklahoman" who is "guided by his faith" and instilling the values of his parents and grandparents in his own children.
"If conservatives here in Oklahoma and across America will unite and send the right leaders to Washington, we can restore prosperity, we can renew our values, and we can reclaim our destiny," says Shannon, sitting in a church pew. "With conservative leadership, we can fix what's wrong with this country." Watch the ad below:
Shannon (the T.W. stands for "Tahrohon Wayne") is the first black speaker of the house in Oklahoma and was first elected to the house in 2008. He recently stepped down as house speaker to run for the seat being vacated by the retiring Coburn, who will resign his seat two years early at the end of 2014.
Also running for Coburn's seat is fellow Republican James Lankford, a two-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. One poll in early February showed Lankford with a large lead over Shannon, 54 percent to 18 percent, among GOP primary voters. As the Hill explains, Shannon has relatively low name recognition compared with Lankford:
Low name recognition is part of the reason Shannon's drawing less than 18 percent support — a third of voters say they’ve never heard of him, and another 22 percent say they’ve heard of him but have no opinion about him.