There is some talk in Oklahoma that if Mr. Inhofe retires — he is 83, and his term runs through 2020 — Mr. Pruitt could run to fill his seat.

The challenge for him in such a race would be the many other ambitious anti-regulation Republicans who would not be burdened, as he has been, with months of negative headlines and late-night TV ridicule.

“If he decides to run for something again, he’s going to confront a relatively young opponent, or group of opponents, who just won’t have his baggage,” said Keith Gaddie, a professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma.

Still, Mr. Gaddie said, Mr. Pruitt has proved to be a skilled and adaptable politician. Even after his ignominious retreat from Washington, he holds a certain sway with Oklahoma voters like Kelly Coday.