Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) officially announced his decision to run for re-election in 2020 in a high-flying campaign video released March 5.
“I always said I would serve in the United States Senate as long as I can fly upside down,” he said in the video, where he is shown taking off and performing aileron rolls in a Van’s RV-8 turboprop aircraft.
Inhofe, 85, has served in the Senate since winning a special election in 1994, and previously represented the state’s first district from 1987 to 1994.
He took over the SASC gavel in 2018 following the death of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and has presided over the passage of the fiscal years 2019 and 2020 National Defense Authorization Acts as the committee’s leader. He also serves on the Senate’s Environment & Public Works Committee, the Commerce Committee and the Small Business Committee.
As SASC Chairman, Inhofe has advocated for the Defense Department’s budget to receive a 3 to 5 percent year-over-year increase above inflation, and focused on how to help the Pentagon meet the needs laid out in the National Defense Strategy. Oklahoma is home to several military installations, including Tinker Air Force Base, Altus AFB, Vance AFB, Ft. Sill Army Base and Mcalester Army Ammunition Army Base, as well as the Coast Guard’s Container Inspection Training and Assistance Team and the Coast Guard Institute.
Inhofe has raised over $3.3 million for his reelection campaign to date, with about $2.2 million in cash on hand, according to data compiled by the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics. Defense industry contributors make up the third highest donor sector for the 2020 campaign, providing $358,500 to his reelection campaign including $129,500 from defense-related individuals.
General Dynamics [GD], Kratos Defense & Security Solutions [KTOS] and Textron Inc. [TXT] are the top three defense contributors to Inhofe’s 2020 campaign. General Dynamics is Inhofe’s fourth-highest industry contributor over the course of his career.
Inhofe faces challenges by at least two Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and at least three Democrats. The filing period to run for office will begin in April.