What has already been a very contentious race for U.S. Senate between Senator James Lankford (incumbent) and Tulsa-area pastor Jackson Lahmeyer took a somewhat-unexpected twist over the last week as rumors began to fly about Senator Nathan Dahm, a longtime conservative stalwart in the Oklahoma Senate, jumping in the race.
Today, those rumors were confirmed with Senator Dahm’s formal announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate.
This past weekend, Ignite Liberty sat down with Senator Dahm for his first official interview as a candidate for U.S. Senate to discuss his decision to run, the issues he feels are important to Oklahomans on the Federal level, and the accusations leveled at him by the campaign. The interview is below:
IL: Senator Dahm, when did you begin considering a run for Senate, and what factors led into your decision?
SD: Well, my wife and I began considering it well over a year ago before there was a challenger to Senator Lankford. We both felt strongly that the Lord wanted us to continue in public service…that our time serving the people of Oklahoma was not over yet. As you know, I’m serving my last term in the state senate, so we began prayerfully considering the options open to us…and there were many. Over and over again, through prayer and seeking God’s face, He kept leading us back to this particular race. In the end, after many months of prayer and consulting with friends and family, we felt it clear that this was the next step for us.
IL: There was an anonymous phone poll that was sent out to members of the OKGOP this past summer listing you as a possible candidate. Were you, or anyone associated with you, behind that poll?
SD: No, absolutely not. In fact, I was just as surprised as anybody to get the poll. It was sent to all of the delegates to the OKGOP State Convention. As you know, since I am an elected official, I am a delegate. So I even got a copy of the poll. It took me completely by surprise. I have no idea who was behind that poll, but it wasn’t me or anyone associated with me.
IL: Jackson Lahmeyer recently sent an email out accusing you, in so many words, of being and “establishment Washington D.C. plant” designed to keep James Lankford in office. Is there any truth to that?
SD: That’s absolutely absurd! My record as a State Senator is absolutely unimpeachable. Everyone that knows me knows I am beyond reproach, and incorruptible. So for him to assail my character and accuse me of taking some kind of bribe, of running to throw the race to Lankford in exchange for another position elsewhere, is utterly absurd. Someone who would say anything to get elected will often say, or do, anything to stay in office. It should be a red flag to all Oklahomans that he has chosen to attack me with wild, baseless accusations rather than stand on his own merits.
IL: Why do you think you would be better suited to represent the people of Oklahoma in D.C. than Senator Lankford?
SD: One of the main reasons is my proven record of accomplishments for the people of Oklahoma during my time as State Senator. It’s very easy to stand up and give good speeches that people clap for, but talk is cheap. I’ve followed through on my campaign promises with actionable items. I’ve consistently advanced 2nd Amendment Rights for the people of Oklahoma; I’ve voted against tax increases and unnecessary budget increases, even though most of my party voted for it; and been a consistent champion for the dignity of pre-born Oklahomans. In fact, I was even stripped of my committee chairmanships because my own party leadership deemed me “too conservative.” I have been a proven champion of the conservative principles that made this country great. I will not abandon that simply because I have an office in D.C.
IL: This is a time of great peril and uncertainty for our country, both domestically and globally. What would you say are the top three threats to the U.S. domestically?
SD: Well, many of these are also significant global threats as well. I would say the top domestic threat is Election Integrity. We do not have secure elections in this country. The 2020 Presidential Election was absolutely stolen. That’s a fact. If we can’t trust our elections, then we cease to exist as a republic. Obviously there is a global element here as well, not just from the foreign interference but from the weakening affect this had on the U.S. in the global stage.
The second threat I would say is the National Debt. We are quite simply on an unsustainable and immoral path. We cannot continue to spend our children and grandchildren into oblivion. We are mortgaging their future, and then borrowing from Communist China to pay for it. It is immoral, it violates every principle of good government, and it must stop.
The third is the growth of government. Our God-given individual liberties have never been more threatened than they are right now. As government grows, liberty shrinks. Right now with the oppressive growth of government, conservatives are being deliberately squeezed out of all levels of society: the military, small (and large) businesses, schools, government…this must stop.
IL: Aside from what you just mentioned, what are the top 3 threats globally?
SD: The first is our southern border. A nation without borders ceases to be a nation…which is exactly what the Left wants. We are the only nation in the world with open borders, and as a result we have lost significant standing in the world stage. Everybody knew that President Trump meant business when it came to securing the southern border…and we were respected because of it. Now we have a humanitarian crisis because the Biden Administration has left or border wide open. Consequently, this also plays into election integrity, because Democrats want illegal immigrants to flood our cities and towns in order to gain New Democrat voters.
The second is China. President Trump had the ability to show tremendous strength, which is the only thing that totalitarian governments understand. You show them strength, they will back off. They laugh at all of this “wokeness.” They have a China-First policy, while the Biden Administration has an America-Last policy. As such, they’re completely rolling over this administration on a regular basis. We must stand up to China.
The third, I would say, is focusing on our alliance with Israel and Taiwan. Those are our two greatest allies in two of the most contentious parts of the world. We need to be using our trade to bolster those alliances. It is appalling to me that there is talking of cancelling the contract for Israel’s Iron Dome. We cannot and must not let that happen.
IL: Speaking of Taiwan, what do you think the U.S. should do in response to the shortage of semi-conductors? Should we continue to support Taiwan, move all of the manufacturing back home, or a combination of the two?
SD: All of the above, really. We should continue to support Taiwan’s healthcare technology and semi-conductor industries as they are a valuable ally. That being said, it is important to our national security that we increase domestic production as well. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.
IL: Would you, given the information you have now, support any military engagement against China in order to protect Taiwan?
SD: I am very leery of any military action separate of a Congressional Declaration of War. When it comes to a foreign nation-state, the Constitution vests the sole power to declare war in Congress. When it comes to dealing with insurgents, the Constitution does give Congress the ability to issue letters of Marque and Reprisal. Anything outside of that scope I would not support.
IL: How is D.C. in general, and the Biden Administration in specific, not representing the best interest of Oklahomans?
SD: Most of them haven’t even read and certainly aren’t following the Constitution. The federal government has a limited scope of responsibilities according to the Constitution. They don’t even understand that there is a difference between Oklahoma, NYC, or Chicago, or LA. They think the government that created those problems is the solution. We don’t believe that. We believe that we are self-reliant. The solutions that they are trying to shove upon us don’t fit for Oklahomans because we’re a different state, with different values.
IL: What do you think should be done to get American back to work?
SD: We should be stopping payments to people who aren’t willing to work. Unemployment is for a specific reason. The Democrats want a universal basic income provided by the Government…because then the Government can control every decision you make about how you spend your money. We need to cut off that Government dependency and incentivize work like we did under President Trump.
IL: What do think the Federal Government has right about handling COVID?
SD: Very little, including under President Trump. We never should have shut down businesses. It’s the lifeblood of our economy. There is no such thing a “essential” and “non-essential” workers. Every job is essential, not just to that employee but to our economy as a whole. We should have protected our most vulnerable, at higher ages, with co-morbidities, and left the rest of society to determine for ourselves the best way to protect ourselves and our families. On the whole, this has been a wholly unconstitutional response.
IL: What has it done wrong?
SD: Everything. The overreach. The masking of our students. The shutting down of businesses. The mandating of vaccinations. It’s not truly about health, it’s about government control. The vast majority of what the government did was unconstitutional.