The contest for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District is one of the state’s most closely watched races this election season.

U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn won the seat in 2018, becoming the first Democrat in decades to represent the district. But Republicans are eager to make her tenure a short one, and analysts consider the district a toss-up for the general election.

Nine Republicans ran in Oklahoma’s June 30 primary for the chance to challenge Horn in November. The top two spots went to the candidates Terry Neese and Stephanie Bice, who won 36 percent and 25 percent of the vote, respectively.

Since nobody passed the 50 percent mark, Bice and Neese are now headed to a runoff election, scheduled for August 25.

Ahead of the primary, NonDoc and News 9 hosted a debate between the top five candidates in the Republican race. The above video offers a look at the opinions and plans Neese and Bice spoke about at that event.

Candidate backgrounds

Neese is a businesswoman and the founder of Terry Neese Personnel Services. She ran for lieutenant governor twice in the 1990s, unsuccessfully, and was later asked by President George W. Bush to be the director of the U.S. Mint, a post that she turned down. (She elaborates on this decision in the video above.) More recently, she served as co-chair of the small-business advisory council for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

In the race for CD 5, Neese has emphasized her connections to and support for the president.

“We need a representative in this district who will fight for President Trump and stand with him and push his agenda through Congress,” she said during the June 18 debate.

Neese’s opponent in the runoff, Stephanie Bice, is currently a state senator representing Senate District 22, a seat she was elected to in 2014. Her professional background is in business and marketing, and she chairs the Senate Finance Committee.

Bice’s campaign has emphasized her hands-on experience, including her central role in advancing legislation to overhaul Oklahoma’s liquor laws.

“I am fighting for you and for conservative values so that we can return this seat to Republican control,” she said in the debate.

In the video above, Neese and Bice share their views on subjects such as the CARES Act and oil imports from Saudi Arabia. Each explains why she believes she has the best shot at flipping CD 5 in November.

Andrea DenHoed is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and was formerly the web copy chief at The New Yorker magazine. She became NonDoc's managing editor in March 2020 and transitioned to a part-time role as features editor at the end of 2022. She departed NonDoc in 2023 to pursue an educational opportunity.