Jackson Lahmeyer: Pro-Trump Pastor could replace James Lankford as Oklahoma senator
Oklahoma GOP chair backs newcomer over incumbent Sen. James Lankford, simply because Lankford doesn't support Trump enough
What does it take to become a Republican politician? It seems today the only qualification necessary is to be in former President Donald Trump's good books. After removing Liz Cheney from her position as Chair of the House Republican Conference, the GOP is now embarking on a nationwide campaign to purge anti-Trumpers. The newest target is Sen. James Lankford, an Oklahoma politician who could be on his way out in 2022.
Trump, both as president and after has demanded absolute fealty from the Republican party, which it seems they are all too willing to give him. The Senate infamously acquitted Trump during both his impeachments and that was just the start. Following the January 6 impeachment, Republicans have repeatedly denied the events ever happened. In mid-June, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar asked FBI Director Christopher Wray who shot Ashley Babbitt, even though he refused to accept January 6 happened.
Former vice president Mike Pence has been another person at the receiving end of the GOP's fury. Defying Trump's order to "send votes back", Pence has become a political outcast from the GOP. Pence was famously booed by a pro-Trump crowd when he spoke at a conservative conference in June. In Oklahoma, the state GOP has endorsed Jackson Lahmeyer, who doesn't have any previous political experience. Here's his story and why he could be the latest to join the pro-Trump crowd in Congress.
Who is Jackson Lahmeyer?
The 29-year-old is a pastor and small business owner who currently lives in Tulsa. A native of Claremore, Lahmeyer attended Oral Robert’s University where he received a B.A. and M.A. in Theological & Historical Studies. While pursuing his higher education, he also served as a youth pastor in several different churches. He then turned to religion full-time, first serving as a Crusade Director for Christ For All Nations the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke. During this time, he also served as Oklahoma State Coordinator for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
In January 2017, Lahmeyer took over as the Lead Pastor of the historic Sheridan Christian Center in Tulsa. He also taught at Victory College and became involved with Christians United For Israel and the National Day of Prayer. Apart from his religious work, Lahmeyer is also a business owner. His umbrella corporation Lahmeyer Investment Company was founded in 2016.
Where Lahmeyer gets really interesting is his history of supporting Trump. Over the last year or so, he has increasingly come to the attention of local media for his pro-Trump comments, which have also dominated his social media profiles.
Lahmeyer's fealty to Trump revealed
It doesn't take much effort to see how loyal the pastor is, a quick glimpse of his Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook accounts will show you he backs Trump to the hilt. Amongst other things, Lahmeyer wants a full audit of the 2020 Presidential elections, believes Trump should be reinstated and blames Antifa for the January 6 insurrection. His website lists some of his key issues as cancel culture, America first, election integrity, and the second amendment - all key GOP talking points. For that, he has been rewarded with official backing by the Oklahoma GOP. "It may be unheard of," he told The Daily Beast, "but there’s a reason the state of Oklahoma is adamantly against James Lankford."
Lankford's only "crime" was to vote to certify the results of the election, after the insurrection. Prior to that, he joined the rest of the GOP is raising objections, but the siege of the Capitol quickly changed his mind. He did, however, later vote against impeaching Trump, but the single act of certifying the election proved to be enough for the GOP to target Lankford. "He embarrassed our state," Lahmeyer said of Lankford over his actions after January 6.
Lahmeyer has won endorsements from some key faces in the GOP - Lin Wood, Oklahoma Republican Party chair John Bennett, and Michael Flynn. He's also been spotted with Roger Stone. For his part, Lankford has been endorsed by most GOP members in Oklahoma, including Gov. Kevin Stitt and Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell. However, the GOP chair's backing of Lahmeyer is a good indication of the way the winds are blowing.
It's too early to say if Lahmeyer can beat Lankford in the primary, but the endorsement should certainly concern everyone. "It may be a harbinger of what’s to come," former GOP vice-chair Mike Turner said. For his actions in the aftermath of Jan 6, Lankford is also facing censure from the state. Combined with the pressure by Lahmeyer, it does show that the staunch Republican has a major challenge, in a state where Democrats are essentially absent. Is this another indication that the GOP has moved away from conservatism, to Trumpism?