Shortly before Friday's deadline to run passed, former Trump administration Environmental Agency director Scott Pruitt, who previously served as Oklahoma state attorney general from 2011 until he joined Trump's cabinet in 2017, filed and indicated he would run in the upcoming special election to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe. Pruitt gained national notoriety for leading the EPA on a crusade to undermine its very mission by aggressively rolling back regulations against pollution in favor of the fossil fuel industry and denying human-made climate change, but it was his cartoonish level of corruption scandals that led to him resigning just over a year into his tenure.
Indeed, by the time Pruitt stepped down in July 2018, he was the subject of at least 15 federal investigations into his conduct as a Trump official. Among Pruitt's many dubious activities were his penchant for living high on the taxpayers' dime, including first-class airfare, luxury hotels, and other exorbitant travel spending; a pattern of financially benefiting from lobbyists such as renting a Capitol Hill condo from one for only $50 a night; $4.6 million in security spending that included a $42,000 soundproof phone booth in his office, his own 24-hour security detail, and $3,000 on "tactical pants;" and also using his office and aides to run personal errands and help advance his wife's business interests.
While Pruitt won plaudits from conservatives for rolling back Obama administration environmental protections, it remains to be seen just how willing voters will be to overlook his laundry list of corruption scandals. He joins a crowded June GOP primary that includes Rep. Markwayne Mullin, former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon, state Sen. Nathan Dahm, former Inhofe chief of staff Luke Holland, and former white house staffer Alex Gray.