- Associated Press - Friday, April 7, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma’s Republican Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb filed paperwork Friday to run for governor in 2018 when nearly every statewide elected office will be open because of term limits.

Lamb filed a statement of organization with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and issued a statement in which he said he was “strongly considering” running in 2018.

“Since being elected lieutenant governor in 2010 I have visited each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties on an annual basis, listening and talking to Oklahomans regarding issues of importance to them and our great state,” Lamb said.

Oklahoma’s current Republican Gov. Mary Fallin can’t seek a third term in office because of term limits.

An Enid native and former state senator from Edmond, Lamb, 45, has earned a reputation as a pro-business Republican with strong ties to some of the state’s top energy leaders. Larry Nichols, the former chief executive of Devon Energy, has served as chairman of his campaign committees.

Earlier this year, Lamb resigned his post on Fallin’s cabinet as a small-business advocate, citing a disagreement with the governor over her plan to broaden the sales tax to a variety of services as a way to help shore up the state’s budget shortfall.

Lamb handily won a five-way GOP primary in 2010 and then defeated former state Sen. Kenneth Corn with nearly two-thirds of the vote in a general election in which Republicans swept every statewide elected office on the ballot from Democrats.

The lieutenant governor’s office proved to be a successful political launching pad for Fallin, who left the post after three terms before winning a U.S. House seat and then the governorship. Former Democratic Lt. Gov. George Nigh also became governor after four terms as lieutenant governor.

Lamb has more than $1 million in his campaign account, according to his most recent filing with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

Other Republicans considering the race include state Auditor & Inspector Gary Jones and Tulsa attorney Gary Richardson.

Former state Sen. Connie Johnson and retired auto mechanic Norman Brown, both of Oklahoma City, have filed statements of organization, and House Democratic leader Rep. Scott Inman of Oklahoma City also is strongly considering a run.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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