2014-06-22T173654Z_1_LYNXMPEA5L0FT_RTROPTP_2_USA

Diversity enters Republican race for U.S. Senate seat from Oklahoma

Former Oklahoma House Speaker Shannon participates in the U.S. Senate debate in TulsaIn staunchly conservative Oklahoma, three major candidates are running in Tuesday’s Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat, two have a shot at winning and one is gathering attention because he is half black and half Native American. T.W. Shannon, 36 and the youngest speaker of the House in Oklahoma, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation and represents a bit of diversity that has captured the attention of the national Republican Party looking to expand its base of white voters. Tea party darling Ted Cruz, a Republican U.S. senator from Texas, has endorsed Shannon, calling him a “conservative fighter, while an Oklahoma tea party group has rejected Shannon, saying in an open letter he has “too many masters to serve”, including Native American tribes.

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