Kendra Horn Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Oklahoma 5th Congressional District Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5) for her 2020 reelection campaign. (NonDoc)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has endorsed first-term Democratic Congresswoman Kendra Horn in her 2020 reelection campaign.

The national association of America’s largest business interests had already ranked Horn (D-OK5) and Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK4) as two of the 24 most bipartisan House members, but Horn was included among 52 House freshmen endorsed by the chamber today. Of those members, 29 are Republicans and 23 are Democrats, according to a report by The Hill.

An individual with direct knowledge of the endorsements told NonDoc that The Hill’s report — including the Horn endorsement — was accurate.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of the U.S. Chamber because it means I’ve delivered on my promise to bring both parties together in support of Oklahoma’s businesses and economic opportunity in our state,” Horn said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “I fought to save small businesses during the pandemic and hosted a job fair to connect Oklahomans with dozens of local employers. In Congress, I work with business and industry leaders from aerospace to health care to oil and gas to support our diverse economy. My support for pro-growth policies, like USMCA, set our businesses, workers, and families up for success. We don’t have to choose between policies that are good for our people and policies that are good for our pocketbooks.”

Horn endorsement questioned

Rumors of the pending U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsement caught some by surprise last week. From Politico on Aug. 27:

There is particular concern the Democrats in question do not have the pro-business record an endorsement would convey. State Chamber of Oklahoma President Chad Warmington wrote a letter Tuesday to national Chamber leaders fervently opposing the proposal to back Rep. Kendra Horn, perhaps the most vulnerable House Democrat in the country.

Warmington, who led the state’s largest oil and gas association before taking helm at the State Chamber of Commerce in December, wrote a letter to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposing the group’s potential endorsement of Horn “at this time.”

“I question how the U.S. Chamber could endorse a candidate who consistently voted against the largest industry in Oklahoma, employing over 90,000 workers throughout the state,” Warmington wrote according to Politico. “That is hardly a pro-business record. I am also concerned the U.S. Chamber would endorse a congresswoman that voted in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who are not pro-business nearly 90 percent of the time.”

Close contest expected in CD 5

Stephanie Bice
Stephanie Bice answers a question during a GOP runoff debate for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, at the Tower Theatre. (Michael Duncan).

Horn, who has built a significant fundraising war chest and is already airing television advertisements in the Oklahoma City market, faces Oklahoma State Sen. Stephanie Bice (R-OKC) in the Nov. 3 general election.

Bice narrowly defeated fellow Republican Terry Neese in Oklahoma’s Aug. 25 runoff election, a come-from-behind victory that some political observers believe will give Republicans a better chance at reclaiming CD 5 in November.

Horn won the seat — which covers Oklahoma, Pottawatomie and Seminole counties — by defeating incumbent GOP Congressman Steve Russell by about 3,300 votes in 2018.