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Former Trump EPA chief Scott Pruitt launches Senate bid in Oklahoma

Pruitt resigned from his Cabinet-level post in 2018 amid multiple ethics scandals.
Scott Pruitt
Scott Pruitt attends a meeting between then-President Donald Trump and carmakers in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 11, 2018.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images file

Scott Pruitt, who resigned as head of the Environmental Protection Agency amid ethics scandals during the Trump administration, is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Oklahoma.

The former state attorney general filed his campaign paperwork on Friday. He now joins a crowded race to succeed 87-year-old Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who is retiring after the midterm elections.

By declaring his candidacy, Pruitt will attempt a return to Washington, where he last worked in politics as former President Donald Trump's EPA chief.

During his stormy tenure as head of the agency, Pruitt was Trump’s point man for the administration’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations, many of which had been put in place by the Obama administration.

But Pruitt's efforts were largely overshadowed by a barrage of media reports that detailed questionable spending and management decisions, including frequent first class travel and expensive trips paid for by the government, as well as reports of big pay raises for top aides without White House approval and reports that Pruitt sidelined staffers who questioned him.

During congressional testimony, it was revealed that Pruitt routinely tasked EPA aides with carrying out personal tasks for him and other members of his family. He was also accused of misusing of government funds, including spending $43,000 on a soundproof booth for his EPA office, $1,500 on a set of 12 fountain pens and $5,700 on biometric locks for his office doors.

Pruitt resigned in July 2018 amid the numerous ethics scandals.

In Oklahoma, Pruitt will face off against a number of other Republicans seeking the Senate seat. Among them is Inhofe’s former chief of staff, Luke Holland, who's been endorsed by his old boss.

Friday was the last day for candidates to file paperwork to enter the race.

Trump defeated President Joe Biden in Oklahoma with over 65 percent of the vote in 2020, while Inhofe won re-election with over 62 percent of the vote the same year.

Sources told NBC News last month that Pruitt had been seeking Trump's endorsement while mulling a run for the seat.

Trump has not made an endorsement in the race.

“Every candidate running in America is seeking President Trump’s endorsement,” Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich said last month.