Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe on Monday said he will announce March 6 whether he will seek a fifth term.
An aviation enthusiast, the Oklahoma Republican has said for years that as long as he can fly a plane upside down, he will continue to run for reelection. Candidates in Oklahoma have until April 10 to register to seek public office.
The 85-year-old last won 68 percent of the vote in 2014.
On Dec. 31, Inhofe had $2.3 million in his campaign account after raising $459,000 in the fourth quarter. Democrat Abby Broyles, by comparison, had $42,000 on Dec. 31, according to disclosures with the Federal Election Commission. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Oklahoma Senate race Solid Republican.
Inhofe has been chairman of the Armed Services panel, which pushes through the massive defense authorization bill, since 2018.
“When you chair, arguably, the most significant committee in the United States Senate, once you are a candidate you are not looked at as the chairman as much as you are a candidate, and we have a lot to do,” Inhofe said. “There are a lot of people that are going to be running against me, if I make that decision.”
Inhofe said Monday that his committee had already begun drafting the fiscal 2021 defense authorization bill — his biggest responsibility as chairman. The House and Senate typically advance respective versions of the legislation in the summer and the two chambers often negotiate the final bill after Congress’ August recess.
"I won't change one thing I am doing now in terms of doing my job after the 6th of March,” Inhofe said.