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Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma Dies at 89

Updated: July 9, 2024 at 1:16 pm EST  See Comments

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe, a conservative firebrand known for his strong support of defense spending and his denial that human activity is responsible for the bulk of climate change, has died. He was 89. 

Inhofe, a powerful fixture in Oklahoma politics for over six decades, died Tuesday morning, his family said in a statement. 

Inhofe, who was elected to a fifth Senate term in 2020, stepped down in early 2023.

As Oklahoma’s senior U.S. senator, Inhofe was a staunch supporter of the state’s five military installations and a vocal fan of congressional earmarks. The Army veteran and licensed pilot, who would fly himself to and from Washington, secured the federal money to fund local road and bridge projects, and criticized House Republicans who wanted a one-year moratorium on such pet projects in 2010.

“Defeating an earmark doesn’t save a nickel,” Inhofe told the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce that August. “It merely means that within the budget process, it goes right back to the bureaucracy.”

He was a strong backer of President Donald Trump, who praised him for his “incredible support of our #MAGA agenda” while endorsing the senator’s 2020 reelection bid. During the Trump administration, Inhofe

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