On a night when Democrats across the country are hoping for a blue wave to switch the balance of power in Congress, Democrat Kendra Horn appears to have defeated Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Russell in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.
Unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board show Horn defeating Russell 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, or a total of 3,288 votes. The 5th Congressional District includes most of Oklahoma County and all of Pottawatomie and Seminole counties.
Horn stood as Oklahoma’s best chance to send a Democrat to Washington, something the Sooner State has not done since Dan Boren decided against filing for re-election to the 2nd Congressional District in 2012.
But Democrats would need to flip 22 seats from red to blue nationally in order to regain control of a U.S. House of Representatives that they lost in 2010. Full congressional results can be monitored on Politico.com.
Money advantage helped Horn
Horn topped Russell in early fundraising numbers and was boosted heavily by an outside political action group called Independence USA, founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Russell’s campaign released a memo on Election Day saying Bloomberg’s group bought $423,000 in television advertising.
A native of Chickasha who attended the University of Tulsa before graduating from Southern Methodist University with a law degree, Horn worked for former Democratic Congressman Brad Carson. In recent years, she founded Women Lead Oklahoma in an effort to support women in civic engagement.
Horn and Russell squared off in a debate Oct. 24 hosted by NonDoc and non-partisan partner Generation Citizen.
Republicans sweep other congressional seats
Republicans won all four of Oklahoma’s other congressional seats Tuesday.
Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas retained his 3rd Congressional District seat by once again defeating Democrat Frankie Robbins. Lucas was first elected to Congress in 1994.
The state’s second-longest-tenured congressman, Rep. Tom Cole, also won re-election in Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District. First elected in 2003, Cole defeated Democrat Mary Brannon and independent Ruby Peters on Tuesday.
Similarly, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin won re-election to the 2nd Congressional District, defeating a crowded field of Democrat Jason Nichols, Libertarian Richard Castaldo and independent John Foreman.
The Tulsa-area 1st Congressional District featured Oklahoma’s other closest race for Congress. The open seat was won by Republican Kevin Hern, a businessman who owns multiple McDonald’s franchises. Hern led Democrat Tim Gilpin with more than 56 percent of the vote at the time this post was published.
(Editor’s note: All results listed are unofficial. The Oklahoma State Election Board is schedule to certify election results by the end of the week.)