Former Oklahoma state Sen. Steve Russell (R), a member of the military team that captured Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003, has nearly punched his ticket to Congress this fall.


Russell won the GOP primary runoff Tuesday to succeed Rep. James Lankford (R) with 59 percent of the vote to Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas’s 41 percent, when The Associated Press called the race.

Oklahoma politicos saw his win as a triumph of old-fashioned grassroots support and retail politicking over a better-established, better-known candidate.

Though Douglas was seen as a front-runner early on in the primary, Russell won the most support in the first round of voting and focused his runoff efforts on getting those voters to the polls.

Russell became somewhat of a national phenomenon after the successful operation, penning a memoir titled We Got Him! and drawing attention from networks and publications ranging from CNN to Time magazine. He made that compelling personal story a central part of his campaign, too. 

Russell expected to easily win the general election to take Lankford’s place in the House, which Lankford is vacating as his party's Senate nominee.