James Lankford was born in Dallas and now lives in Edmond, Okla. He earned a bachelor's in secondary education from the University of Texas and a master's in divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Lankford moved to Edmond and worked for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, which led to his position as director of Falls Creek, a Christian church camp near Davis billed as the largest in the nation.
He was elected to the U.S. House in 2010.
He and his wife, Cindy, have two daughters.
James Lankford embraced his status as a political newcomer to emerge victorious in 2010 from a seven-candidate Republican primary, knocking off two Oklahoma House members and a former state lawmaker.
Lankford won nearly 63 percent in the four-way general election in 2010 and, despite his status as a freshman lawmaker, earned a spot on two powerful House panels — the Budget Committee and the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
A critic of what he describes as costly federal mandates that are holding back American businesses and entrepreneurs, Lankford has been particularly critical of the government's attempts to regulate a drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing that has been common in Oklahoma for decades.
He hosted a field hearing in Edmond in July 2012 of another committee he serves on — the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform — to study how federal regulations are stifling the energy industry.
"The testimony provided at this hearing proves that regulatory burdens like painfully slow federal permitting, nonsensical regulations and the unreasonable overprotection of beetles and chickens stand between us and energy freedom," Lankford said in a statement after the hearing. "State regulation and market-driven business practices will result in a thriving energy sector."
Lankford was the director of the Falls Creek Christian youth camp for more than a decade, and during his 2010 campaign he reached out to evangelicals and effectively used social media such as Facebook and Twitter to draw in new voters.
"I think people see the social media numbers, and the assumption is made that we're running a campaign that is just social media, but I think we're running a very old-school campaign," said Lankford, who spent much of his primary campaign meeting with small groups of people in their homes, at restaurants or at the occasional lunchtime visit to a local business.
Lankford has staked out conservative positions on abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration and opposition to the 2010 heath care reform bill. He has suggested amending the 14th Amendment to eliminate birthright citizenship.
Lankford received endorsements in 2010 from former U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts — once a University of Oklahoma football star — and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
In 2012, Lankford was the only one of Oklahoma's four incumbent Republican congressmen who did not draw a primary challenger.
He faces Democrat Tom Guild and two independents, Pat Martin and Robert Murphy, in the November 2012 general election.
Committee Assignments: Budget; Transportation and Infrastructure; Oversight and Government Reform
American Conservative Union Rating: 84
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 0
James Lankford is not seeking re-election in Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District. Lankford won his June 2014 primary to serve the remainder of Tom Coburn's Senate term, he will face Connie Johnson in a November special election.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on September 5, 2014.)