Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) held off a primary challenge by state Sen. Jim Wilson (D) Tuesday.
Boren’s healthcare vote was a major factor in the primary, but the congressman handily won the nomination with 72 percent of the vote to only 28 percent for Wilson. With 164 of 570 precincts reporting, the Associated Press called the race for Boren.
Wilson, a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran, told reporters he was prompted to run against Boren because of the lawmaker’s opposition to the Democrats’ healthcare reform bill. He also attacked Boren, the only Democrat in the state’s delegation, for voting with the GOP. “He’s just not in tune,” Wilson said. “Instead of regurgitating what the people say, why don’t we lead?”
Boren said he represents the views of his constituents.
The congressman was one of 34 House Democrats who voted against the legislation. Wilson entered the race in early June, but his candidacy never captured the attention of national liberal groups. He subsequently failed to raise the money necessary to run effectively against the incumbent.
Boren’s support from national organizations helped him build an insurmountable financial advantage.
The three-term lawmaker, a Blue Dog Democrat, was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce on June 23, shortly before he cast his vote against the Disclose Act.
He also received the backing of the National Rifle Association, where he’s a board member. During the campaign, Wilson accused him of being too gun-focused.
“His entire campaign is about guns and hunting,” Wilson told The Oklahoman. “That’s demeaning to the people around here.”
Still, Boren’s campaign ended the last reporting period with $1.3 million cash on hand. Wilson had just $17,947.
Boren is the son of David Boren, who served as governor and senator for Oklahoma.
His Republican opponent will likely be decided in a runoff.