5th Congressional District

(Editor’s note: In this cheat sheet, NonDoc seeks to provide a digest of candidate information that filters publicly available resources. The following candidate profiles serve as a preliminary resource for voters to conduct their own research.)

When state leaders redrew Oklahoma’s congressional map following the 1980 U.S. Census, legend has it that longtime Democratic Sen. Gene Stipe offered advice on how to draw the district of U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OKC).

“If we have to have a Republican in Congress, let’s circle up every Republican we can find and make them a district,” Stipe is remembered as saying.

When the 1982 map was revealed, Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District had gone from looking like a small sewing machine in the center of the state to a backward, jagged “7” that ran from Yukon to Ponca City and east to Bartlesville. The claw-shaped district dodged east Oklahoma City and Stillwater along its way.

For the next three decades — and even when the state lost a congressional seat after the 2000 Census — the 5th Congressional District served as a reliable Republican block, a first of its kind before the state sidled toward its solid red status today.

Now, with U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R-OKC) seeking his third term, political analysts agree that the 5th Congressional District is Oklahoma’s most rapidly changing, its once blood-red status turning more purple.

Below are Russell’s two primary opponents — neither of whom appears to be running a functional campaign — as well as the six Democrats vying to overtake him this November.

All information has been pulled from publicly available online resources.

U.S. Rep. Steve Russell (R), 54, Choctaw


Rep. Steve Russell

Profession: Retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army; motivational speaker
Experience: Russell served in the Oklahoma State Senate prior to being elected to Congress. He served in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, and his unit has been featured widely for its role in capturing Saddam Hussein.
Platform: Russell’s website promotes “free market solutions and fewer regulations” to improve economic job growth. He recently gave a U.S. House floor speech about his vision for America’s future role in global affairs.
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

Gregory Dunson (R), 49, Oklahoma City

(No readily available photo)

Profession: Unclear
Experience: Unclear
Platform: Unclear
Links: None

Dejuan Edwards (R), 36, Edmond

(No readily available photo)

Profession: Unclear
Experience: Unclear
Platform: Unclear
Links: None

Elysabeth Britt (D), 39, Oklahoma City

Elysabeth Britt

Profession: Human resources professional
Experience: Served in the U.S. Marine Corps and graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma
Platform: Britt states online that she believes in a “people-centric view of America” that values different perspectives and backgrounds. A transgender woman, Britt has publicly criticized the U.S. military’s prohibitive rules on transgender enlistment. She says she is a real person “stepping up to be heard in a vacuum of true representation.”
LinksWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

Tom Guild (D), 63, Edmond

Tom Guild

Profession: Attorney; professor at the University of Central Oklahoma
Experience: Guild also ran for CD 5 in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016, dropping an infamous advertisement in 2012 that included an awkward simile comparing the government to “… an octopus putting its tentacles in the most intimate, personal areas of a woman’s life.”
Platform: Guild’s website lists Social Security, Medicare and job creation as priorities, and he tweeted that he has signed the Contract For American Renewal. Guild’s website also emphasizes that his childhood featured poverty and abuse, stating that it ultimately gave him perspective that he would take with him to Washington.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Kendra Horn (D), 42, Oklahoma City

Kendra Horn

Profession: Horn is currently working as a senior consultant for the Metisse Group. Before declaring her candidacy and joining the Metisse Group, she had worked as the executive director of Sally’s List as well as the executive director and co-founder of Women Lead Oklahoma.
Experience: Horn has worked for numerous political campaigns over the years, including former Rep. Joe Dorman’s gubernatorial candidacy in 2014. She also served as press secretary for Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Carson in the early 2000s.
Platform: Throughout her career, Horn has made no secret of her support for women, specifically as it pertains to female representation in government and equal pay in the work place. According to her website, “Women make up 52 percent of the population here, Oklahoma has only ever elected two women to Congress and we are 49th when it comes to electing women to office.” Additionally, Horn wants to make college more affordable by decreasing interest rates on federal student loans and creating tax-exempt college-savings programs.
Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Leona Kelley-Leonard (D), 47, Seminole

Leona Kelley-Leonard

Profession: With no website, little social media activity and her absence from a recent forum for the Democratic primary candidates in Edmond this May, Kelley-Leonard offers few details about her campaign online. On Feb. 22, she made her second and most recent post on her campaign Facebook page titled WHY I’M RUNNING FOR CONGRESS, in which she states she is a military veteran with a history of advocacy and activism.
Experience: Kelley-Leonard ran for Oklahoma’s CD 5 in 2014 and 2016. During both cycles, she lost in the Democratic primary.
Platform: In the aforementioned Facebook post announcing her candidacy, she cites two specific issues she plans to address: senior care and veteran homelessness. She promises to protect the Meals on Wheels program, which relies partly on federal funding to help deliver meals to the homes of seniors. The nutrition program became a hot topic during the federal budget negotiations in Spring 2017.
Links: Facebook | Twitter

Tyson Todd Meade (D), 55, Oklahoma City

Tyson Meade

Profession: Musician
Experience: Meade is best known as the former frontman for the Chainsaw Kittens, an early 1990s alternative rock band that achieved national and international acclaim.
Platform: Meade has spoken publicly about his battle with addiction, and his page lists health care, education and ending the war on drugs as his primary issues. He has endorsed a single-payer health care system.
LinksFacebook | Twitter

Ed Porter (D), 67, Oklahoma City

Ed Porter

Profession: Porter is currently a member of the Oklahoma Child Abuse and Neglect Advisory Board and the Oklahoma Child Death Review Board. Early in his career, Porter worked for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. He has worked to address homelessness and has volunteered and worked for the Oklahoma County Court Appointed Special Advocate program.
Experience: Porter has 27 years of experience working in state government.
Platform: Porter states the role of government is to “… provide for our safety and security, foster opportunity and let us live our lives as we see fit.” His website lists education, healthcare, criminal justice reform and infrastructure as the issues he intends to tackle. On education, he believes college should be “free or affordable,” trade schools are worth investing in and student loan debt should be “eliminated.”
LinksWebsite | Facebook