Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon is stepping down from one of the most powerful positions in state government as he runs for a U.S. Senate seat.
Shannon announced Tuesday on the House floor that he was stepping down from the speaker's post immediately.
"It has been a great honor to serve as Speaker of the House, and I am proud of the things we as a team accomplished," Shannon said in a statement. "Since I was elected by my caucus as Speaker Designate in October of 2011, the House Republicans passed measures to increase government transparency and expanded its majority by several seats."
He said the decision was the "right thing to do."
Shannon is a 35-year-old Republican from Lawton who announced last week that he would run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated at the end of the year by Sen. Tom Coburn. Shannon will face two-term U.S. Rep. James Lankford and at least two other Republicans in the GOP primary.
"I am stepping aside so a new Speaker can be fully devoted to the business of the state, as I turn my attention to solving the problems that face our country," Shannon said in a statement. "So many of the problems we face here in Oklahoma stem from the unprecedented overreach by the Obama administration, and I believe I am called at this time to stand up and defend the freedoms we all love and enjoy as Americans."
Shannon's announcement will expedite a behind-the-scenes race to succeed him that includes Republican House Reps. Jeff Hickman, Mike Jackson and Jason Nelson.
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