Bolstered by a big turnout of GOP voters on Election Day, state Sen. Stephanie Bice returned Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District to Republican control, narrowly defeating incumbent Democrat Kendra Horn in the state’s most competitive federal race.
In unofficial results, Bice won with 52% of the vote to Horn’s 48%. The race was too close to call for much of Tuesday night, with Bice claiming victory about 10:45 p.m. shortly after she took the lead in overall votes. She credited her volunteers with getting out the vote, calling them the “Bice Storm,” after a week of power outages and ice damage across much of the congressional district.
“One of the reasons I ran for Oklahoma Senate six years ago is because I wanted to make a difference for my daughters and your children and grandchildren as well,” Bice said at the Oklahoma County GOP watch party in Edmond. “Part of this is really for them, to make sure that Oklahoma is the best place it can possibly be for them in the future. I am thrilled that once again Oklahoma on the federal level is 100% red.”
Horn later spoke to her supporters at the Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City, saying progress still has to be made on health care and education in the state.
“While tonight’s results aren’t what we want them to be, we have to remember that the fight is not over,” Horn said. “This seat does not belong to a party. It belongs to the people of Oklahoma. It belongs to us, and the only way that we change things is to keep going. When we fall down, we get back up.”
View our interactive map to view precinct results. (Jesse Howe/For Oklahoma Watch)
Horn, who pulled off an upset to take the seat in 2018, had a commanding lead in absentee mail votes and a narrow lead in early voting. But it wasn’t enough to overcome a strong turnout of Election Day GOP voters in Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
Horn narrowly won the district’s Oklahoma County precincts with 50.4% of those votes, but she failed to win a single precinct in the more rural Pottawatomie or Seminole counties. Bice dominated precincts making up her state Senate district and precincts in Edmond, Choctaw and Harrah. Horn took most of the Oklahoma City precincts, including the southside, central core and the northeast side.
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, voters in the district were bombarded by commercials on the airwaves and online, giving many voters a rare taste of what it’s like to experience a competitive congressional race. Before Horn won in 2018, the district had been reliably Republican for a generation.
Much of the commercials and campaign mailers were paid for by outside groups. More than $16 million has been spent on the race by PACs and SuperPACs, according to the latest data from the Center for Responsive Politics. The Horn campaign raised more than $5.4 million in the election cycle. Bice, who had to win an August runoff with businesswoman Terry Neese, reported raising more than $3 million.
Paul Monies has been a reporter with Oklahoma Watch since 2017 and covers state agencies and public health. Contact him at (571) 319-3289 or email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter @pmonies.
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