The competitive and sometimes controversial race for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District Republican nomination will go into overtime, as neither businesswoman Terry Neese or Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-OKC) reached the 50 percent threshold to win the nomination Tuesday.
With all precincts reporting, Neese finished on top with about 36.5 percent of the vote. Bice finished with about 25.4 percent, and the remaining votes were split between seven other candidates. All vote totals posted on the Oklahoma State Election Board’s website are unofficial.
The pair will face off again Aug. 25 in a runoff primary election.
Neese said late Tuesday night she is the only candidate in the race who can beat Democratic incumbent Rep. Kendra Horn.
“Republicans know I am the only candidate who can be trusted to help President Trump rebuild our economy, restore law and order, and get America back to work,” Neese said in a statement. “I’m going to continue fighting for every single vote over the next two months to make sure Republicans nominate a conservative who will beat Kendra Horn and help President Trump win back the House.”
Outside groups target Stephanie Bice
Despite her career campaigning as a conservative who supports Trump, Bice became the target of TV ads and mailers funded by the Club for Growth, a conservative group that opposes taxes and regulation on the state and federal levels.
The ads attempted to tie Bice to imprisoned former film producer Harvey Weinstein because Bice has voted for increased tax incentives for production companies looking to shoot on location in Oklahoma.
Bice responded with ads opposing the Club for Growth, calling the organization “Never Trumper D.C. Swamp Lobbyists.”
These accusations being made by a Never-Trump group are false and despicable. The attempt to tie me to a criminal like Harvey Weinstein is disgusting. This attack is an insult to me and to every woman in the state of Oklahoma. https://t.co/VqjPCEVAX8
— Stephanie Bice (@stephaniebice) June 23, 2020
Neese has strongly embraced Donald Trump during her primary campaign, promising voters in television ads that she will work to defend him if elected to Congress, while also echoing Trump’s calls for stronger border protection and the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, among other issues.
She also has praised his response to the novel coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than 125,000 Americans.
“I truly believe our president is one of the best presidents we’ve ever had,” Neese said in a debate of CD 5 GOP candidates earlier this month. “He really stepped up to the plate to make sure we eradicate this virus. I think he’s done an incredible job and we should all say a prayer for him.”
Hill, Barresi, others lag support
Businessman David Hill, who said he would make getting tough on China and reducing regulations among his biggest priorities if elected, finished third with about 19 percent.
Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi, who lost a primary to keep that job in 2014 and who ran on expanding liquid natural gas production in Oklahoma, picked up about 10 percent.
Miles Rahimi, Shelli Landon, Jake Merrick, Michael Ballard and Charles Pringle all finished in low single digits.
Horn easily wins Democratic nomination
Incumbent Rep. Kendra Horn easily won her bid to seek another term in congress. Horn defeated rival Tom Guild, a retired college professor and attorney by garnering about 85 percent of Tuesday’s Democratic primary vote. Guild and Horn also faced each other in 2018, with Horn winning the nomination in a run-off.
Horn is seeking another two-year term and will face the winner of the GOP runoff and is well positioned financially. Horn has raised more than $2 million for her re-election campaign and spent little in the primary.