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GOP Seeks To Oust Oklahoma's Lone Congressional Democrat

Rep. Kendra Horn
Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) in March.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Republicans have launched an all-out offensive in deep-red Oklahoma to win back the state’s lone Democrat-held congressional seat, blitzing the airwaves with television and radio ads.

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn, 44, an Oklahoma City lawyer, faces Republican state Sen. Stephanie Bice, 46, for the House seat that includes Oklahoma City, several conservative suburbs and two rural counties.

Horn narrowly won the seat in 2018 in the district President Donald Trump had won two years earlier by nearly 14 points. Horn focused on issues such as health care and education, and leveraged enthusiasm among women and young people to defeat a two-term GOP incumbent and win the seat that had been in Republican hands for four decades.

Bice, 46, a political moderate in her second term in the state Senate, has earned a reputation as a hard worker and a consensus builder. 

While Bice acknowledges the demographics of the district may be getting younger and more progressive, she notes voter registration still favors the GOP.

“I think if you look at voter registration, it doesn’t align with the narrative that the district is changing,” Bice said during a recent fundraiser. “The core has changed some ... but it’s still a Republican district.”

In addition to Horn’s victory in 2018, Democrats flipped several state legislative seats in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Horn raised nearly $5.5 million, compared to $3.12 million for Bice, but outside groups poured nearly $15 million into the race, about evenly divided between both sides, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Responsive Politics.

Bice has been attacked in ads for her votes on budgets that cut state funding for public schools, although she did back a teacher pay raise. Horn, meanwhile, has faced criticism for her vote to oppose drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, even though Horn said she was willing to vote against her party on issues that would directly affect Oklahoma. 

“I am never afraid to stand up to Nancy Pelosi when it’s not right for Oklahoma because I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again,” Horn said during her final debate with Bice.

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