CD 5 GOP primary debate
NonDoc's 2020 GOP primary debate for Oklahoma's 5th Congressional District will be streamed live on (Angela Anne Jones)

(Update: Seating at the June 18 CD 5 GOP primary debate described below will be available by reservation only. To request a seat, email

Five Republican candidates vying for their party’s nomination in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District will participate in a debate hosted by NonDoc at the Oklahoma City Community College Visual and Performing Arts Center at 5:15 p.m., Thursday, June 18.

While the event is open in a limited capacity to the public, people are encouraged to watch the debate via livestream on or on the News 9 and NonDoc Facebook pages. Those attending the debate must reserve a seat (see above) and will be required to wear masks and will have their temperature taken at the auditorium’s northwest door, which will open at 4:45 p.m. Seating will be limited for purposes of social distancing. The debate will conclude by 6:45 p.m.

Although nine Republican candidates will appear on the GOP primary ballot, only the five who have raised more than $10,000 will be participating in the June 18 debate. In alphabetical order, those candidates are: former Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-OKC), businessman David Hill, businesswoman Terry Neese and U.S. Navy veteran Miles Rahimi.

All questions to candidates will be asked by Tres Savage of NonDoc and Aaron Brilbeck of News 9. NonDoc hosted seven political debates in 2018, including the only debate in the CD 5 general election.

Additional debates throughout the 2020 election cycle are in the works, and NonDoc is able to ensure that important electoral debates occur owing to support from sponsors like the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, McSpadden, Milner and Robinson and Fowler Auto Group.

A Facebook event for the June 18 CD 5 GOP primary debate can be found here.

Republicans compete for chance to face Horn

The state’s only Democrat in Congress, U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-5) currently represents CD 5, which includes Oklahoma City, Edmond, Shawnee and Seminole.

In 2018, Horn defeated then-incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Russell by a narrow margin, but several GOP candidates are making a bid to flip the district red again in November. On the June 30 primary ballot, however, Horn first faces fellow Democrat Tom Guild, whom she defeated with 75 percent of the vote in the 2018 Democratic primary runoff.

Horn currently serves as a member of the House Committee on Armed Services and the Committee On Science, Space and Technology, where she is chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics. Although she voted along party lines and supported both articles for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, Horn has opposed some progressive legislation, such as a proposed ban on fracking.

The information presented below is intended to provide an overview of all candidates running for CD 5. Details are derived from publicly available sources. Primary voting will take place June 30, with the general election set for Nov. 3.

CD 5 at a glance

Current office holder: Rep. Kendra Horn
Counties represented: Pottawatomie, Seminole, most of Oklahoma County
Cities/Townships represented: Oklahoma City, Edmond, Shawnee, Seminole, Tecumseh

Democratic Candidates

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn (D, incumbent)

Kendra Horn
Democrat Kendra Horn smiles during a debate Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, against former U.S. Rep. Steve Russell. (Michael Duncan)

Profession: U.S. House of Representatives member, formerly senior consultant for the Metisse Group
Platform: Beyond her impeachment votes and opposition to the fracking ban, Horn was also among the many representatives to condemn President Donald Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria and end direct ground support of Kurdish allies in the region. Horn said the move created “a humanitarian crisis” and additional national security concerns.

During her 2018 campaign, Horn noted a lack of female elected officials in Oklahoma and the gender wage gap. She has worked with groups promoting women’s rights, like Sally’s List, and is the co-founder of Women Lead Oklahoma. Horn also said she would work to lower the interest rates on federal student loans and create tax-exempt college savings programs.

According to her campaign website, Horn also aims to enhance economic development in Oklahoma’s rural areas by creating a “task force of local, state and tribal leaders” to find “new opportunities for rural investment.” Horn is currently promoting H.R. 2698, which would provide additional training for law enforcement in the area of mental health care and crisis response.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Tom Guild (D)

Tom Guild

Profession: Attorney, professor emeritus at the University of Central Oklahoma
Platform: On his campaign website, Guild describes himself as a progressive Democrat who allows voters to elect “the only candidate of either party” who supports Medicare for all, the Green New Deal, increasing the minimum wage, limiting presidential power “to start new endless wars” and the Protecting the Power to Organize Act, which supports worker unions.

Guild offers five key points for education policy on his campaign website, including shrinking the amount of students per classroom, “concentrating the expenditure of limited public funds” to public schools instead of charter schools and expanding resources for students with disabilities. Guild favors shifting Oklahoma’s energy sector to renewable sources like solar and wind energy, he writes.

After being abandoned as a child, Guild was taken to numerous foster care homes throughout his childhood. Guild writes that his childhood experiences inspired him to found Tommy’s Fund, which helps provide students at Payne Elementary in Wichita, Kansas, with school supplies.

Guild has run for CD 5 in each election since 2010, but has not won the Democratic nomination. Guild’s most successful campaign ended in a narrow runoff defeat to Al McAffrey in 2016, where Guild secured 49 percent of the vote. He has been at the center of election cycle drama in the past, being caught on film in 2018 while removing Kendra Horn campaign signs and criticizing McAffrey’s spending on “campaign liquor” in 2016.

On June 9, Guild received the endorsement of Marianne Williamson.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Republican Candidates (alphabetical)

Michael Ballard (R)

Michael Ballard

Profession: Retired U.S. Army soldier and Oklahoma National Guardsman
Platform: On his campaign website, Ballard describes himself as a “pro-life, pro-constitution” conservative in support of states’ rights. Ballard writes that he supports abolition of abortion and “strong border security, including the wall.”

Ballard states he would not support any form of tax increase or a pay raise for legislators while in office. On education, Ballard is a supporter of school vouchers and home schooling options, according to his campaign website. Ballard also writes he would not serve more than three terms in Congress or accept retirement money during his tenure, instead donating the funds to veterans groups and St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital in Oklahoma City.

Ballard writes that he served in Iraq and assisted “countless Oklahomans” during natural disaster recovery efforts during his time in the Oklahoma National Guard.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Janet Barresi (R)

Janet Barresi

Profession: Former state superintendent of public instruction, dentist, Cosmo Energy executive
Platform: Barresi describes herself as a pro-life Second Amendment supporter. On her campaign website, she lists border security as one of her top priorities. She says she would advocate for a border wall, ban sanctuary cities and “give U.S. Border Patrol and ICE the resources they need to do their jobs.” Barresi states she would also seek to “close loopholes in current law” that she says facilitate trafficking of women and children over the border.

Barresi supports “local and state level” control of education, writing that she witnessed “first-hand the negative effects” of federal involvement. Barresi has founded two charter schools, Harding Charter Preparatory High School and Independence Charter Middle School. She also opposes federal involvement in health care, according to her campaign website, where Barresi says she will “fight to restore health care freedom.”

Barresi was elected state superintendent of public instruction in 2010 but lost her re-election bid in 2014. That year, Barresi finished third in the Republican primary as the incumbent. The nomination went instead to current State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Sen. Stephanie Bice (R)

Sen. Stephanie Bice

Profession: Oklahoma state senator, digital marketing specialist
Platform: Bice represents Senate District 22 in northwest Oklahoma City and serves as chairwoman of the Senate Finance Committee. Previously, she served two years as the assistant majority floor leader. Bice was heavily involved in the passage of SQ 792 and several other alcohol law overhauls, hailing the reforms as a “modernization” that expanded opportunities for locally owned breweries across the state on her campaign website.

Bice is a pro-life Second Amendment supporter, according to her campaign website. Bice writes that she supports “strong border protections, with a wall” and an overhaul to the citizenship process for immigrants looking to enter the country legally. Bice opposes Medicare for all and supports the Eight-Year Plan for expanding Oklahoma’s infrastructure, she writes.

Prior to being elected, Bice worked as marketing manager for Netfast Technology Solutions, Inc. and as vice president of business development at Smirk New Media, an Oklahoma City digital marketing agency.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

David Hill (R)

David Hill

Profession: Owner of MAR-K Manufacturing
Platform: A self-described handyman who “started turning wrenches” on classic cars at 16, Hill’s campaign slogan — “Fix Congress” — and campaign website tout his status as an “outsider” candidate who has never held political office. According to his campaign website, Hill has held leadership positions in several economic sectors including energy, manufacturing and technology.

Hill writes that many of his views align with his “unequivocal” support of President Donald Trump, including his pro-life abortion stance and Second Amendment advocacy. He also supports the construction of a border wall and elimination of sanctuary cities, according to his campaign website. Hill writes that he opposes universal health care programs like the Affordable Care Act, as well as the proposed Green New Deal legislation.

Hill is the co-founder of the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and was named among Oklahoma’s “Most Admired CEOs” by the Journal Record in 2010. He previously served as CEO of Kimray, an oil and gas manufacturing company started by his family.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Shelli Landon (R)

Shelli Landon

Profession: Artist, minister
Platform: Landon is a traditional conservative who places heavy emphasis on her faith, according to her campaign website. She has studied at various religious institutions including Rhema Bible College and Shalom Bible College, where Landon writes she earned her masters and doctoral degrees. She supports enhanced border security including the construction of a border wall, “enhanced by Faith-based volunteer programs” to assist “legitimate immigrants” entering the country, Landon writes.

Much of Landon’s artistic work focuses on patriotic themes, she writes, and she has been “acknowledged with congratulations” by three presidents — Donald Trump, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — as well as former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir.

National security is a high priority for Landon, she said in an online forum hosted by The Journal Record. During the forum, Landon said she has seen Al-Qaeda maps with “crosshairs” over Oklahoma City and the state’s oil and natural gas production facilities.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Jake Merrick (R)

Jake Merrick

Profession: Owner of True Cross Training
Platform: A Second Amendment supporter and pro-life conservative, Merrick writes that he would work to help overturn the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision and abolish abortions. According to his campaign website, Merrick would seek to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits various organizations (including places of worship) from endorsing political candidates.

Merrick supports the completion of a border wall and increasing funding for border security, but he writes that it “does not make sense from either an economic nor humanitarian perspective” to deport “millions” undocumented workers. Merrick says he wants to find a solution to help undocumented workers “enter into the immigration process.”

A supporter of private health care according to his campaign website, Merrick writes that he would support incentive programs for schools and businesses to take “proven preventative measures” to common health problems, like heart disease. Merrick states that “increased physical fitness programs and high-quality nutritional programs” would help reduce the number of doctor visits required and lower insurance premiums.

Merrick also owns a small fencing company and says he has been involved in ministry for over two decades. Merrick also writes he was a philosophy and theology professor at Southwestern Christian University for five years.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Terry Neese (R)

Terry Neese

Profession: Entrepreneur, founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services
Platform: The first policy point on Neese’s campaign website states she will work with President Donald Trump to “unleash” Oklahoma’s economy through tax code reforms and removal of “burdensome, job-killing regulations” placed on small businesses. In addition to supporting the construction of a border wall, Neese writes she will work to reduce the national debt through “cutting wasteful and inefficient government programs.”

According to her campaign website, Neese is “100 percent unapologetically pro-life” and an NRA member. A women’s equality advocate, she has received recognition for helping women secure jobs and move through the business world, according to her campaign website. Neese is the founder and president of the Institute for the Economic Empowerment of Women, which operates the Peace Through Business program. Neese is a former president of the National Association of Women Business Owners and a former board member for the National Women’s Business Council.

Neese was the first Oklahoma woman to receive a major party’s nomination when she became the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1990, but she was eventually defeated. She was selected as director of the United States Mint by President George W. Bush in 2005, but Neese ultimately decided to decline the role the day before her confirmation hearing. In 2007, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Charles Pringle (R)

While there is little public information about Pringle’s campaign, the 83-year-old Republican — nicknamed “Tuffy” — participated in The Journal Record’s CD 5 candidate forum June 2. During the forum, Pringle said, “We must live either by this law,” holding up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, “or we’re going to have to live by these laws,” before picking up a pair of firearms.

According to The Journal Record’s summary of the forum, Pringle pledged to “elevate Oklahoma’s position on the national stage, refocus education as a state issue and guard against the intrusion of government into the personal lives of citizens.”

Pringle has also promoted his campaign through his personal Facebook page, featuring posts criticizing current CD 5 incumbent Kendra Horn, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Pringle does not display his photo on his Facebook page.
More Info: Website (none) | Facebook

Miles Rahimi (R)

Miles Rahimi

Profession: U.S. Navy veteran
Platform: On his campaign website, Rahimi describes himself as an “America-first conservative” closely in line with the policies of President Donald Trump. A pro-life Second Amendment supporter, Rahimi also supports “securing the border” and bringing manufacturing centers back to the United States, he writes.

Rahimi writes that he spent his second tour of duty as a representative for the U.S. Navy alcohol and drug abuse program. Rahimi aims to fund government programs to address the ongoing opioid crisis, according to his campaign website, and “cut-off the supply of opioids from the super-labs in Mexico.”

During his service, Rahimi was involved in a legal spat with the U.S. Navy over “his eligibility for a promotion,” according to case background written by United States District Judge Jeffrey Meyer. In a 2015 tweet, Rahimi used “#asksecdef” to inquire if the Secretary of Defense would consider reforming the Navy’s promotion process and “possibly getting rid of the advancement exam.” In a 2019 tweet, Rahimi also states that he “has been [the] victim of whistleblower reprisal” and “unchecked toxicity” during his service.

On his campaign website, Rahimi writes that he “stood up to seasoned military brass” and supported other sailors who he said had been “targeted.” Rahimi was eventually awarded a backdated promotion, he writes.
More Info: Website | Facebook | Twitter