U.S. Senator Inhofe to retire early

 U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Oklahoma Republican who has served in Congress since 1987, will not complete the remainder of his Senate term and will instead retire next January according to news reports.
 Inhofe, 87, privately announced the decision to his staff and elected officials Thursday lsat week
 The timing of Inhofe’s announcement is related to a new Oklahoma state law that requires the state to hold a special election if a lawmaker announces a retirement before March 1.
 Sources told Fox News that Inhofe’s chief of staff, Luke Holland, is expected to run for the seat with Inhofe’s expected endorsement.
 Other potential candidates are GOP Reps. Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hern; T.W. Shannon, the former speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; and Gentner Drummond.
 The special election would be held this year with a primary on June 28, primary run-off on Aug. 23, and a general election on Nov. 8. The newly elected senator would take office just as Inhofe steps down so as not to leave a vacancy in the 50-50 split Senate, according to the sources familiar with Inhofe’s plans.
 Inhofe started serving Congress in Washington in 1987 in the House of Representatives and was elected to the Senate in 1994. He’s the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
 Inhofe was last elected in 2020 with 63% of the vote, and his term would have ended in January 2027.
 The Senate seat in conservative Oklahoma is expected to stay in GOP hands.