Jim Inhofe was born in Des Moines, Iowa, and has been a longtime resident of Tulsa, Okla. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Tulsa.
Inhofe served in the Army from 1954 to 1956. He was a businessman, serving as president of Quaker Life Insurance Co. He was elected to the Oklahoma House in 1966, serving from 1967 to 1969.
He has been a fixture in Oklahoma politics for more than four decades, serving in the Oklahoma Legislature, as Tulsa mayor and in the U.S. House before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994. He won the Republican nomination for governor in 1974, but lost in the general election.
Inhofe and his wife, Kay Kirkpatrick, have four children.
Jim Inhofe is a conservative firebrand who will turn 80 when his term expires in 2014. He said if he still feels healthy he'll seek a fourth six-year term in office.
"I'm 75 years old, but I still fly airplanes upside down," Inhofe, a licensed pilot, said in August 2010. "I don't know why it is, but I don't hurt anywhere, and I don't feel any differently than I felt five years ago."
Inhofe's piloting skills were called into question when he attempted to land his small plane on a closed runway in southern Texas in 2010. Federal records and audio clips of the landing show Inhofe "sky-hopped" his Cessna aircraft over vehicles and ground personnel, sending frightened workers scrambling, before he landed the plane.
Inhofe agreed to complete flight training to resolve his case, but the flap prompted him to introduce a so-called Pilots' Bill of Rights in 2012. Among other things, the bill requires the FAA to notify pilots when they're the subject of an investigation and provide pilots with evidence relevant to their cases at least 30 days before enforcement actions are launched. The House and Senate approved the measure in the summer of 2012.
Inhofe is a longtime supporter of Oklahoma's five military installations. He defended the use of congressional earmarks and criticized a decision by House Republicans in 2010 to put a one-year moratorium on the pet projects.
"Defeating an earmark doesn't save a nickel," Inhofe told the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce in August 2010. "It merely means that within the budget process, it goes right back to the bureaucracy."
Inhofe said he has used earmarks to secure critical funding for Oklahoma, including road and bridge projects in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and improvements at Tinker and Vance Air Force bases.
Inhofe lived up to his reputation as a tough campaigner in his 2008 re-election bid against Democrat Andrew Rice, a 35-year-old state senator and former missionary.
Inhofe, although a heavy favorite going into the general election campaign, attacked Rice as "too liberal" for Oklahoma. Rice argued the incumbent was distorting his record and attacking his character.
But Inhofe stood by his ads, including one that critics said contained anti-gay overtones. It showed a wedding cake topped by two plastic grooms and a photo of Rice as a young man, curly haired and wearing a leather jacket.
Rice, who was married with two children, was heavily outspent by Inhofe, who had more than $2 million in cash for the final weeks of the campaign.
Inhofe, painted as a "fringe" conservative by Rice, said his views, including his ridicule of global warming, were in line with those of most Oklahomans. He also prided himself on being "a big spender" when it came to bringing more money to Oklahoma for highway and water projects.
Inhofe sought largely to ignore Rice, and the two men had only one televised debate.
Inhofe has a reputation of making bold statements. Besides calling global warming "one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people," he has declared that China is a greater threat to the United States than Iran and he drew condemnation from Muslim groups after saying Jews were entitled to the West Bank under a covenant with God in the book of Genesis.
Back when he was a state senator, Inhofe once said George McGovern, the 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, should be treated like Jane Fonda and hanged for suggesting U.S. troops behaved poorly in Vietnam.
He has been a fierce critic of the President Barack Obama's administration's stimulus and budget plans and introduced legislation in March 2009 to prevent detainees from Guantanamo from being relocated "anywhere on American soil."
Committee Assignments: Environment and Public Works; Armed Services; Foreign Relations
American Conservative Union Rating: 100
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 5
Jim Inhofe won his June 2014 primary, he will face Matt Silverstein in November.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on June 25, 2014.)