Bice wins Oklahoma GOP runoff to face Horn in November
Oklahoma state Sen. Stephanie Bice (R) won the GOP runoff in the state’s 5th Congressional District Tuesday, setting her up to take on Rep. Kendra Horn (D) in one of the most closely watched House races in November.
Bice narrowly defeated Terry Neese, a self-styled “small-business expert” and the former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners, in the runoff. Bice and Neese were the top two vote-getters in the June 30 primary, though neither one broke 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff. Bice had a roughly 6-point edge when the race was called by The Associated Press and led Neese by fewer than 3,000 votes.
Bice’s victory also handed a defeat to the anti-tax group Club for Growth, which endorsed Neese and has flexed its muscle in a number of congressional races.
Neese conceded defeat after the race was called, thanking the support from the Oklahomans who backed her and urging the GOP to unite to unseat Horn.
“We came up short tonight, but I am incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support I have received from Oklahomans across the district since I launched my campaign sixteen months ago,” she tweeted. “Now is the time for Republicans to focus on the real fight ahead of us: beating Kendra Horn & doing whatever it takes to re-elect President @realDonaldTrump in November.”
Bice’s win comes as the Republican Party looks to regain ground in the House after being swept out of the majority in the 2018 “blue wave.”
The race in the 5th District, where Horn won in a 2018 upset over then-Rep. Steve Russell (R), is one of the Republicans’ top opportunities to flip a seat in November. Horn is the target of an intense advertising blitz by outside groups, and President Trump won the district by about 13 points in 2016.
Shortly after Bice’s victory was declared, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) released a poll showing Horn up by 5 points among likely voters in the district, 51 percent to 46 percent.
“Representative Kendra Horn has proven to be an effective leader for her community, working tirelessly to lower the cost of prescription drugs and get Oklahomans back to work safely. The contrast in this race is clear, and I have no doubt that Kendra’s record will earn her re-election in November,” said DCCC Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).
The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as a “toss-up.”